Chuck Schuldiner Project

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Interview with TJ Childers of Inter Arma!

So I recently got to sit down with the fun and amicable T.J. Childers of Inter Arma. His Virginia charm and passion for the music captivated me, making for an extremely interesting interview at the Doomed Gatherings festival. I hope you guys dig the interview, it certainly gets into some of the deeper aspects of Inter Arma as well gets at some ideas for new projects the band is working on!

Be sure to like Inter Arma on Facebook:

So how has the tour been going so far?
It's been awesome so far. A lot of what I've heard about touring in Europe is definitely true. In how accommodating people are, and how nice everyone is. It definitely seems like there is more of a respect for what bands on our level are doing. There is more of an appreciation for the arts over here. Whereas in America, if you're not Metallica or Linkin Park people generally don't tend to give too much of a shit about you. It's been awesome.

What's it been like being able to play with Windhand?
It's been great. They kill it every night, when they're not blowing up amplifiers. That seems to be a running them for them. It's been great. I've known those guys for a long time. I've filled in on drums for them and I've filled in on bass. I played keyboards on the split they did with Cough. I'm very familiar with all of them. Maybe a little bit too much.

How did you originally get involved working with Windhand?
Well, they needed a bass player for a couple of shows and I just moonlighted a few shows playing bass. Then Ryan cut a tendon in his thumb really bad a couple years ago and they had a couple shows they didn't want to cancel so I just filled in. Their practice space is almost directly below ours in the building we practice in. So I see them all the time and hang out with them all the time. I've seen them so many times and heard them so many times I almost knew all the songs.

So are you a Richmond native or did you move there for the music?
Well, I didn't really move there for the music. I grew up about an hour and thirty minutes northeast of Richmond. It's in the middle of nowhere with lots of ignorant rednecks. I got the hell out of there and moved to the closest cool place, which was Richmond. I wound up over the years meeting everyone. I moved there in 2005, I was there for a year, a year and a half before Inter Arma got going.

How did you get into doom metal in general?
My old man likes a lot of heavier classic rock. Like old Judas Priest, and Zeppelin and AC/DC. I grew up listening to all of that. I discovered punk rock first. But Metallica and Justice for All, I listened that album for eight months straight, non stop. Then I found out about Pantera. It got heavier and heavier from there. With Morbid Angel and Slayer. Way later on I found out about Sleep and all of that type of stuff. It was kind of a natural evolution. This bands heavy, this band's even heavier, this bands even heavier!

Inter Arma has been making waves a lot in the States lately. Your last record is on a lot of top 10 of 2013 lists. So why did it take you so long to get to Europe?
Because we're poor! (Laughs) We've been taking about it since 2009 or something like that. Honestly it was more of a lack of money more than anything. Also, we were trying to make a name for ourselves in the US first. Not that there's anything wrong with playing squats, but we wanted to play in bigger places and be more established in the US before coming over here. We've done our fair share of DIY touring, it's fun but after a while of sleeping in a room filled with dog hair, cigarette butts and spilled beer... It get's old! (Laughs)

How long were you on that DIY circuit?
We kind of technically still are! (Laughs) With the exception of the last tour we did in the States with Russian Circles. We played a house show last spring. We still play places, I don't know if you could call them squats, but they're not exactly 'on the level' so to speak.

Is Inter Arma how you live, or do you have a job back home?
We all have jobs back home. It's kind of on this weird cusp because we can't work as much as we need to to support ourselves because we're touring so much. We come home, and we work as much as we can for two or three weeks before we go back on tour again. It's starting to become a difficult balancing act. To have a real job. Most jobs don't want to employ you for two weeks out of a month or whatever. Inter Arma is not supporting our lives, but hopefully we'll get to that point.

So, is there any forward motion to a sequel to Sky Burial?
Not a sequel per say but we've got something coming out in June or July. It's a forty five minute long song and it's not a sequel, because we started writing it in 2008. We've been kicking it around for a while. As far as a next real record, it's probably going to be a year or so.

What inspired this forty five minute long song?
I started writing it and I had all these riffs that were in the same key and fit together. We played about half of it on our first US tour actually. We came back from that tour and worked on it some more and put it all together. There was no real inspiration behind it, other than listening to Dopesmoker by Sleep. But it's not really the same format as that. It's not quite as droney. It's more like a group of songs that are bookended by a couple of parts. A refrain that comes up at the end again. It's really heavy in some parts and then it's very quiet and delicate and more melodic. Dorothea (of Windhand) is singing on it. The girl who plays violin in US Christmas, she's playing on it, there's all sorts of shit going on there.

Finish this sentence for me "I've never told this story before and probably shouldn't but..."
That's a tough one for me. I'm a big mouth and gossip and tell all the nasty shit that I do. (Hesitates)
Okay I got one. (Laughs)
I kind of was involved in an orgy in a hot tub, when I was eighteen or nineteen years old. I was offering her up to my buddies. I was having sex with her from behind and she was giving handjobs and blowjobs. That one...I kind of felt a little bit bad about afterwards. But when you're intoxicated an on other drugs, you don't make the best decisions.

What do you love so much about music?
Lately for me, this probably sounds cheesy, but whatever. When I'm watching Windhand, I really like watching the crowd react to them. At this point in my life, I'm 31 years old, I've been playing drums since I was three and been in bands since I was seven. It's hard for me to enjoy music on the most basic level. Like when you're a child and you hear the Beatles and you're just like "This sounds fun, let's dance around and be stupid to it". When I listen to music I'm going "What type of guitar is he playing, what type of amplifier is he playing through. What made him decide to go this part? What made him decide to go this key?" I'm so analytical about it that I can't even enjoy it. I have to find other ways to enjoy it, so when I watch people react to Windhand, or even to us, when we're not playing a terrible set, which happens on occasion. People start moshing around or whatever... It's one of the things I love. I love everything about music, but it's hard to find new things that get me pumped.

Any last words of wisdom?
Words of wisdom? Oh man. (Laughs)
Have a good time all the time!

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