Chevelle’s Sam Loeffler Talks ‘La Gargola’ Album, Tech4Africa + More
Chevelle are enjoying one of the year’s best reviewed albums with ‘La Gargola’ and drummer Sam Loeffler recently took some time to speak with ‘Loudwire Nights’ host Full Metal Jackie about the disc. The drummer spoke about the creation of the disc, keeping things fresh and he also discussed the band’s participation in the Tech4Africa program. Check out the chat below.
It’s Loudwire Nights, Full Metal Jackie. Sam Loeffler from Chevelle with us on the show tonight. Sam, lyrically ‘La Gargola’ addressed topical issues such as ecology and gun violence. Do bands have a responsibility to instigate thought about social issues?
That’s a big question. I don’t know if there’s a responsibility. Really it comes down to the writing for Pete because he just writes about things that are going on around him. It’s not so much a comment as much of saying is this a problem? We’ve gotten some really interesting responses about ‘Take Out the Gunman.’ The song is about the media perpetuation. It’s saying because we talk about it so much, is it perpetuation? We’ve gotten all these anti-gun and pro-gun emails and comments. You guys are missing the point here. [laughs]
Sam, how did Chevelle become aware of and ultimately partner with Tech4Africa, the annual trip to educate and care of special needs children in Africa?
It was very easy. We have a family friend who’s involved in it. She’s actually one of the teachers there right now. It was just a cool thing. We were in South Africa last year and had a great time there being around the country and it rang home when we thought about this thing. It’s kind of a charity but it’s really just them trying to teach these kids that no one can teach because of different challenges. It’s really just about giving your old Apple products to them that you don’t use and they’re able to make it a teaching tool. It’s a really great thing to be a part of. If it works, it’ll probably go on to other places too. They’re out there doing it right now. It’s a cool thing to be a part of.
The new Chevelle album ‘La Gargola’ has horns and industrial tracks. What made it so much fun to throw in just about everything but the proverbial kitchen sink?
We work with Joe Barresi, our producer, and he’s that guy. He just works to make things sound interesting. It doesn’t matter what it is. We had this grand plan for bringing in horns and bringing in violins and stuff like that. When it comes down to it, you’re working for so long and there’s no time to do that. So you just make the parts yourself with whatever instruments are in the studio. It worked out really cool. Joe pushes us to make things sound good. Man, it’s a good place to be to not write the same thing every time. That becomes a real important part of it.
At what point during the writing and recording of ‘La Gargola’ did the album start to develop an identifiable difference from previous Chevelle albums?
From the beginning we knew we wanted to write a different record. We intended to write a heavy record. The songs sort of worked together as they go, which is interesting because Joe came out and sat with us about a month and a half before we went into the studio and listened to all the songs. He said, “I think you guys should take these three songs out and add three more that fit this style” — this dark rock music which really made all the difference because I think the songs that came out of that were ‘An Island’ and then ‘Ouija Board’ and ‘Hunter Eats Hunter’ was the other. It was cool that he was able to recognize how songs worked together, and they do.
The music is credited to all three of you. What’s the most difficult part of a three-way creative collaboration? What ultimately makes it so successful?
I think the most difficult part is having a leader, someone who has a direction, and you have to have other people there that support that direction rather than try to derail it because they think their part is better. It really has to be about the main song. That really works well for us, and Pete is our driving captain and we reinforce the parts he’s writing. To see how they go, it’s a pretty natural thing. I’ve seen bands make messes of a song or something because it becomes about them and not about the song.
Chevelle are very active on social media. Now that ‘La Gargola’ has been out for several months, people have had a chance to get to know it. What’s the most fulfilling comment you’ve gotten on social media about this album? Why does that comment mean so much?
Probably one of the nicest things people have said is the songs all flow into each other. It sounds like a complete record, and they can listen to it from beginning to end and it sounds like a journey. That is a hard thing to do. Even if you aim for it, sometimes it doesn’t happen. I think it did happen and if we can do it every time, we will. It’s important to feel complete, I think that’s a really great compliment.
Thanks to Chevelle’s Sam Loeffler for the interview. The ‘La Gargola’ album is available via Amazon and iTunes. And you can look for Chevelle playing dates at these locations. Tune in to Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie’ Monday through Friday 7PM through midnight online or on the radio. To see which stations and websites air ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.
See Full Metal Jackie’s Welcome to Rockville 2014 Wrap-Up Featuring Chevelle