Chmcl Str8jckt has become known for a strong, engaging live show, with dark imagery and select theatrics to enhance the disturbing themes of their songs. They have been direct support for My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and opened for acts such as Orgy and Christian Death.
Chmcl Str8jckt has recently finished recording their new CD “WRTCHD THNGS” with John Bechdel (keyboardist of Ministry, ex-Fear Factory, ex-Killing Joke) producing…. releasing in August 2019 on Cleopatra Records.
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Kevin: Yes!! Our second proper release is set to drop in a few weeks! It’s called “WRTCHD THNGS” and will be out on Cleopatra Records. It was produced by John Bechdel of Ministry! It’s a sick album of industrial rock/metal/punk. You gotta check it out!
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
Kevin: We formed in 2016 as just Mike and I. When things were going well after the self-titled debut dropped, we recruited our childhood friend, Scott, to play live keys and samples while adding background vocals. Then we grabbed up Ian Omega to add percussion in 2018!
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Kevin: Well, our main motivation for starting THIS band has a few facets to it! Mike and I had been in an industrial band together about 27 years ago! We lost touch but reconnected in 2016 (after 26 years) when I went to see his indie rock band play. He suggested we “do it again”! I hadn’t played in over 2 decades…so I said, “if we do it…..we do it in the same style” Ballsy industrial rock! Much of modern industrial is very dancefloor-oriented…very aggrotech. We like that too, ut we missed the old Wax Trax! vibe. So we really wanted to capture some of the vintage sounds that we loved so much when we were teens.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Kevin: I’ve had a few years of training on bass guitar, a few years on guitar and a few years on keyboards (which I loved the most!). I taught myself some programming over recent years. As far as the music I love…..there is so much! Ans I am very passionate about it! Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Bob Marley, Marty Robbins, Nick Cave, Depeche Mode, Revolting Cocks, Kiss, Black Sabbath, Naked Raygun, Nitzer Ebb, Motorhead, The Pixies, etc
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Kevin: I think it is pretty dark overall. But, if you pay any attention, you will catch some humor and campiness throughout. Our songs usually tell a story and are pretty detailed lyrically. We write nothing about our feelings or emotional shit….blech!
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Kevin: We want to see how WRTCHD THNGS is received! Hopefully, get some great shows and a tour. Then we can start recording the NEXT album (which is already written and demo’d out!) Opening on tour with one of our heroes would be awesome too!
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Kevin: Great question! For me, Kevin, it’s all about the writing and creating new songs….watching them grow! I LOVE that! For Mike, it’s all about the live shows! I think for Ian and Scott, it’s a blend of the two.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Kevin: There are many topics! Like I said earlier, the only stuff I stay away from is personal feelings. So many people write about their feelings. I don’t give a shit about how you feel after your girl leaves you or someone upset you. We write stories. “Ode To Peckinpah (Bloody Sam)” is about the life of American Western film director Sam Peckinpah. The guy was a madman! I loved his biography. “The Only Thing That’s Real” is about a badass psycho-sexual twisted fellow. “Cut Deep” is the thoughts of a mental patient in an asylum, longing to reunite with his circular saw. “Baphomet” is the story of Baphomet and the Knights Templar. “Black Vulture” is about a guy who killed his lover and walks to the distillery to drown his demons in a vodka named Black Vulture. Etc..
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Kevin: For me, it is to connect with others who love the songs and style we are engaged in. When I hear “I used to love heavy industrial music like this…so happy to have you guys doing it again!” I love that.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Kevin: Nothing too crazy! Nobodies put a bottle rocket in their ass or anything. We all get along great…we are truly friends. We DO like to celebrate after a show with drinks until dawn, though!
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Kevin: I can say we’ve had “strange” requests. We get the requests for signed CDs etc. We DO have one fan who likes to send us recordings of himself playing guitar along to our songs, which is cool!
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Kevin: Yes! We are all lucky in this band. Our family and friends are all awesome! My parents even come to our shows.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Kevin: Write the best material you can. Have a stable career that can help fund your musical journey. Don’t expect to make money. Stand out from most other people by being nice!!
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Kevin: So far it’s “Meat Hook”. I love the pure punk energy!
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Kevin: Soooo many! Way too many! To name a few, Ministry, Kiss, Black Sabbath, Nick Cave
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Kevin: I would love to play with either Ministry or the Revolting Cocks……we played a few shows with My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult already which was a dream come true!
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Kevin: There are 2!
The first one is getting to work with John Bechdel! He is the greatest guy and so talented! It’s no stretch to say that we have actually become friends. That he not only produced and mixed our album but plays keys, synths and bass guitar on it is so fucking cool!
The second is getting signed to Cleopatra Records! I’ve loved and respected that label since they formed in the early ’90s! I get such a kick out of going to their website and seeing our name on their artist roster!
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Kevin: Well, I am a pharmacist…as is Mike! Scott blast tumors with protons (fuck cancer!) and Ian is a badass dog trainer!
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Kevin: Scott and I sing thru TC Helicon processors. We use an Akai midi to trigger stuff. Ian made a great hybrid drum kit that he plays standing. It is a fusion of digital and analog street drums. Mike plays an Ibanez and Dean Razorback!
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Kevin: There has always been great music and there always will be! It can be a bit challenging to sort thru it all since it is everywhere! I rely on the amazing and dedicated DJ’s! I do find it sad that our culture has devalued music though. I’m sure the internet is to blame as well. When a band puts a year of labor and thousands of dollars into an album and regularly gets asked “How do I get it for free?” it’s sad.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Kevin: I am a vegetarian who rescues unwanted animals….dogs, goats, pigs, whatever!
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Kevin: To those that dig what we are doing…we love you! Let’s enjoy this ride together!
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!