Coheed and Cambria’s Travis Stever Discusses ‘In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3′ Special Edition
Coheed and Cambria are fresh off the road, where they revisited their 2003 release 'In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3' in support of a rather massive Audiophile vinyl edition of the disc that's now available. Loudwire spoke with guitarist Travis Stever about the tour and what the album means to them all these years later. He also discussed his fondness of vinyl and some of his favorite vinyl releases. Check out the interview and be sure to enter our Twitter contest for a chance to win the deluxe vinyl package (details below).
'In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3.' Can you talk about how it feels to be revisiting this album for the vinyl reissue?
We just got home and I dare say, we've had the best tour we’ve ever done. It was amazing. It was such a blast to revisit those songs. People are extra excited to get the vinyl version, it’s remastered and everything - people have been saying how great the album sounds after this much time. It was such a cool thing to go out and experience people coming together and celebrating that records. Eleven years and people still care that much, so In a way it’s like - almost like a privilege to be able to go out and do it.
You’re coming off this tour playing the album. What were some of the most enjoyable songs to revisit on this trek?
I think the most enjoyable songs are the ones we didn’t do as often throughout the years. Like 'The Light and the Glass' and 'Backend of Forever' and even 'Cut Smart' -- that one we played more than the other two throughout the years. Even 'Faint of Heart' those were all songs we didn’t play as often throughout the years. A song like the title track, it’s like a set staple that’s usually always in our set. Or even 'A Favor House Atlantic,' which is a very important song for the band in its history. Those songs are enjoyable to play because people go nuts, they’re singing along and everything. That was happening all the time.
It’s almost like a brick wall every show. It was like we were coming back into that era, playing that music but as ourselves now after everything we’ve experienced. Honestly, it was a really good transition to go back and do it and still have grown as musicians the way we are. There’s a part of me that’s like, 'Hell, I would do that different,' but that’s different now. That’s how we did it then and that's why it’s so important to people. And it has that mark in time for them, and it has that mark in time for us too.
You mentioned how you approach it now as opposed to how you approach it then. With all these years gone by, what stands out most to you about the recording of that record? Would you change anything about it if you were to do it again today?
What really what that record represents is a band coming into its own. Our first record was a lot ... a lot of this was just like demos made in somebody’s bedroom. This was the first time the band went in and actually recorded in a studio a song. After playing those songs for so long, now for like the past month and just revisiting that album, I learned some things. I thought of that when you were just going through the music, and how I would have done such complex parts through the music if it was called for and I would have tried to add more melody to this part with a lead or something, but it is exactly what it should be. That record is what it should be, like I said it marks a time for the band, a very important time, and it shouldn’t be changed.
All it really did for me, going back performing some of the guitar parts I had written back then, is make me realize that simple can be the best, simple stupid basically. Not always, if it calls for something that. Sometimes the simplest things can also be the most complex things too. I try to re-learn something, and it’s like “Oh this is so sneaky. Why is it not so easy to just play and just sit in the background or something like that?" Well, because sometimes the most tasteful thing is the most simple thing. It’s a reminder too, it’s a reminder of things. If anything I should be thankful for being able to go revisit this album.
With Coheed over the years, the story that people dig into is just as big as the overall music. How has it been for you to see the story evolve in so many ways since that album came out?
I think that 'In Keeping' is a really great example of him coming into his own on that end too, and telling the story, and being the kind of the narrator, if you will, within his lyrics and his vocals. He really started, he did, he started coming into his own and master that on 'In Keeping.' So evolving from that since then was also a real, I know for him personally and for the rest of us to just see and hear that be revisited was pretty amazing, because he has, he’s elaborated on so many things within that mythos and universe that he has developed. That whole world has really changed in flight since 'In Keeping' but to go back to the beginning when it really started to come into its own. I know for him probably, and he even said it on stage himself about how, kind of, important it was for him and for all of us.
Like I said, when I say musically we came into our own, it’s also lyrically, and conceptually, and all those things with 'In Keeping.' As you do with any band, or any artist, you grow from there, and have gone through all these different things. I guess the really cool part about it too is that we went to do this tour and the fans, with all four members, feel the strongest that we ever have, and the happiest that we ever have. We just can’t wait for the next thing to come. So what better way to go out and celebrate something that was right at the beginning, then in such a good place for the whole band, you know? Because, that's where we're at.
I just got done with a month tour, being with those guys. And I can tell you flat out, no bulls--t, that they feel the same way. That after doing that month tour, we're going to miss each other. And we'll probably look forward to getting together and working on new stuff, and whatever we're going to do, as soon as possible. And you know, that doesn't happen for bands all the time. And it hasn't happened for us all the time. We're just in like probably the best place we've ever been creatively and just personally and so it feels good. Somehow I think that I can wrap it back around to 'In Keeping,' to being able to go and experience such a good time for the band, or re-experience it, by going out and playing that record.
I mean, it was just like, it was real nice for us. It was a really comforting thing, it was a good way for us to break back into the world of being out there and on tour and performing together. Because we took a lot of time off. Claudio and I had babies, and a lot of things had happened. And we love our home family life, that's our family, too. I hate to just go on and on, because this is all relevant, because this album, coming back around, I feel like we owe so much to the albums before that, for our career, but we now owe what's happening to us now, to that album again. Because it really set another standard for us, it was such a great tour. I guess it leaves you hungry, right? If you have something great, unfortunately I don't mean to use a nasty word like addiction, but it almost is. Now we got that taste, we can't wait to get tougher again and create and be able to go do what we just did.
