Bob Zerull of Zoiks! Online recently conducted an interview with bassist Chris Kael of Las Vegas metallers FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Zoiks! Online: You’ve been in the band for a couple of years now, at what point did you stop feeling like the new guy or have you?
Chris: I don’t know, honestly. I’m not one that really gets worked up. I’m pretty even-keeled all the time. I’m not a real high or a real low guy at all. I’m just going through the middle and enjoying the ride. I don’t really know if there was an instance; I just kind of grew into it. Probably after the first festival shows that we did, because when I first joined, we were doing some radio festivals over the summer. Once I got those out from underneath me, then we started doing the “Share The Wealth Tour” with HATEBREED and I think at that point I really started to feel like a solid member of the band. I had all the chops down, was comfortable within the band. Yeah, “Share The Wealth” was when I first started feeling like, hey, I’m actually doing this.
Zoiks! Online: Every couple of years, we get a new DEATH PUNCH record, and this month we’re getting the newest one. This is your first album with the band. How was that experience for you?
Chris: It was really really comfortable, very easy. The material was coming so strong right out the gate. We brought out a mobile recording studio with us on the “Trespass America” tour. We were already in writing mode, so it wasn’t like when we got in the studio we had to slowly get into writing mode; we were already in it going full swing. It was very, very comfortable. You guys will hear once that new album comes out July 30th. There are some damn impressive songs. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but it’s the best DEATH PUNCH has done.
Zoiks! Online: What is the band’s songwriting process? Do you all do it separately; do you write as a group, do you have a designated songwriter?
Chris: Basically, the way the process works, the musicians individually write music. Every once in a while, we’ll get together and bounce some ideas off, but generally speaking we’ve all got our own recording studios at home, so we’ll demo ideas, come up with stuff that we like and fire it off to the other guys. If it’s something that they feel sticks, then we collectively work on it and get together a skeleton of a song. At that point, once we’ve got the music all down, we send that to Ivan and that’s where the icing on the cake really comes. If it’s a song that Ivan [Moody, vocals] feels he can work on top of, you know that’s what he’s going to do. If it’s a song that he doesn’t feel he can work on top of, then it’s of no use. Musicians write all together, fire it off to Ivan, Ivan works his magic on it and then it becomes DEATH PUNCH at that point.
Zoiks! Online: Social media played a big role for you getting into DEATH PUNCH and you continue to be a heavy presence on Twitter and Facebook. How much of that is for you and how much is for the fans?
Chris: It’s equal give and take for me. I get as much out of it as I think the fans do. Going into this whole thing, I really had the mindset and I would think back to my 13-year-old self. Had I been able to reach out to say Gene Simmons from KISS and say, “Hey, man, I really like the record. You’re my favorite whatever,” and then have him give even just a one-line response or like that comment whatever, how much that would have meant to me. I had that mentality going into this. Not that I would ever compare myself to Gene Simmons, but DEATH PUNCH does have a lot of interactive fans that want to talk to us. Every day, the first thing I do when I wake up is jump on Facebook, jump on Twitter, Instagram and do that little bit of connecting with the fans. I’m very big on positively affecting lives. If I can do it little by little, spreading that karma through social networking, I feel like I’m making a difference every day.
Zoiks! Online: Has that presence opened you up to the Internet trolls? Is that something you have to deal with too much?
Chris: Not too much. You definitely got people out there that talk a lot of smack, but that’s enjoyable for me. [laughs] It really is; I love it. Some of the stuff I’ve read on there is hilarious. You get a lot of repetition, but there are those little jewels out there that all of us will read them and be like, “That one is good. Got us. Nice.” It’s entertaining for us. As long as people are talking, we’re making a presence out there. It’s the moment that people stop talking that you realize it’s time to step it back up again.
Read the entire interview at Zoiks! Online. The chat is also available in audio format.