Interview: Jacob Lilly (Chamber)

One of the most incendiary metalcore acts on the scene today are Chamber. With new vocalist Jacob Lilly at the helm the band are going from strength to strength. Having terrorised UK audiences earlier this year the band are just about to unleash their debut album Cost Of Sacrifice (reviewed earlier this week) so Peter Dennis thought it was high time to catch up with the aforementioned Jacob…

Hi Jacob, I know you’re new to the band but can you give me a brief history of Chamber?

Initially our guitar player Gabe was in another band called Hanging Room (which was also from Nashville), they broke up because members had life changes, so Gabe was uncertain if he wanted to start another band but he hooked up with drummer Taylor and bassist Chris, they were both in other bands, but they got together and started writing tunes and later down the line I joined…

I understand you joined the band mid tour. How easy was that?

It was kinda difficult but I knew Gabe for a while and being there with him he was a big help. When I did the first show with Chamber it was really bad…I only knew half the words so I had my phone by the kick drum lit up and I’d scroll through my phone to see which lyrics fit where. But the third or fourth gig in it felt good, it felt like we were meant to play together.

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How have the fans taken to you? Has it been warming?

Yeah, basically it was there first tour so there’s not a whole bunch of people who have seen Chamber without me, I’d say more people have seen us with me, some people preferred the old vocalist but who cares? It’s just yelling into a microphone!

What was the reasoning behind re-recording the vocals on the debut EP?

Once [record label] Pure Noise contacted us, in my mind it was either re-record the vocals now or re-record them for a re-release in 5 years time so in my mind it was either now or then. I think it made sense and seems how they wanted to put out a record we recorded a new track and re-recorded the old stuff for release.

How does the line-up gel now? Are you all really good friends?

Yeah, our older guitarist, Taylor, decided to leave the band and we got our good friend Mike in to play guitar. There’s some days where we’re like ‘Hey, I need some space’ and that’s where good friends come in: they understand that. We all get along in well in the van and on stage we have fun and I think that’s why we’re all here.

Nashville is not my first thought when thinking of hardcore music. Do you feel isolated being in a heavy scene?

The hardcore scene in Nashville is pretty good, there’s a lot of bands coming through…Cloverfield are a younger band coming through, it’s pretty decent. I’m from North Carolina but every time we play Nashville it’s amazing. We played there on New Years Eve  with Chemical Fix (from Philly). On NYE you think everybody’s going to drink Budweiser’s on Broadway but there was 80 kids there on a Monday and you can’t really beat that anywhere. It’s neat.

How did the environment of Nashville shape Chamber’s sound?

I’m not sure if it did because there’s so much Country and Western music going on. I think Taylor, Mike and bass player Chris, just from going to hardcore shows when they were younger to see bands that they really cared about made them want to start a band.

At the moment hardcore and metalcore seem an unstoppable force. Do you think it’s symptomatic of society that people are finding an outlet in this aggressive music?

Yes, I think so. There’s a lot of crazy things going on with politics, especially in America, I guess a lot of bands are coming out and playing at that higher level, not just in their garage. There’s so many bands like Knocked Loose who are playing to so many more people than I would ever imagine I’d play to or even they’d play to. You start a band and you want to put out a CD and that’s it and it’s got so much bigger, it’s not mainstream but record labels are helping out and I think that’s a big part. Also, life is hard and that’s the reason I got into heavy music, bands would talk about hardships and politics and bands that were not cool but were cool to me.

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How would you describe Chamber’s sound?

I think Chamber is a metal band, we have the fast parts, we have the circle pit beats, we have the noodle-y crazy bits and we have the breakdowns. I would say were just a metal band, maybe metalcore but metal makes more sense than any other genre.

What influences do you draw upon to create your sound?

We all love Gojira, Deftones. Me personally I love Converge, Turmoil. We like Slipknot and that Gojira/Deftones tour was announced yesterday and we were all like: “We have to be home for this!”

How about lyrical inspiration?

Mike and Gabe work on that and it all comes from personal hardships whether it be relationships or what we dealt with when we were younger or sometimes it’s experiences from being on tour…just hardships through life. We do have a political song on our next record so all three of us sit down and write and bounce ideas off each other. For me it’s growing up with a single mother or a deadbeat father, trying to deal with life. I grew up with a single mother which I hated but I think it could have been so much worse.

How does it feel to open yourself up like that in your lyrics?

I think in reality we’re all vulnerable, just because we get onstage in front of 50-200 kids a night, we want people to come up and talk to us about our experiences and even if they don’t they can realise that everyone goes through this. That was cool for me, bands who said ‘this is how I feel and this is what I write about and if you feel that way come to our shows’ and I liked that. I think playing any type of music you’re vulnerable, your writing an album, putting months of time into it and you’re going to release it: you like it and everyone hates it, that’s what makes you vulnerable.

What can people expect from your new album Cost Of Sacrifice?

The new album is more structured, for sure. We went into the studio and Chamber has a lot of riffs, and that’s something easy to look over, it’s riff-riff-riff and people who listen to your music want to hear something that comes back like a chorus or a melody. That’s not something were doing to be mainstream or bigger, we just want to show more musicianship. We went into the studio and did some really cool stuff: it’s Chamber but it’s bigger, better and heavier too.

How do you walk the line between experimenting and keeping your fans happy?

That’s a difficult question…I don’t know who our fan base is. Of course we have some because we’re here but to me personality as long as we’re all having a good time, somebody who likes chamber…we wrote the songs for them and not anybody else.

Cost of Sacrifice is out on October 23rd and reviewed here

Chamber: facebook | twitter | bandcamp

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