Written by Erin Mathis
It’s been a long four years since the post-hardcore band Chiodos released an album, so when they made the announcement that a fourth one was on its way, I of course was brimming with excitement. On April 1st of this year, Devil was released to excited Chiodos fans everywhere. Craig Owens was back on board, and another line-up change had occurred as well. Beloved guitarist Jason Hale was replaced with The Fall of Troy’s Thomas Erak. The new album, which was met with much anticipation, blew all expectations out of the water. The new unit proved that they could create a diverse, powerful album, one that combines that early 2000’s Chiodos sound, with some bold cross-genre experimentation.
Back in August, I was lucky enough to sit down with the band’s newest member, Thomas Erak, and speak with him about the current tour, as well as his thoughts on the new album.
So you hopped on board with Chiodos after Jason Hale left. How exactly did that come about?
Thomas Erak: Craig and I knew each other for a while. We both got signed to Equal Vision Records at the same time, me with The Fall of Troy. We got put on tour together, it was the first national tour that I ever did, and we’ve stayed in touch for 10 years. So when they needed a new guitarist, they gave me a call, asked if I wanted to play some shows, and some shows turned into more shows, and eventually, into a record.
Was it tough telling The Fall of Troy that you’d be splitting your creative energy with another band?
TE: They were a little bummed. But at the time, some things happened with the label, and there was just no future in it. There were some hurt feelings, but I’m still friends with everyone.
You’re still in The Fall of Troy now, correct?
TE: Yeah, we’re back together now.
And you have some shows with them in October, during the time which you’ll be touring with Chiodos. You’ll be doing double duty, how crazy will that be?
TE: It’s stressful. I’m worried about it, but I’m also excited. The Fall of Troy is my baby. Nothing’s going to take away the chance to be with them again. Not this. Not anything. I’m very, very grateful to Chiodos, for what they’ve done for me, but I grew up with those guys. I learned how to play music with them. And I never thought I’d sit in a room with either of them, much less both of them, again. So now that the opportunity to play music with them again is on the table, it’s like, I can’t fuck with that, excuse my language.
So you’ve been on tour for about three weeks now. Do you have any crazy tour stories that you’d like to tell?
TE: Oh, tons of them, but none that I’d really like to share with the public (laughs). I mean, everything about this lifestyle is crazy. Some nights are way better than others. All I can say is that Alabama was a really good time for everybody. A really, really good time.
So how has it been touring with Blessthefall?
TE: Oh it’s been great. They’re super nice guys. Nothing bad to say there.
And the shows themselves? How has it been playing on stage every night?
TE: I mean, the shows are fun. But that’s not why I do this. I can play a show no problem. It’s like autopilot. But the people and fans I meet, that’s the real reason why I do this.
So if I know one thing about you, it’s that you have this intense passion for what you do. Did you always know you wanted to pursue music?
TE: Always. It was never something I even questioned. I always knew that this is what I was born to do.
Like, out of the womb?
TE: I woke up like thisssss. No, I joke. But I’m dead serious. Music is everything to me.
So let’s talk about Devil.
TE: Let’s talk about it.
It was your first album with Chiodos. It’s a fantastic album, something that is really different, really diverse. What are you thoughts on it?
TE: I’m really happy with how it turned out. A lot of hard work went into it. But, maybe because I was new to the band, I definitely think I held back a little. It’s not like The Fall of Troy, where it’s kind of my band. Don’t get me wrong, I love the album. But I wish that I could have just put maybe 5% more into it.
Well, there’s always the next album.
TE:Yes, there’s always the next album.