Exclusive interview with Black Veil Brides drummer Christian "CC" Coma
American rock-metal band Black Veil Brides [BVB] are currently headlining the 2011 AP Tour, and are playing the entire Warped Tour this summer. Their new album Set The World On Fire will be released June 14th via Lava Music/Universal Republic Records.
In my exclusive interview with Black Veil Brides drummer Christian "CC" Coma, he talks about the polarizing reaction to BVB playing Warped Tour 2011, what type of songs to expect on their sophomore album Set The World On Fire, plans for after Warped Tour, and much more.
When creating setlists do you cater it towards the tour you are on, or play the best songs you think Black Veil Brides can showcase?
CC: We do both depending on the tour. If we are on a tour where our set times are shorter we will take out certain songs. On a high-energy tour we want to keep most of our high-energy songs on the setlist. We usually only switch a couple of songs around, so it is primarily the same set, but when it is shorter we take out the less energetic ones.
Black Veil Brides was announced to play Warped Tour 2011 and there was a very polarized reaction in which people loved or hated that decision. Were you prepared for that?
Warped Tour is an every day festival, and we have done some festivals. The band is that way regardless, either you love us or hate us. As long as you are paying attention you can talk shit about us, or love us and do the whole face paint when you show up to shows.
For stuff that like that, I feel it is really beneficial to play in front of other bands fans that normally would not see the show.
They look at us on the internet and judge us by our image, or interviews that some of my other band members may or may not have done. Actually seeing the band live is completely different. A lot of people get one notion that we are a certain way and call us derogatory names, but when they actually see the live show and how much energy we have, they kind of say, ‘Oh man I did not even know you guys rock out. I thought you were just image and glam, and could not play,’ but we have double bass and dueling guitar solos. It is actually beneficial to be on stuff like that.
Obviously, there are going to be some people who are really not into us, especially if you read the message boards. We take it as a challenge to prove ourselves one way or another and I hope we will make some new fans.
Do you think the band gets such a strong hateful reaction by some people because they are musically not into Black Veil Brides, or because of your image and it being a judging the book by its cover situation?
I think most of it would be a book by its cover type of thing. The image obviously is not everyone. People are not used to it in this day and age.
Absolutely, but if you look at the most recent successful bands like Marilyn Manson, and when he came out there was a whole controversy around it. Anyone that has a certain aesthetic they are going for on stage and in photo shoots may rub certain people the wrong way. I think more people hate us because of the way we look than the way we sound.
We can make 55-year-old fans, like when we were playing in Cleveland there was an old biker dude with a USA hat on and by the end of the show was telling us we rocked. There is no fan too old or too young. As long as they can see us live, we usually win. I wouldn’t say everyone, but I would say the majority of the crowd. The people who were flipping us off at the start by the end hate that they are doing this [head nod].
Black Veil Brides songs lean more towards singing than screaming, is that something done consciously, or does it fall into place that way?
It just falls into place. There is definitely a message we want to get out, and that is inner-strength, and unity. We have the Black Veil Bride army, and we are all here for one another. Regardless if we get that through with singing, or screaming it is whatever plays out best for the song.
We did our new record, which comes out in June and I am doing blast beats. We are doing almost death metal stuff, but there might be singing over that.
The record is going to be great. It is half ass-kicking songs, and half very marketable single type songs. As far as singing, it is whatever fits with the song, there does not have to be a certain percentage of singing or screaming. It’s what fits the song best both lyrically and musically.
On the album We Stitch These Wounds there is the song "Carolyn" which is straight singing, will there be strictly singing songs on the sophomore album?
Yeah, absolutely. Is it going to be more than one song?
Yeah, we actually have a slower ballad-type song which is all singing. There are actually a lot of songs that are all singing. I wouldn’t say there is a great ton of screaming on the new album, but that wasn’t done because of the label switch, it was done because of what we wrote. You evolved?
