The Chariot

author AP date 09/12/10

Despite having seen the band numerous times now, the Rockfreaks.net staff have never had the opportunity to interview one of the most notorious live bands in the world, The Chariot. So when the opportunity presented itself to conduct an e-mail interview with the band's vocalist Josh Scogin, there was no hesitation. Read on to find out about Josh's thoughts on the band's new album, his religion, and the band's frenzied live shows. There's also a fact about the band's bassist there I bet you didn't know!

RF.net: You have just released your fourth album, "Long Live". Congratulations! Can you briefly outline how the album came to be and describe the recording process underlying?
Josh: Well, this record was very impulsive for us. Every record has a bit of that, but this was on the extreme. Even as we were tracking the actual song, if someone had an idea or anything that we felt was better, we would travel down that road and at least see where it take us. I feel like we have grown confident in going with our instincts.

RF.net: All your albums follow a pattern: "Everything Is Alive..." is a collection of incessantly long song titles; the "Unsung" EP refers to six characters with a kind of description of each in parentheses; "The Fiancée" has a miniature story embedded in its song titles; and "Wars and Rumors of Wars" is like the antithesis to "Everything Is Alive..." with short song titles. "Long Live", too, conforms to the pattern, and I'm guessing it's intended to be thought of as ten statements in the vein of "Long Live the Audience" and so on - but what is the underlying meaning, story and/or concept of the album?
Josh: We wanted to name half the songs after people that just like our band. It is these people (people that like our band, support our band, etc.) that help keep us on the road and get us from point A to point B, and keep us alive. Hence the title "Long Live". Every title in between is showing some growth, from "The Audience" to "The City", then to "The Earth", and after that, making it into something more than just the earthly realms with "The Heavens", and finally reaching the highest honor of them all, if you will, with "The King". So it's all a little journey.

RF.net: So, the eponymous characters Evan Perks, Calvin Makenzie, Andy Sundwall, David de la Hoz and Robert Rios are simply fans?

Josh: As I said before, these are merely people that like our band and have supported our band through the years. Therefore they are our heroes. Obviously we couldn't name every person that has ever liked our band, so we just hope that these five will represent our gratefulness to everyone.

RF.net: Over the past decade, Christian music, specifically Christian hardcore, has become packed into its own genre. Do you consider yourself part of that?
Josh: No. I, myself, am a Christian but I don't know how Christianity got its own genre. I don't know if it is media that dubbed it and ran with it, or if it was Christians that made it so. But it just ties my head in knots as to what it even means. For me, my beliefs as a Christian are a deep and personal ting, not something that can be generalized in an entire genre. Also, if a "non-believer" covered one of our songs, is it all of a sudden not Christian? I just don't get it.

RF.net: Religion aside, what else inspires your music and lyrics?
Josh: My life is the biggest influence on my lyrics. Everything from basic struggles to life and death to the mundane.

RF.net: You often refer to your lyrics as poems, and say that songs are never finished, but abandoned. Can you expand a little bit on that?

Josh: As an artist, if I have one year to write a song, it will take a full one year. If I have one day to write a song, then it takes one day. Basically meaning: you will never finish a song - you can always make a part better or improve a section or shorten something or change whatever - but at some point you have to abandon it and let it go. And that is how the song will be remembered.

RF.net: The Chariot are a thing of legend when it comes to live performances. What drives you to go so utterly batshit insane on stage every night?
Josh: The hope is that we write songs that are able to push us day in and day out. No matter what you feel like that day, as soon as the song kicks in, you start feeling it and it pushes you to move. It is a very natural thing when you are passionate about what you do and some of the beliefs that are in the lyrics.

RF.net: What do you hope people to walk away with after your shows?

Josh: I hope they are blessed. The ultimate hope is that they feel hope. At bare minimum though, I hope that they have a great time and hang out with us.

RF.net: Do you write music and then try to adapt it to your live shows, or do you consciously write music that enables the maximum discharge of energy on stage, hanging from the ceiling and so on?

Josh: Live show comes first. When we record we are constantly trying to find a way to make it feel the same soul and passion that happens live.

RF.net: Judging from the collage of clips that makes the unofficial video for "Teach", your unexpected extra expenses must be through the roof after every tour, what with setting fire to amps, smashing guitars to bits and the like. Where do you draw the line? What is the craziest thing that you, or any of the other members have done on stage, and have you ever injured yourself or others in conjunction with a show?

Josh: Never serious injury. We have had stitches and I have chipped three teeth, and several other teeth have been chipped by others. For the most part we have been able to keep very safe considering. As for expenses, we can't afford to buy new guitars every time we break one, so we have learned to fix everything. You name it, we can probably fix it, or we will trial and error it until we figure it out. At the end of the day though, it is not about smashing guitars or hurting folks we don't like when those things happen to be honest - everything we do is about passion. And in doing that some things happen from time to time.

RF.net: Have you ever had the plug pulled on you during your set, been asked to put a damper on things, or been banned from a venue as a result of your stage antics?

Josh: A couple of times we have had plugs pulled and such. We have never been banned as far as I am aware, but have definitely played a couple of venues that I wonder if they are purposely not inviting us back. Who knows?

RF.net: How has your bassist Jon Kindler earned his pseudonym, "KC Wolf" or simply "Wolf"?
Josh: If we ever have off time (which is very rare), he is actually the mascot (one of only two) for the Kansas City Chiefs NFL team. Yeah, it's pretty sweet. That's what he did before the band, which probably explains his antics on stage.

RF.net: What does the immediate future look like for The Chariot?
Josh: We are doing an EU tour early next year. We are super stoked on that for sure. Entire next year we are just supporting this record. Good times.

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