We had the pleasure of interviewing alternative hard rock band Chaos by Candlelight as they prepared for rehearsal in their warehouse-turned-venue practice space in Laurinburg, NC.
Fuel The Scene Magazine: Could you give us a brief history of the band and your growth musically?
Chris: “We started off as a three piece band. It was myself and our former drummer [Rod Herrick], he and I came together with one of my good friends, James Jones. Neither one of them are with us, we parted ways. The band was formed back in 2011 and Rod stayed with me for three years and James was with us for about two and a half.”
Chris: “Our current lineup is myself, Chris Knight, Vernon Bowers on the drums, and Lawrence West on the bass. We just lost our long time guitarist, Adam Lasater… he is active army and he shipped to Germany he’ll be over there for three years… we’re definitely a family and we really miss him. We were lucky enough to pick up [a new guitarist, Ken Lawhead] who is one of Adam’s friends, he came highly recommended, and so far it seems like it’s working out pretty good. He’s a fast learner and we’re blessed to have him.”
FTSM: Some of your earliest influences or inspirations to pick up your instrument?
Chris: “I started playing the guitar when I was four, it’s been 30 years for me. My dad started me and my brother at the same time so it’s more of a family thing for us. I was inspired by a lot of mainstream guitarists and some that weren’t so mainstream, you know Slash, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, and Steve Vaughn. Some of my newer influences are still Slash because his playing just keeps getting better and Mark of Alterbridge, who is probably my favorite guitarist currently.”
Vernon: “I’ve been playing about 19 years. Started playing when I was very little, runs in the family. Favorite drummers I like are Mike Portnoy, Chris Adler, and Joey Jordison.”
Ken: “I like Kirk Hammett for right now.”
Lawrence: “I’ve been playing for 15 years now, some of my influences are Matt Freeman from Rancid, Les Claypool from Primus, Dreamtheater’s bassist is beyond phenomenal and I aspire to be so much like him. My biggest influence is Ryan Martinie from Mudvayne/Soften The Glare. Most of my writing style comes from studying his.”
Chris: “And we can’t forget our soundman extraordinaire who just so happens to be my brother [Jack Wooten.]”
Chris [to Jack]: “You want to say something real quick?”
Jack: “My story is pretty much the same as Chris’.”
FTSM: How do you like to communicate to your fans or potential ones to keep the local music scene going?
Chris: Social media is a huge thing for us. We definitely don’t do as much as we would like to just because we all still hold down full-time jobs. It gets rough sometimes, you know trying to keep up a band. We’ve been playing quite a bit this year, I think we’ve done a little more than 15 shows so far this year. and we’ve got 4 this month, and we try to play as local as we can and we get our local people involved and a lot of people from where I work they come to support the band at just about all of our shows. The last one we had was at Willie’s Lunchbox, we had almost 200 people there, it was great.”
FTSM: And it was all local bands?
Chris: “All we had was two bands and we had 200 people in that place. It was a great responding crowd too they were up on the stage you know, you could just feel the energy from it, it was really great we were all having a great time and a few shenanigans ensued… it was awesome, we really enjoyed it.”
FTSM: What is your favorite original song to play live?
Chris: “Do we have to pick one or can I pick a couple?” (laughs)
Chris: “I think our funnest song to play is our song ‘Ghost.’ And it’s probably the most catchy just because of the melodies… but it’s also the song that we just recently did our first music video.”
FTSM: You shot a music video?
Chris: “We just finished it, we had a production company [Atomic Raven] from Greensboro. They came down and they really showed us what it was really like to shoot a video. I mean… when they started breaking out $10,000 cameras I was like, ‘man this is real.’ It looked really awesome. They actually did that entire thing for us for free. It was a going away present for our guitarist, Adam. It was great, and a great group of guys.”
Chris: “‘Done with you’ is probably the most energetic song that we have. It’s in your face, the whole 9 yards. And it’s a great tune, got ‘killer’ drums in it, and Vernon really brought it to life whenever he stepped into it… It’s got really good guitar licks in it, the solos are killer, and the bass… we love the bass. It’s something else.”
FTSM: Speaking of energy, your stage presence is insane. I can tell when you’re getting really into it. And speaking of bass, Lawrence is all over the place.
Chris: “Lawrence is definitely the eye candy of the stage. Even of I didn’t have a mic in front of me, I probably wouldn’t just around too much, and you know Vernon, he can’t really do too much back there.”
FTSM: Do you have any particular stories or memorable moments from fans at a show?
Chris: “One fan actually made a candle for us, so that was kind of cool.”
FTSM: A candle, really?
Chris: “Yeah, they spelled ‘Chaos’ wrong but it was still cute.”
FTSM: So we’ve already talked a bit about your upcoming releases that you want to let people know about: you made a video, and just got done recording, right?
Chris: “Yeah we just finished recording a full-length album. We have 11 songs on the album.”
FTSM: Goals for the future? Do you want to tour someday, hoping to take it as far as you can?
Chris: “Yeah, I would at least like for us to hit the regional level, to where…we could go at least six hours away from the house, you know and draw a big circle on the map and say this is what we can do. It would be great to do that and be able to pull a really good following just about everywhere we go. You know, you have to start small, which we understand. We definitely had to start small in our hometown, and we do like hosting our own shows for the most part, just to keep the number of the bands down and give each band enough time to really go in there and put a really good, solid, one hour show and have a great time with it.”
FTSM: Okay, last question is for Lawrence… how long does it take you to do that mohawk for every show?
Chris: “About an hour. I think he says 45-an hour. It’s definitely an eyepiece for the stage. Wait until you see the video, they got some great shots of that head!”