Coheed And Cambria
With their new album, Claudio Sanchez and co. return to the fan-familiar sci-fi world of their own making.
With their ninth studio album, Vaxis – Act 1: The Unheavenly Creatures, Coheed And Cambria return to the Amory Wars universe, a multi-levelled series of worlds set in time and space that singer Claudio Sanchez spends most of his free time writing songs or creating comic books about. It’s also the first of a five-part ‘pentalogy’ of albums, which means the band should get back to earth some time in the next 10 years. Sanchez pops back to the planet briefly to explain a few things.
The band’s previous album, 2015’s The Color Before The Sun, didn’t have a concept, storyline or mention of the long-standing Amory Wars world. What happened? That was really a statement for me becoming a dad. I knew I would never have those feelings again the way I did. I really wanted to attribute those feelings and emotions in song without the cover of a concept. But I always knew that I wasn’t going to abandon the Amory Wars. I have such a good time living in that mythology and writing songs with those characters.
Who is the titular Vaxis, and what does he want from us?
Ha! Vaxis is basically the son of two characters, Creature and Sister Spider. He has a very relevant position in the Amory Wars universe; we know he’s coming, we just don’t know how. This story is the first one, it’s introducing us to a new cast of characters, their goals, their mission, their love interests and that’s pretty much it.
Why is the Amory Wars such a pivotal part of your make-up?
Most songwriters are coming from an autobiographical standpoint, primarily, and I just don’t choose to tell my story in that genre. I chose a sci-fi fantasy genre, initially just because I was insecure as a frontman way back when. Now I’ve become so comfortable with it, I find it to be more fun, because I’m allowed to take these things and try to form them into these other bodies of work.
Is it easier writing an album like the new one than The Color?
All records are hard because they’re coming from a personal spot. With Color,
I was having such a hard time with my environment. This time around, the struggle was where in the story I wanted to put this thing – was there even a place? So every record’s going to have its hurdle.
“When I listen to the new album, it reminds me of those
You said that working on this record reminded you of being younger again. What do you mean?
When we did the early albums, there was no schedule and I didn’t feel the pressure of being a professional musician. With this one, I wanted to take some time off. And when I listen to it, it reminds me of those older records. Not because that’s what I was striving for, but that’s what happens when I’m given the time – it allows me to sort of experiment and try and live with things a little longer. That part of me is allowed to come out, I guess.
You were deliberately trying to avoid that creative burn-out?
Absolutely. I wanted to feel excitement in creating music, it was important to me. I wanted to feel the pressure and anticipation of creating something again; putting yourself back into a maze that you’re trying to find your way out of. PW