Yeah, it was what was best for each song. We didn’t go in there like, ‘Oh we have to scream, we have to do this.’ Obviously, we did not want to alienate any fans with the new record, but I am pretty sure they will be pleased with the way it came out. We are all super stoked about it and listen to it all the time.
The vocalist Andy has a really rock singing voice, and musically there are a lot of rock-sounding riffs. Could you see Black Veil Brides going in a rock direction down the line?
We don’t plan, but obviously we have strategic moves we want to place in our careers. We are kind of rocking out, and doing our thing just trying to get our message out there. It even carries out through this new record and we talk about a few new topics. There are definitely some rock songs on the new record.
There is a dirty, almost southern rock [song] with no screaming. The new record definitely has something for everyone. There is the metal technical riffs, and double bass going crazy type songs. Then also, almost anthemia type 1980-ish Crue and KISS from back in the day. We have songs like that, but as far as rock we do whatever and don’t really want to categorize ourselves.
There are so many different categories these days, screamo, emo, post-hardcore, metal, metalcore, and deathcore.
Bands evolve with each album so it’s hard to stick a label on them.
We all have different influences, and per band member all of our musical influences vary. We go from Buckethead to Slipknot to KISS to Motley Crue to Alkaline Trio, we are all over the place. I am into dubstep and trance and everyone is always like, ‘What are you doing over there rocking out, oh it’s club CC.’ It’s pretty awesome because everyone has different things they are into.
We all come together and fit it into the band somehow. I don’t think I fit as much trance or dubstep into the band as I would like, but it is what it is. I love the final product, it is cool.
For the sophomore album were the songs written specifically for it, or were some leftover songs from the previous album?
They were all written for this album. We obviously have ideas or riffs and place them all together. Jake [Pitts] definitely did a lot of the writing musically, as far as the guitar stuff. Jinxx even has some very personal songs that he recorded to where he wouldn’t even let us listen to it until the night before we recorded it. He worked really hard on a few songs. They were all meant for the album.
When creating a new album if there are songs not used will they never be released, or do you guys save them for something else?
Yeah, it is really strange because we were really pressed for time because we were in the middle of the UK and Japan tour, so we almost didn‘t have time to do the record. Even our manager thought there was no way it would get done. There are one or two songs we recorded for this album that did not make it because we never got a chance to finalize vocals. The music is done, but for songs like that, who knows where it is going to be. It might be on an EP, or we might finish vocals in between things and have it as a special feature for a DVD. You never know where songs like that will end up.
From the album We Stitch These Wounds, musically what is your favorite song, and lyrically what is your favorite song?
Musically, I am more of a live person, and before I joined the band I was doing sessions. Musically live I would say “All Your Hate” because it is really energetic and I get to go off on that one. It is really fun to play. Lyrically, my favorite would be "Sweet Blasphemy." I remember I would listen to that every night before I went to sleep.
What is something you have always wanted to do but have not done yet?
I could go either way and take the high road or the low road, but I’ll choose the high road. I have always wanted to go to Australia and we are actually planning to do some stuff down there very soon. After Warped?
Yeah, it’s going to be after Warped but I don’t have exact dates yet, but that should be in our future. I have a lot of friends in Sydney and Melbourne. I don’t know if I’ll run into them, but it will just be an experience. Then I can go home on a map and stick a pin in where I have been.
Do you have a map at home and do that?
My dad does actually. I take pictures on my iPhone and it has this thing where you click it and it tells where you are. There are all these red pins all over the world which is awesome.
My dad has one of these huge big wall maps which has pins everywhere and he kind of keeps track. He is up there in years, so it gives him something to do since he is retired. “How was Japan son?” “It was awesome until that huge earthquake hit.” He has the huge map, it gives him something to do.
What is a song you never get sick of hearing?
“Disconnected” by Face To Face. For some reason I have loved that song ever since I was in middle school. Throughout the years no matter where I am at in life that is one song I can always relate and connect too. Whenever it comes on that volume goes to ten. That would be one song I never get sick of hearing.
