Like many before them, Chiodos tried to dodge the fabled sophomore slump by augmenting and elaborating upon the devilishly-advanced hardcore they created for their debut, All’s Well That Ends Well.
“We were touring so much that we didn’t really have a chance to sit down and write as much as we’d like to,” keyboardist Brad Bell says. “Once we finally did, we had to decide which direction we wanted to go.”
On what would become their second album, Bone Palace Ballet, the band wanted to add even more gravitas to the proceedings while maintaining the band’s arm-flailing intensity. Much of that desired enormity comes in the form of string arrangements. And not just programmed sounds on Bell’s synthesizer. The real thing. Chiodos got them through Casey Bates, the record’s producer, who knew a guy who had some violins and cellos stashed away. Chiodos sent him their songs, and the strings were added. “We do whatever we can to set ourselves apart,” Bell says.
It’s that mind-set that’s helped Chiodos quickly scale the alternative metal heap. All’s Well That Ends Well scanned an impressive 200,000 copies, while Bone Palace Ballet debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard charts last year.
The band’s ardor for new sounds and wry sense of humor (their moniker was derived from the last name of the filmmakers behind Killer Klowns from Outer Space) have enamored them to diverse audiences. Last summer, Chiodos became the toast of the Warped Tour, and they started this year opening for Linkin Park. Bell says that, as they experiment with their sound, there’s no concern on their part about alienating a core fan base.
“Our music in general isn’t really typical,” he says. “Most of our fans have an open mind. We’re just trying to grow as musicians.”
So far that hasn’t entailed a loss of energy in the live setting. If anything, it’s Chiodos’ erratic stage presence that’s earned them much of their bread.
“When we started the band almost seven years ago, we were geeked up on bands like At the Drive In, who put on a show that no one had ever seen before: the craziness and intensity,” Bell says. “We’ve always tried to add that element to our own shows and have as much energy as possible, hopefully so fans give it back and we’re both not just bored and standing there looking at each other.”