Brian Schleper - Chaos Theory

February 1, 2001

Give us a little background on the band.

We've been together for about five years. We started out pretty much just playing locally in Trenton doing some small shows for our friends basically. Then we broke out into Philly and New York. Did some high profile stuff. Released two CDs and then about a year and a half ago we auditioned a new guitar player. He worked out great. We pretty much revamped our entire sound. Wrote brand new songs. Pretty much trashed all of our older stuff. Got very serious about everything and pretty much the byproduct of that is our new CD. That's the quick synopsis.

You've completed three albums. Can you tell us about them?

The first one we released in '96. It had really bad production It was kinda something we did low cost. We got very, very lucky. Because of that there was a radio single off of that that we recorded as a joke called "Karate Chop". Basically it was just a joke song about a friend of ours that liked to talk a lot of trash about people so we wrote a song about him and it got tons of airplay basically in the whole Philadelphia market. Which was excellent for us because it opened the door for us for a lot of things. Got us a lot of great shows. We met a lot of great people. Met some industry contacts and basically that was kinda the springboard to where we went. We released our second album Unholy Trinity in 1999. Once again unfortunately we were plagued by bad production. We were kind of like in an awkward phase. We didn't really know where we wanted to be as a band. There were a lot of things we couldn't do because we were a three piece. So basically the byproduct is really loud, fast, angry, basically like thrash death metal kind of thing that never really took off. So we ended up scrapping almost all of the material from that. And then the brand new CD Chaos Theory which is basically going to be released in a couple of weeks, we were basically playing a show up in New York. Tim Gillis who owns a recording studio called Big Blue Meanie, Jersey City, same guy that worked with S.O.D., and Hatebreed, Sepultura, Rage Against The Machine, some of these big bands, saw us, really liked what we had, and asked us to come in and do some recording with him. So we went in and we recorded our six song new CD and the early reports on it are really good. It's gotten a great reaction. Doing some industry showcases up in New York City and hopefully it's going to take off for us.

I've heard the new album and I'm very pleased at how heavy it is. I've already done a CD review for it. Who are your musical influences?

Wow. As a band we're influenced by so many different people. When we first started out we were kinda influenced by the whole Machinehead, Slayer, Iron Maiden thing and then as our music progressed there was older school thrash was in there like some Testament and Overkill. Stuff like that. Recently all of our new stuff is really like - it keeps like that heavier vibe to it but it kind of incorporates a little bit of a new school kind of like the Slipknot Powerman 5000 kinda - trying to get a little bit of that groove going.

You're going to be touring for a few months around New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Once the album's released are there any plans to do a nationwide club tour or maybe hook up with a national act?

It's definitely something we want to do. We're going to be doing a tour of pretty much the entire east coast. We're doing some dates in Baltimore, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, as well as Massachusetts and Connecticut and New York. We plan on going out to Columbus, OH, Milwaukee - that whole area in the summertime. We definitely want to tour the country. We want to tour the world if we can. It's just something that we love to do. We've always been musicians all through high school. The core three members - Dan, Ernie, and myself - we've known each other ever since high school. We've been friends forever. We want to go out. We want to hook up with a national act. We're hoping that by the summertime we won't have to finance everything on our own. Hopefully we're be signed to a major independent label. They can get us a little tour support that will make it a little easier.

You did the Milwaukee Metal Fest in 1999. How did that go?

We've done two. We did the one in '99 and and the one in 2000. The one in '99 was good. It went great. We had a good spot. We weren't really playing up against any of the heavy hitters that were playing there that weekend so we had a great crowd. Great reaction. Last year they had a lot of problems at the festival. Jack Kosheck runs a great show sometimes. Unfortunately our set got cut short. We went on at the wrong time and it was just a bad situation last year. We're not even sure we're going to go back and play the Fest this year. We are playing the one in New Jersey. The March Metal Meltdown. We've played that all three years. This will be the third year they're doing it and every year it's been absolutely excellent for us.

Do you see being signed to a label somewhere in the near future?

Yes definitely. We've been doing a lot of work with Mazur PR. He's really taken us under his shoulder. He saw us at a metal fest two years ago. Liked what he saw. He's been great for us. He's done so much stuff. Through him we've had a lot of contact with labels and labels have called us. We've done some showcasing and we are doing some more showcasing up in New York soon so I'm hoping that by the summertime we'll be signed.

You've enjoyed some moderate success since the band started. Are you becoming well known around the country?

I'd like to say yes. I know that in the Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York market everybody knows who we are. We've sold out of our initial CD within the first six months it was printed and that was with no distribution. No anything. When we play in the area we always get packed houses. It's been great for us and I'd love to say the whole nation knows who we are but I'm sure that there's other Chaos Theories around the United States that - not that some people are thinking that's us but at the same time I'd like to think everybody knows who we are but I'm pretty sure they don't. They will soon though.

What are your favorite songs off the new album?

Personally being the drummer I have to say like "Idolkill" is one of my favorites just because it is one of the most drum intensive songs. But as far as musically and the whole package I'd say "Broken Face" and "Soulcage".

A number of bands have self-titled albums as their first releases. What inspired you to release a self-titled album as your third release?