If you could see any band or artist see any song live what would it be and why?
As much as I am sick of hearing Nirvana because when I am in L.A. all I hear is Nirvana, but I would love to see Kurt Cobain perform any song. That is one I missed out on because I never got to see him while he was with us, or Bradley [Nowell] from Sublime. Sublime with Rome is touring with 311 this summer.
I remember I heard them, I was backstage so I did not really get to see them, but they sounded great with them. I didn’t expect it to go as well as it did, but I thought they sounded great.
But yeah, it would probably have to be Kurt Cobain. He was out there, and I loved his whole I don’t give a shit attitude.
For 2011 Warped Tour will you guys be primarily playing songs from the new album, or a mixture of both albums?
Definitely a mixture. We are going to play a few new songs from the new album, but definitely some of the older songs that helped us gain our fan base will be played as well. We have not really developed a setlist, but we will get that together in the next few weeks. Definitely a mixture of both albums.
After Warped Tour any tentative plans?
Tentatively we are out until the end of January. Really until January 2012?
Yeah, what is it, 2011 [laughs], I don‘t even know anymore. I don’t even want to know where I am going.
I have toured with a few different bands where I always wanted to know where I was going, and when I am going home. This is one time in my life when I am going to let go and take it day by day.
We are doing UK, and a lot of the European festivals, and we are playing Download [Festival], which is another thing I have always wanted to do in my life. Since I was a kid I’ve wanted to play those huge European festivals. We are doing Warped Tour, a headliner overseas, and then states. We are going all over the world and pretty much out until January. It is go, go, go.
When was Black Veil Brides last break?
We have been going every single day since January 1st. There has not been any days off. When we were off, we were writing the album, or working on it. When we were not writing the album we were playing overseas. That seems really rough.
Yeah, but it really helps out that we all get along. We are all brothers, and we are all best friends, so that really helps. Obviously we miss certain things, like people have relationships, and I have dogs and family I really care about. Obviously, I miss those things that are in my life, but it is not that hard because we love this band, we are this band. Every thing we do is Black Veil Brides, and it is really cool because you are with all your brothers.
Everyone in the band has a different personality, but we are all best friends. We don’t even have to try and make it work, it just does. It is not as hard as it seems or sounds. When I say, ‘Oh we are out until January,’ it will go by like that. We could be in a truck stop broken down in Ttimbuktu but we still make the best of it. The last break will probably have been Christmas right before New Years. That was a little time off.
I think our last tour before we did this run was at the end of November, beginning of December so we had a few weeks off, like three or four weeks off.
That still does not seem like a substantial amount of time off, but I guess being in a band it might seem like it is.
It is tough because as soon as I get home I go ‘Man I missed this place. My own bed, my own shower, everything is my rules and I don’t have to be in makeup. I can eat where I want, and when I want,’ but after a couple of weeks you get the itch again like, ‘Oh man I am ready to get out of here,’ well for me personally. I’ll be pacing when I first get home, then get into [being home] before being ready to go back out into it.
When you are home on a break, do you play the drums for fun?
I have a huge drum set and I hate setting it up when my drum tech is not there, so I’ll go a few days to a week without setting it up, but then I’ll get that itch to play. That is one thing I may take for granted is playing every day. I love it, but when I get home I had been doing it for three months straight and don’t want too, but then three or four days later I’ll want to play some drums. That is never something I really think about on tour, ’Oh I got to play drums,’ it just is life, the job, and my career.
Playing the drums is a work out too.
Oh yeah, absolutely. When I come home my arms are a different shape from when I left. It definitely takes me a few shows to warm up and get the muscle tone and stamina back. Once I get home, I still have a passion for playing.
You could be having a great day, play a show and it gets even better. You could be having a terrible day, and especially for me since I’m a drummer take all my aggression out and it will turn it all around. I am thankful I chose this path for my life, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Anything else you want to add?
Come out and see us on Warped Tour, but don’t throw a bottle at me!