CHASTAIN In Dementia Interview
Rock Brigade Magazine: In Dementia is a little bit heavier than the previous album, Sick Society. What has changed in the band to make you write heavier songs?
David T. Chastain: SICK SOCIETY was written more for the US audience and to introduce the world to KATE FRENCH. IN DEMENTIA was written more as my musical statement of "this is what I like and I hope you do to but if you don't I can live with it!!" I think the statement of IN DEMENTIA as being Heavy Demented Progressive Metal is pretty much a perfect description. Let's face it, most progressive bands are not near this heavy!
Kate French: Time and energy. We had a lot more time to write and record this cd. On Sick Society I only had a few months to write and record. This cd we spent about a year. Plus we did a little touring that helped us feel each other out and see what worked best.
RB: Vocal parts are much more aggressive, straight and even more effective. Were you satisfied with the vocals?
DTC: I think Kate did a great job on this cd. She did an excellent job on SICK SOCIETY but that was her first cd. On IN DEMENTIA she spent a lot more time on it and I think she did a perfect job.
KF: 99%! There are a few things I would have liked to have done different. When I record my parts I am not sure how David will produce them. Some things I record never make it to the final cd. He always surprises me with some of the production ideas. The cd opens with me singing over an acoustic guitar. Actually I never sang over that acoustic guitar. Somehow he took my vocals from within the song and placed them over the acoustics. It is really cool and there other surprises the first time I hear the cd.
I think my performance is much better on IN DEMENTIA than on SICK SOCIETY.
RB: We have heard lots of good comments about IN DEMENTIA and most of them say "This is the most mature Chastain album." Do you feel that you're in the highlight of your career as a composer?
DTC: I agree that this is the most mature and professional CHASTAIN band album of all time. Some of the older albums have great songs but this cd has everything; great songs, sound, musicians, production, artwork, etc. I just think it is the most professional!
RB: Beside of being really heavy, this album has lots of amazing progressive parts. Do you have influences of progressive rock?
DTC: My instrumental cds have always been progressive metal. To me IN DEMENTIA is more like one of my heavier instrumental albums but now with great vocals. Of course I love bands such as Dream Theater. True musicians.
RB: Discuss the songwriting on IN DEMENTIA.
DTC: Kate wrote all of the lyrics and melodies on IN DEMENTIA. This is the first time in my 20 cd career that I shared songwriting 50%. I knew she was a great songwriter and I felt comfortable giving her the responsibility.
KF: I wrote all the lyrics and melodies on IN DEMENTIA. David handles all of the music.
RB: Besides lots of different themes, we feel a strong sex feeling in some of the songs. It fits well in Kate's look for obvious reasons. How do the old fans face this Chastain sex approach?
DTC: Most are into it. However some of the fans in Europe still want to hear about the swords and dragon style of lyrics that were more obvious on my first 2 Chastain cds.
Kate is just a sex machine and everything thing she does just has that about her.
KF: I have heard no complaints from the fans, but I doubt they would come up to me and say it. One asshole reviewer said of SICK SOCIETY that "Kate must have sucked the brains out of David to allow such a terrible release" screw him!! I will never satisfy the Leather fanatics but that is not my job. My job is to do the best I can and let the chips fall where they may. Actually a lot of the European press said that when they heard that David had a new singer they expected the same music with a different sounding voice but what they got was different sounding music with a similar voice. I thought that was hilarious.
RB: We don't need to say how pretty Kate is because half of the world already knows it. But the pictures of her aren't sexual, instead they are sexy and gorgeous. Do you have to take special care to avoid a sexual shape to Chastain?
DTC: It is kind of hard. If I wasn't in the band I would want to have sex with her! On Sick Society we did get some bad press in the US just because Kate looked the way she did. In the US the 90's have become the decade of ugly. In the US the Grunge look and sound rule. I would hope that the male population would be attracted to her but also respect her as one great vocalist. She looks the way she looks. We could exploit it a lot more and have her pose for Playboy or something like that. To me we haven't gone overboard. I don't think any of the pictures we have released to the press really show her in any revealing clothes or anything. I do have some photos of her nude that are absolutely amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!! If I released those then we would be exploiting her looks. We want her to come across as sexy and classy. I think we are succeeding. I think she sings sexy! Her little moans are turn-ons to me. Of course when she really sings about sex on songs such as TONGUE, you get where she is really coming from! Actually Leather could come of as being sexy when she really wanted to but she usually just wanted to come across as a "tough" chick who could kick your ass! I was never romantically involved with either Leather or Kate despite what many people have thought over the years. I respect both as musicians and know better than to go there! Both have sent chills down my spine with their vocals!
KF: I am what I am. I am not going to go make myself look like some 90's heroin addict who hadn't taken a bath in a month. (Anyone say "Courtney"). How people perceive me is their own doings.
RB: Aren't you a bit afraid that people will pay too much attention to Kate's looks and forget the music itself, which is the most important thing of all?
DTC: I donšt think so. To me she is perfect. If I was going to a concert and I had the choice to see a band with a male singer and another band that had a great female singer who you also would love to have sex with, I'll take the female. Of course the bottom line is the music, she can and does deliver both! Also on radio many people hearing her for the first time actually think she is a man. They can't believe that a woman can sing with that with power.
RB: I know you don't like to make comparisons, but which differences do you see between Leather's and Kate's style and performance?
DTC: Leather was more of a seasoned professional who I could always count on. Kate is much younger and inexperienced. She has tons of potential, but to be truthful I don't know what to expect of her from day to day. With that said, I think IN DEMENTIA has the best vocals on any CHASTAIN cd to date.
RB: You manage much of Leviathan's business. How do you find time to deal with this and with all the band business?
DTC: I work 15 hour days! I spend about 12 hours a day on Leviathan records, 9 am to 9 pm. Then it is into my home studio! I wish I could just concentrate on music 24 hours a day but I have many people who depend on me for Leviathan Records.
RB: In some parts of the cd it recalls to us the German singer Doro Pesch. Have you ever heard of her?
KF: Not really. Just a little bit here and there. She never did anything in the US so she is totally unknown here. I know she is still big in Europe. We had a chance to do a tour with her in Europe for SICK SOCIETY but we passed. I am more into Carl Albert and of course Leather. Some of today's modern singers such as Alanis M. give me some ideas about phrasing but I try to be as original as possible.
RB: Would you feel comfortable being a sex symbol?
KF: Sure, why not. It's a dirty job but somebody has to do it. I would rather people find me attractive than repulsive.
RB: Aren't you afraid that people will pay too much attention to your pictures and forget that you are a great singer?
KF: Of course the music is the most important thing of all. However if we can make some extra fans for the band because of the way I look that we wouldn't of had otherwise then why not?? I am attracted to certain bands and musicians who are attractive and then I start to appreciate the music later. Let's hope we can get some of that action. Let's think about it, there hasn't been a real hot looking female artist in metal in the 90's.
Is that because there aren't any out there or just no one wants to step up to the plate and hit a home run? I love men and I hope they love me, if not for my music, then for my looks. Just love me!!!