As the band kick off a short UK headline tour we caught up with frontman Claudio Sanchez to talk science fiction, relationships, the future and the past.
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rushonrock: How do you approach writing a prequel like Year Of The Black Rainbow?
Claudio Sanchez: It’s fairly easy to write a prequel. When I created the idea for The Amory Wars all those years ago I always new there’d be a point where I’d reveal the origins of the story. I always knew what the broad structure of the prequel was going to be. But I used more of my own personal experiences to fill the gaps – I got married last year and I used that trial and experience to feed into characters of the Coheed & Cambria story. It’s got the overall vibe of the earlier records with a fresh twist.
rushonrock: Was there a need to write the prequel or was there a danger of over-complicating the storyline?
CS: This record frames the whole story and certainly finishes it off. It’s rewarding to say that it’s finally finished. If the band was to cease working now then we could safely say that was it where that storyline is concerned.
rushonrock: How do you react to the criticism that much of your music is over-complicated?
CS: All of our records keep the listeners thinking. In terms of the overall concept you really need the music and the books together to understand everything. But the themes addressed on the records are universal. They’re all about love, loss and finding yourself. These are all the things that people question as human beings. On the new record, just as on the previous albums, I’m pretty confident people will find something that relates to them. As far as the science fiction is concerned a lot of it is open to interpretation.
rushonrock: Why is there such a strong science fiction element to Coheed & Cambria’s work?
CS: When I created this concept 10 years ago the reason I wrote it like that was that I had trouble expressing myself in lyrics relating to real life. The Amory Wars reflects my love of science fiction and fantasy but it’s really about a man and a woman and the trials which are associated with being in love. In terms of the concept there are bigger science fiction themes at play but at the heart of it all is the story of love and as human beings that’s one emotion we all share. The basis of what I write is very easy for people to understand but the concept is there if people want more.
rushonrock: Are you finished with concept albums then?
CS: I’m not saying the age of Coheed And Cambria delivering concept albums is over. I’ve been toying with the idea of exploring the past and looking into the future. But we could write a record without an underlying concept – it’s really up in the air. All our records are based around universal themes and the concept is more implied than suggested.
rushonrock: As a writer are you fulfilled?
CS: To me writing is a challenge. Do I write the music and translate it into fiction or approach it from the other direction? I’ve been writing since I was 12 and where I go next poses a fresh challenge to me. If it ever feels like my writing has become redundant or I find it boring then I’ll step out of the challenge. At this point it still seems like a fulfilling exercise.
rushonrock: Year Of The Black Rainbow has been hailed as C&C’s most accessible album yet – is that the case?
CS: I know many people think the new album is our most commercial and accessible yet. But it’s not radio friendly as such. I do accept that it may be more easily digestible than our previous albums. It is easier to process at face value than some of the previous records and that’s a lot to do with me as a lyricist. But that started to come through on the last album – I let the audience know that a lot of what I was writing came from personal experience. I wanted them to know that what I wrote came from some kind of reality and that I had grown as a songwriter.