Interview with: Mic Todd of Coheed and Cambria
When & Where: 12/09/03 - The Sphere - Buffalo, NY
Please state your name, your role in the band, and tell me something random about yourself.
I'm Mic, I play bass and I tie my own flies.
Tell me a brief history about the band.
Well, Claudio and I have played in a band for a long time and it kind of went through some member changes and we dumped old material. The start of a new band, so we called ourselves Coheed and Cambria. Here we are. All that was about three years ago.
So you've been through many line up changes and what not. How has the music changed from previous line ups to the line up you have now?
Pretty much just a natural revolution. With who we are and who the people we play. With who we are and who the people we play with are, like Josh changed. The way he plays drums is definitely different from the way a lot of people play. Just as a natural revolution. Same way with our new record. It's different from our last record.
Does the album, "The Second Stage Turbine Blade," have anything to do with the movie Lord Of The Rings?
No, absolutely not. It's all rumors and I just squashed that. Don't believe the hype and all the you hear or read. It's all untrue.
What are you hoping to achieve with the new album, In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3?"
To sell enough of them so we can make another album. [laughs]
Is the music industry in any way the way you expected it to be or did it surprise you in anyway?
No. It's pretty much exactly what I expected it to be, with like, the people who are in it. As far as with EqualVision it's a special label. All the people are really awesome. We have a real personal relationship with them but that's for an independant scale. Everything else that I've seen is pretty much cut-throat and obnoxious as it can go.
If there was anything you could change about it, what would you change?
The business politics that have nothing to do with the bands or music.
Do you think MTV and radio changes the way fans are for a certain type of music?
Yeah, absolutely. Of course. It's a media and it's viewed by millions and millions of people. So yeah, it definitely has an influence on how people are for music in at least one way or another.
What would you say are the pure elements of writing a good song?
If you like it, chances are someone else is going to like it. Don't throw anything off. Write what you want to write and play what you want to play. Because if you like the music or if you have a song and you're like, "yeah, I like this song, I want to listen to it," then, chances are, people are going to like it as well. That's a pretty good formula.
How hard is it to establish your own presence without having to deal with ties to other bands work?
Well, it's not intentional. We pretty much have always done our own thing. We never really grew up with a big scene in my area so, I just pretty much have a lot of outside influence that doesn't really follow the current trends. If anything in fact seperates us, then that would be it.
Do you ever feel that following a certain pathway of music can put a strain on what you might want to experiment with outside of it?
Well, most likely yes I would assume. But honestly, we don't do that. So, we don't have that problem. We don't really committ ourselves to anything.
Your music is very complex. You have these melodic vocals and rich guitar lines and unique rhythms. I was just wondering how the band goes about song writing.
It's a group effort. Claudio definitely writes all the lyrics and melodies and your basic guitar part. Then we all just sit there and jam on it. A lot of the times me and Travis will sit down by ourselves with our guitars at home and work on some crazy guitar shit. So, it's definitely a group effort. Claudio's the prinicple song writer. He writes the melodies and guitar parts and then from there we take it as a band and structure it and make rhythm chances...[stops].. You keep looking at the big pimple on my face. It hurts. I fucking woke up with it. It fucking hurts. I think it's from my hotel pillow.[laughs.] Okay, proceed.
So, how did the name Coheed and Cambria come about? Any significance behind it?
They're not words. They're definitely names. They don't mean anything. But, Claudio was using it. That kid came up with it a long time ago. It was named after two pets. Actually, he was going to use it as a side project and then we just came up with this idea for the concept and we were talking about changing the name and writing new shit and we became Coheed and Cambria. It was just a simple project and it turned out like this.
How do you want to effect people with your music? What do you want them to walk away with?
Oh I don't konw. Again, I almost want to say we're not doing this for anyone other than ourselves but of course we love it when pepople like our music. It's very flattering and everything and it feels good, but pretty much, we just want people to be happy and enjoy it and hopefully, they can accept something personal from it and keep listening.
What motivates you to keep growing and to stay so strong with what you are doing?
I love doing it. Plain and simple. We've been doing alright for ourselves. I'm playing music I love to play and that's enough to keep me motivated.
What do you feel has been the bands biggest accomplishment?
Well, we're all pretty bugged out that our new album debuted on the Billboard chart. Seeing, we have no single, no video, no commercials or anything like that. When we got the first numbers, we were on the Billboard Chart on top 200. We were number 52. That was pretty exciting. We were all like oh my god. None of us expected that. So, that was a great accomplishment and something that I can show my parents.
If you were president for a day, what would you do?
Well, a day isn't enough time.
Okay, what would you do if you were president?
Oh wow, where do I even start. That is such a hard question. Legalize drugs. I would do that if I were president for a day because there's so much stuff in the world that is so fucked up, like with our current presidency and with presidents in the past that I don't even know where to start. Legalize drugs is definitely one. Not because I think they're good or that people should do drugs, because I don't do drugs. But, I think that would solve a lot of problems and eliminated the country deficate. It would solve a lot more problems than it would create.
Michael Jackson. Guilty or Innocent?
I don't know dude. That guy is so fucking weird. I'm a huge Michael Jackson fan though and he has made a huge influence in my life as he should to everybody. But, I wouldn't put it past that mother fucker. He's so weird.
Lastly, how would you describe success?
Happiness. If you're confident in yourself and in what you do and you don't feel like you're compromising yourself and you're able to do what you want to do and hopefully you're able to make a living out of it or be able to do so while making a living. Success is just whatever keeps you happy. That's success and I'm happy.