Early Graves | Interview with Chris Brock

Not many bands could overcome all the difficulties that San Francisco’s Early Graves went thru in these last few years. The loss of their charismatic frontman Makh Daniels in a terrible car crash two years ago, while the band was touring the US, was a severe blow that almost dictated the end of the group. Fortunately, Early Graves surpassed this tragic adversity and recorded one of the best and most hostile metal albums released this year entitled “Red Horse”.
Guitarist Chris Brock shared with us the motivations that led the band to continue their career and the meaning behind the title of their new album.

In interviews following the tragic death of vocalist Makh Daniels in a van accident in 2010, you talked about how his family always manifested their desire to see Early Graves continue on. I personally believe there’s no better way to pay homage to Makh’s memory than keeping the band alive, but were there moments when you didn't feel like getting back together with the band without Daniels?

I don't know that we are "paying homage" to Makh. We just didn't want his band to die as well and I think that the best thing we could do for him and for us is to keep doing things we love. Music makes me happy to listen to and to create that was the main motivation for me. I love playing with Dan and Tyler and Matt and John and I didn’t want fear to keep us from continuing doing something we all loved to do. I think Makh would be proud of that, at least I hope so. I really don't want to speak for him and it’s hard to say what he would want.

You’ve enlisted John Strachan from The Funeral Pyre, who‘s a close friend of the band and was also involved in that tragic accident as your new full-time vocalist. I understand that at first Strachan was supposed to help you out in some shows, but then things turned out so well that the most logical decision was to have him as a full-time member. Is that correct?

He was our singer from the moment we started playing with him in my eyes. There was never a trial by fire for him, it was going to work or we probably weren't going to be a band.

Strachan makes his debut on Early Graves’ newest record “Red Horse”, which was released on October 30th through No Sleep Records. Right upon initial listens it becomes perfectly clear that this new work is way heavier and more metallic than previous record “Goner”, which was already an intense and heavy album in its own right. Is that what you were going for, a heavier, more metal-influenced sound?

There wasn't this idea to make it sound more metal, but we have more soloing now which is something we have always done, and we probably have faster songs now because we are better musicians, but there was never a plan to be "more metal". In fact, when we were done writing I didn't feel like there was enough metal as I think there are plenty of hardcore and punk parts for those that like it when we do things like that.

Did you write “Red Horse” with John in mind? I mean his vocals are more raspy and metal-influenced whereas Daniels’ vocals leaned towards a more hardcore, punk tone. In your opinion, what does Strachan bring to Early Grave’s table?

Yes we did write the album with John in mind as we would write the songs with all our members in mind. He was our vocalist already when we started the songs that are on the album and there wasn't this thing where we compared the songs or John to our past. John brings awesome lyrics, friendship, vocals and overall is a good friend of mine. I think we are very lucky to have had not 1 but 2 vocalists who fit into our music and friendship so well.

Does the title “Red Horse” have any special significance or is there a story behind the name and why you chose to call the album that?

It represents the struggle we went through to keep going on as a band facing our potential end as well as exemplifies the ending of the world symbolically.

Is there a song on the new record you feel particularly close to?

The song "Quietus" is pretty awesome for me. We haven't played it live but I love the ending of the song and exemplifies us jumping out of our comfort zone and taking our music places we haven't before.

Early Graves has spent countless days on the road during these last five years. What do you feel are the most valuable lessons you learned while on tour and what mistakes do you want to avoid in the future?

Don't drink too much, respect your band-mates and tour-mates, try to eat as healthy as you can because it really does affect your overall mood and enjoyment, try not to argue, have fun and call home when you can.

More info at: www.earlygraves.com