Like I said we had kind of been going in a different direction for a while. After Craig had joined the band we decided to write all new material and basically we've reinvented ourselves. It's kind of a rebirth so we figured instead of coming out with another album name the best thing we could do is just release an album called Chaos Theory because this is like a new beginning for us.

Who does most of the songwriting in the band?

It's really like everybody. Everybody has their input, their own thing. Like Ernie will bring a riff in that he really likes but the other three will change it. We all bring in our stuff to each song and a lot of practices are just sitting there and somebody plays something and everybody hates it but two weeks later somebody else is saying "hey remember this?" It works out great. We communicate great. Everybody kind of feels what the other person means. You know how a lot of bands they get together and have musicians that don't know how to play the other instruments or something and they can't communicate their thoughts or ideas. We really don't have that problem. We communicate really well as a band when it comes to songwriting.

So everyone in the band can play more than just one instrument?

Yes. Obviously the guitar players and everybody can play bass guitar. They can all sing. The bass player and lead singer also plays the drums. He played some drum stuff on that first album we did. Because the song that ended up being released as a single, the "Karate Chop" song, I actually sing and he plays the drums. I can play bass. It's just kind of like we're a good unit together because we understand what each other means and what each other wants.

You're definitely a professional unit then. Where does the band draw their inspiration from when working on new material?

Everyday life basically. We're not really the kind of band that likes to go out and talk about fictitious stuff. Like the misconception about heavy metal a lot of times is that you get the people who are like "all heavy metal is is just thinking about killing chickens or killing your mom" or something. Or swinging a sword and stuff like that but a lot of our music is really - it's about what's going on inside your mind like the trials and the problems you have as a person. A lot of our lyrics are definitely drawn upon that. All that has to do with that internal struggle and mental problems basically.

I think there is enough drama in everyday life that you don't have to go kill chickens. Your lead singer is described as a mixture of Testament, Slayer, and Static X. Are these bands major influences on him?

When we first started out he was very heavily influenced by Bruce Dickinson. He kind of always tried to hit that upper octave and as we started to progress as a band we noticed that when he sings he gets two distinctly different pitches out of his voice. It's probably the strangest thing you'll ever hear. A lot of people hear it where we play shows or a sound guy will come up and he's like "what the hell is on your voice?" Or people are like "ah that's a really cool effect." Or something but it's not an effect. It's a natural condition with his vocal box. Thatt when he tries to sing or he screams or whatever, he gets two distinctly different pitches. One high and one low. He's kind of got that barky, to an extent like a Slayer hardcore kinda Testament kind of delivery but with the vocal thing it almost sounds like he's got that electronic effect on his voice like Static X.

How do you feel about MTV only catering to certain acts and not providing a true mixture of music for everyone?

MTV's singlehandedly probably destroyed the nation's music if you think about it. Because the only thing that gets popular is what MTV feeds you. And unfortunately it just proves that a lot of people are followers not leaders because they don't think about what else is out there. If you're not getting played on MTV five, ten times a day between their 37,000 shows, you're not popular. If you're not on TRL you're not THE band. And it sucks because there's tons of great bands out there that are never going to be on MTV because they're not sellouts or they're not a boy band. It's basically killed the music industry and it's hurt a lot of bands. They can't survive without that kind of support. Luckily our music, the heavier music that MTV doesn't really support, has always survived underground. It's only fitting that MTV doesn't support us because at this point now - don't get me wrong. If MTV called me yesterday and they're like "we want to do a video, we want to put you on" I'm not gonna say no because I'm not an idiot but at the same time I'm not going to change who I am or what I want to be just to be on MTV.

Videos are definitely a good advertisement for bands. Do you get a lot of radio airplay?

Yeah, in the area especially. 94.1 WYSPS in Philadelphia has been a huge supporter of us over the years. They were the first station to play the "Karate Chop" song. They've had us do some in-studios. We've debuted our second album in the studio with them. We played a new live song in there. We do shows for them all the time. They've been a huge, huge support for us. We get a lot of stuff in North Jersey. Some stuff in New York, Maryland. It's definitely beginning to branch out. We kind of started small and centralized but finally we're kinda - the name's moving and the radio stations are picking us up. It's usually more like independent stations. Lot of college radio airplay. Hopefully all it's going to take is that one major station to play us at a peak time and hopefully we'll go from there.

Radio airplay seems to be about the only way you can get your stuff out now. Who are some of the better known acts that you've opened for?

Not including the Metal Fest that we played because there's 7,000 bands on those things, we've done a good amount of headliner support. We've opened for Testament, Stuck Mojo, Flotsam And Jetsom, Nevermore. We've opened for Overkill numerous times. We actually opened for Overkill once and then the next three times they came in the area their management called the club and asked if we could be on the show with them which was great news for us. We've played with like Crowbar and bands like that but it's shows like that that are getting our name out there more. Hopefully there's going to be some good stuff coming up in the area soon.

Any other comments?

Basically anybody just reading this, we hope that they would take a chance to come out and maybe listen to our CD or go pick it up available through us or through places like Amazon.com. We just hope that when we come to your hometown or whatever that you come out and check us out.