An Interview with vocalist Mark Hunter
by Adam Carney
Dinner photo by Adam Carney, group photos by Vivianne J Odisho
What happened to your first record label, East Coast Empire?
Your guess is as good as mine. I think we were one of their last releases, and then the owner went on to different things. They just disappeared.
What made you switch from Roadrunner to Ferret?
It came to a point where they were just happy with where we were, and they didn’t really want us to progress any further. We certainly didn’t see eye to eye with that. A lot of the times we brought our ideas and stuff to them, and it felt like our hands were tied and we couldn’t do anything about it. We just wanted to work with people who had the same vision we do.
What do you think of Dragonforce? Is that your cup of tea?
No, not really. I mean, I love the guys, but musically, it’s just not me at all. I don’t really like it. They’re definitely talented as hell, but it’s just not my style.
They’re like a happy metal band. I just don’t quite get it.
Yeah man, I feel the same way.
I noticed that you reference a lot of horror movies and stuff in your lyrics.
On every album, there’s a song based on some type of movie in which I try to get the fans to guess which it is.
What are your favorite movies?
Conan the Barbarian is definitely one. There’s a million movies I like. I definitely am into The Shining. It’s probably my favorite movie ever.
What kind of bands are you into as a fan?
A lot of stuff that I grew up listening to. A lot of the old classics, really. I don’t find myself listening to much newer metal bands, except for bands like Decapitated and Regurgitate. Other than that, I’m into a lot of hip hop and stuff like Nine Inch Nails.
Are you into the new NIN album, Year Zero?
Yeah man, I love it.
What’s it like being a metal band from Cleveland?
I dunno, man, we’re never there! When we were starting out, it was kind of stupid, you know? There was a huge click of bands, and we didn’t want to have anything to do with them because they just stayed in Cleveland. You were the cool guy if you played shows with some of these bands, but it’s like, who cares if they are just going to stay in Cleveland? That was my theory then, and it still stands true because a lot of those guys never got out of Cleveland.
When you guys first signed, were you ready to do the touring, or was that a huge step for you?
We were ready, but then we quickly realized how much work it actually is. We just put it on a back burner until we were on a major label like Roadrunner.
What do you think of Christian metal, namely bands like Zao?
I’m a fan of the music, I don’t care. I’m not one of those people that has to relate music with their religion. I don’t see why it’s so important in music. I mean, if that’s their outlet, then great for them, but it’s just not my style. I definitely like the music, just not into the message.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in Chimaira?
Probably own a restaurant. I was a cook back in the day.
What was jamming out with Kevin Talley (former Dying Fetus drummer) like?
You ever tried picking your toenails with a wrench? He’s hard to work with. He’s definitely a pain in the ass.
He’s a great drummer, I didn’t know he was like that!
So what? There are a million other better drummers out there that I’m sure don’t have as much as an ego that he does.
What was high school like for you?
(laughs) I didn’t go. There was no point. I knew right off the bat that I was going to be a musician. All I did was get into fights in school.
Where do you think the direction of metal is going?
I’m not really paying attention to it, to be honest with you. I’m just doing my own thing, and if we can continue to do what we do and enjoy it, that’s really my main concern. I’m glad people are recognizing it, but maybe it’s not so fun now that it’s becoming so accepted. It wasn’t accepted when I got into it. But I don’t think it will ever truly be mainstream.