He Was A God Interview
1When did you decide that a career in music was for you?
Music has been all I've wanted to do since fairly early on in life. Tony, Dan, and I, first started playing and learning music together when we were 10 years old. Shortly after we began playing in clubs and opening for national touring acts. - Chris
Who are your musical inspirations and why?
I really love and am inspired by lots of different music so a list of influences can get really long really quickly. I’ll try to keep it short: I love Mike Patton for his stunning versatility and his willingness to assume characters as he crafts songs. Jello Biafra is a big influence too not only for his passionate fight against fascism, but for his sense of humor and performance-art stage performances. Others include Henry Rollins, Sinatra, James Brown, John Bush, Ice T, Corey Glover, Fat Mike, Louis Prima, and Serj Tankian. - Benjamin
What song of yours best describes you and why?
All of our music comes from a very personal space, both from experience and worldly outlook, but it's difficult to define what we are as a band in one song. Take a listen and decide for yourself.
What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?
It's hard to pinpoint one gig that has risen above the others, but probably the first time I went to Europe and played a major festival (SummerBreeze Open Air). Everything was run so professionally and the bill was stacked with other bands that I had admired. The fans also show gratitude that you don't always get when playing in the US either.I wish I could go back to that day again and be fully appreciative of the experience. - Chris
If you could perform a gig at any venue where would it be and why?
If He Was A God could play anywhere, I wish we could play Saturday Night Live! I have been a fan of the show since I was kid and have vivid memories of watching Faith No More and Fishbone tear it up back in the day. Back then the stage was the same for everyone whether you were Metallica or MC Hammer. Nowadays, the musical acts are more individualized through light design and such, but I’d still love to play there, see how the show gets made, and tell the Please Don't Destroy guys how hilarious I think they are. -Benjamin
In all my years of touring, I've played a lot of great venues but I've always wanted to play a show at Red Rocks in Denver. Playing a stage with such an amazing natural look and energy would be pretty awesome. - Chris
What has been your best achievement to date and what would you like to achieve in the future?
I feel very fortunate that I've had the opportunity to tour and travel to foreign countries playing music. I always strive to get to the next level but you have to have gratitude for the achievements that you have accomplished and places you've already been.
Tell me a story from backstage or after a gig?
There are so many crazy stories from over the years it's hard to pick one (or tell one that all involved parties wouldn't mind being out there!) . A few years back I walked off stage after a show in Hollywood, California, and Danny Lohner from Nine Inch Nails and Billy Howerdel from A Perfect Circle were sitting on the couch in our green room. It was a shock to walk in, out of breath and immediately be greeted by members of two of your favorite bands! - Chris
What do you like best about being a musician and why?
You’ve gotta separate the idea of musician from “star”. Anyone who writes a song in their bedroom or garage or basement is an artist, you know? Whether you’re by yourself or creating with friends, being honest and doing the damn thing is tantamount. Putting something into the world that did not exist until you created it is, to me, profound. There’s a power in turning your negative feelings or experiences into something constructive; it’s a purge. Every now and then, someone will hear your song and identify with those feelings and that is straight up magic. - Benjamin
What has been the best gig you have been to as a fan and can you tell us about it?
Seeing Nine Inch Nails on The Fragile tour was a cathartic, life changing concert. The production, sound, musicianship and raw chaos that the NIN lineup had at that time was mind blowing. - Chris
What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
No matter what you do, do it with conviction. There are too many people in this world that half ass things and don't put the effort in. Be true to yourself and give it your all especially when it comes to your art. - Chris
What things do you like to do when you are away from music?
We all have pretty varied interests when we aren't playing, Travel, fitness, animals, and indulging in a nice cocktail would top the list for me. - Chris
Do you think social media and the internet are a good thing in the music industry?
There are many ways to answer this question and pros and cons to both sides of the argument. On one hand, the internet opened up a way to get your music to all corners of the globe with ease. You can basically record a song in your bedroom one morning and have someone listening to it on the other side of the world that night. Alas - The internet has completely changed the face of the music industry and the way musicians make a living. Along with that ease, the industry has become oversaturated with music and it takes some effort to cut through the noise and be heard.- Chris
How important do you think your look and image is when it comes to being in the music industry?
If we're defining the music industry as the labels pumping out Billboard Top 100 artists, image is a huge part of it. I think it's safe to say on the totem pole of importance, it ranks higher than the actual music. At the end of the day, the Sonys, the Universals, the WMGs -- these are companies putting out products for consumers. If they were around in the 19th century, they'd pass on Beethoven's demo and tell him he's too short and ugly to make it in the business. - Dan
Image is hugely important in creating the overall package for a band. Personally, a big part of that comes from me always wanting to be a part of something larger than life. Having an image and stage show to accompany the music helps provide an immersive experience for people to get lost in.- Chris
Can you tell us about any tattoos you have and the significance of them to you?
I've always been a huge fan of the aesthetic tattoos give although not many of mine have a significant meaning. I do have the words "Memento Mori" tattooed on my chest which is a Latin phrase and reminder that everything eventually dies, so life should be lived to the fullest. - Chris
If you ran the country for a day, what would you change about it and why?
Twenty-four hours isn't even close to enough time to fix America's current fuckuppery, but I'll give it the old college try. Abolish the Electoral College, un-gerrymander a bunch of districts, put some yet-to-be-named politicians in pillories and dunce caps, halt the War on Drugs, transfer most of our bloated defense budget into fixing our shit infrastructure and making health care more affordable. Have a sandwich and orange vanilla seltzer for lunch. Then I'd revamp the tax code, close loopholes and halt corporate subsidies. Quick nap before the He Was A God concert on the National Mall. - Dan
What has been your experience during the Covid 19 situations.Can you tell us how this has affected you personally,how it has affected you professionally and maybe a story from this time or a message for people out there?
As awful as the Covid pandemic has been, and it really has been awful, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t any silver linings. Having more time at home allowed me to concentrate on composing music with a greater focus and sense of ease. My brother is a drummer and we’ve been putting songs together since we were kids. During the pandemic, songs were exploding out of us and it was really exciting and fulfilling even though very few people besides us were hearing those songs! It also helped give me the confidence to answer an ad from a little band called He Was A God who were looking for a new singer. When I contacted the band, Tony asked if I had anything they could listen to and because of this stupid pandemic, I had a decent amount of material to share! I guess the band liked it well enough to invite me for the audition. The rest, as they say, is history. - Benjamin
If you could say one thing to your fans, what would it be and why?
Thank you. It's humbling to have people dig what we're doing, to listen to our music and come out to the shows.
What was the first record or song you purchased and why?
I think the first record I bought with my own money was Raisin’ Hell from Run DMC. I loved the back and forth style Run and Daryl would share and how Rick Rubin added all those electric guitars. My friends and I would listen to the songs and assume the role of either Run or Daryl. We knew every damn word on that record. I bet I still do. - Benjamin
What would say to someone thinking about becoming a musician and getting into the music industry?
Whatever you do, do it authentically. Plenty of kids pick up instruments or buy equipment because they get drunk off the concept of fame. Forget all that. Learning, playing, writing, performing: those things should be like an itch that you constantly need to scratch. Otherwise you're wasting your time and money.
Regarding the music industry, who knows what the future's going to look like. The landscape has changed so drastically over the last several years that it's anyone's guess how things will look in another decade. All the more reason to play because it's what you love to do and not as a means to some end. - Dan
What has the rest of the year got in store for you?
We're going to keep the good times rolling. New music. More shows. Flashier merch. Pyrotechnics? Not ruling it out..