Coming off this tour, did the playing these shows influence what you would do going forward for the next record?
I mean sure musically it will add something to be able to go revisit those things. I think even on our last record after that, there were a lot of different songs and stuff like that that had the old school Coheed flavor. That's not going to go away, that's part of us. But I think what's most important, beyond even influencing the music per se, I think that what this tour, and revisiting that album and everything did, it helped us to revisit the comfort and the kind of brotherly atmosphere that we have within this band.
You mentioned the lineup, you've been through some ups and down over the years. Can you talk about the other guys in the band at this point, and your relationship with them?
That fits into what I was just saying. We couldn't be closer. The original lineup, so, let's put it this way. For the original lineup, being three of us, so the original line-up of 'Keeping Secrets.' So there are three of us in the original lineup. And then you have Zach Cooper, who's the newest member, who performed on 'Afterman' and has been a part of the band for the past three years. I believe it's now it's probably almost exactly three years he's been working with us. Yes, there's things, but here are, I would say as closest we've ever been, personally, within the band. And a lot can be said for Zach being a part of it, to help fuel that. Because he's just such an accepting, and a really personable, and just like, positive influence on all of us. So that's Zach. And then you have Josh, Claudio, and I, well we have this huge history since the beginning. And I don't like to over examine things, but, somethings happened where the three of us are closer than ever, along with Zach, and that's what I'm saying. You don't like to question things, you don't like to overanalyze, but I, flat out, we just went on a tour, and we've enjoyed it more than ever, so, I don't really always get to say that.
Are you a big fan of vinyl?
Yeah, I collect vinyl at home, and so does Claudio. I think that Zach has collected a little bit, but Claudio and I have been pretty avid vinyl collectors for the past years. I'll buy something on iTunes, and I have Spotify, you know. And I'll listen to things, and if I really enjoyed them, especially stuff that was recorded for vinyl, older records, it sounds so incredible because that was what it was recorded for, that's what it was mixed and mastered for. So if I have a record that I love, that I grew up to, or this and that, I'm sure to have it on vinyl. Even new stuff, if I really love it, for the art, just for the sake of actually buying records still, I will buy them on vinyl.
I'm always positive that I will make any project a part of, I will make a vinyl version. I just released a record recently with another band that I'm in, it was a project that I had for years, it used to be a lone venture but now I have a band that I work with on songs that we create. And it's called Davenport Cabinet and we just released a vinyl on that. But, that literally just came out two weeks ago, as of yesterday. And you know, maybe we'll just do a digital release. I pushed. I just said, no, I have to do vinyl. Sometimes, I guess, it just really doesn't make sense if nobody's going to want to buy it at all, but, yeah, I want to have it myself. I always said I have an excuse to put everything on vinyl. With 'In Keeping,' I didn't have the vinyl version anymore, I had a couple of warped copies, primarily wanted it to get re-released for me to have them!
Being a collector, what's a favorite in your collection?
I have a couple of box sets, of vinyl things that were re-released. I have one, Sonic Youth 'Dirty,' it has all these singles and stuff that it came with. I also have this old school boxed set of Fela Kuti vinyl, and then I have a couple of first edition like of the Dinosaur Jr. records, from back in the day, like 'You're Living All Over Me' on SST, and stuff like that.
I have records that are really important to me, and that I may not even listen to as often but they're just like records that I just keep because they're memories that I had since I was a kid. Like, the original Black Sabbath that my mom had. Scratched to s--t, but my mother of all people had it. She actually was a fan of that record and I remember when I was a little kid, looking at that record with the woman on it, and being scared sh-tless, and then a couple of years later wanting to know what the hell that was and then falling in love with Black Sabbath that way. And so I keep stuff like that, kind of a stupid guitar, that's a piece of s--t, that you don't really care about it, but of course I have the brand new re-mastered you know, vinyl of that first Sabbath album, too.
You know, so, I'm a collector in that sense, the sentimental as well. That's hard to name my favorite thing, my favorite record that I have. I have a real wide variety of records. As does Claudio. That's another important part of Coheed and Cambria, it's just a real diverse love of music. And I know every band would say that, but you'd be surprised if you came and looked at our record collection. You'd be listening to weird ass stuff, and some stuff that you'd be like, oh, that's normal. I listen to every classic rock kind of standard album, I'm going to have to it. But then again I might have some weird old hardcore album, or I might have some weird like funk album, I mean, I love a lot of soul and funk, and stuff like that. I have every Meters album on vinyl.
Good stuff in there. Great picks. Last thing, you just finished this tour. What's on the horizon at this point for Coheed?
Coheed will be working. We all have stuff that we're going to get in to, at home for our families for a second. But, we never stop working, individually or together. I know that together we will be working, and it's just a matter of time. Which, literally, we just got home yesterday, so it's kind of, alright, let's get our lives settled. Figure it out from there.
It would be worth going out on tour, let's put it that way. Let's not... everybody's got there things that they'll be working on, while we're getting settled, too. But together we will work again very soon.
Our thanks to Coheed and Cambria's Travis Stever for the interview. Learn more about the band's 'In Keeping Secrets' Audiophile Edition that's available on black 180 gram double gatefold vinyl at this location. Enter for a chance to win the release via Twitter by clicking the red button below. Contest ends Nov. 17.