June 25, 2013 Interview: Dan Chandler of Fight or Flight
Sometimes in life the journeys we take lead us down an entirely different path than expected. When metal band Disturbed went on hiatus back in 2011 many wondered what would follow. Lead singer David Drainman started his own project Device which has excelled. Disturbed guitarist Dan Donegan went down his own path and started Fight Or Flight along with vocalist Dan Chandler (Evans Blue), bassist Sean Corcoran (Ra), guitarist Jeremy Jayson, and drummer Mike Wengren (Disturbed). Set to release their debut album Life By Design? July 23rd Fight or Flight is ready to make a wave in the hard rock world. Recently we sat down with vocalist Dan Chandler for a detailed conservation about Fight or Flight, the future of Evans Blue and his journey into music.
Crypticrock.com- Fight or Flight is a new project. How did the Fight or Flight project begin for you guys?
Dan Chandler- Well it started quite a while back, maybe a couple years. Dan and I played a couple shows and festivals together. He contacted me on facebook at one point and introduced himself. We kind of became friends, talked music, and every time we’d see each other out we started talking more music. I had some down time and they went on their hiatus with Disturbed. We tossed around the idea of maybe writing together. Not necessarily of intentions of another project but you know music it’s in the blood man, we just have to keep writing. We kind of just did that, tossed songs back and forth. Before we knew it we had a whole group of songs and started recording at his house. He brought Mike into the picture (Drummer from Disturbed) and reached out to a couple of other guys. He shouted over to Warner Brothers and it kind of just went from there. It was really organic, it was nice.
Crypticrock.com- That is awesome, Can we expect the band to be going on tour?
Dan Chandler- Yea, absolutely. We actually have been getting some scheduling going. We have a show with Avenged Sevenfold next month on July 16th. I believe we’ll be starting a tour in mid July, starting in the Midwest and heading to the northeast. I’m sure we’ll be out quite a bit.
Crypticrock.com- Awesome, I will definitely check you out when you hit the north east. Now that you’re involved in this project I am sure many Evans Blue fans will wonder how this will affect the band and when can we expect to hear new material from Evans Blue?
Dan Chandler- A lot of people are naturally going to have that question. As far as Evans Blue is right now, a couple of the guys are having kids. Our guitarist Parker just had a baby girl last week, so he’s enjoying the down time spending it with his family. Vlad is about to have a baby, so the time is actually just spot on. As far having some down time for those guys, at least it has a purpose for them as well. Fight or Flight right now is the main priority, it’s the focus, it’s not something temporary. At least the goal is to live this thing through and see it to the fullest. Evans Blue will be back, it will come when it’s time. I’m still in the band, everybody’s happy, everyone gets along, it’s definitely an agreement.
Crypticrock.com- Cool, it’s great to see you branch out and do something different. Fight or Flight is comprised of members of Disturbed, Ra, and yourself from Evans Blue. Three well established bands. Tell me briefly what it was like writing music together?
Dan Chandler- You know it actually was mostly Dan and I at first, because at the very beginning it was a matter of tossing song ideas around and reaching out. You get a different chemistry when you have different players obviously. It kind of brings something new out in you and it’s a new feeling again, it’s exciting. Pretty much every song was written before we grabbed everybody else. We really didn’t know the chemistry between all the members until we got into rehearsal and started jamming. That was very important to us that obviously everybody gets along, everybody is a good player, everybody has the same goals and the same intentions. We all pretty much live and breathe music, it turned out to be a great fit. The chemistry in the room when we jam is definitely there.
Crypticrock.com- I am sure that is always very important. You have to have the right chemistry to make the music you want to make. The debut album by Fight of Flight Life By Design? is out July 23rd. What can fans expect of it?
Dan Chandler- I think it’s a mix of a lot of meaningful songs. With Evans Blue it’s definitely a feel, obviously Disturbed it’s a different feel. This is a brand new thing, so I think it gets us all excited. We have our own passion for what we do. We do it for ourselves ultimately I believe, at least I know I do. The fans have always been so supportive to us branching out and doing new things. I think it’s a solid rock album, it’s not chaotic, it’s not too far from what our fans are used to, but it’s definitely a new project. It’s a different sound and it’s pretty solid man, we’re proud of it.
Crypticrock.com- I think that many people will be pleased with the album. I really enjoyed it, it’s really solid. What you said the fans they support it which is cool. I imagine you’re going to get a mix of different fans, because you have disturbed fans and Evans Blue fans. Evans Blue fans may have never listened to Disturbed and vice versa. People will check out both bands in the end, so it’s all a great thing.
Dan Chandler- Yea man, it comes with the territory too. People have expectations when they hear a band branch out, and it’s not the same or maybe they expect it to be the same as where they came from and we change it up on them. The truth is it’s different people , it’s different chemistry, it’s different writing, it’s a different style we still love. I think it’s going to work out.
Crypticrock.com- I agree I think it’s going to work out as well. The first single “First Of The Last” you made a music video for. Tell me what the main concept behind the video is?
Dan Chandler- The bottom-line is all about the conspiracy theories that go around and have been around. You may or may not have heard of a few of them. We tried to incorporate a lot, just to kind of raise the awareness. It’s not about convincing someone of our opinion of something. Saying you need to believe this or government is against you, it’s not about that. It’s just simply asking questions to get the truth, instead of just believing everything your told. If you’re aware of everything going on and you ask questions then you probably can form your opinion opposed to having someone just shoving it down your throat and say this is what’s happening. Basically the video is just open your eyes and give a different opinion to see what’s going on out there and ask some questions and be aware.
Crypticrock.com- I actually have seen the video and I think it’s very good. It’s very interesting and very refreshing to see a music video now a days that go hand in hand with the song. Because sometimes you will see a music video and say what the hell does this have to do with the song?
Dan Chandler- Yea (laugh). That is something that was important to us. Definitely making it to where the fans can understand what the lyrics are saying or where the song is coming from. Like you said you can go in many different directions. You can just make a cool video and a lot of times you don’t know what the lyrics are saying unless it’s completely put on the table for you or hand fed. I think the video helps out the song a lot and gives people an explanation.
Crypticrock.com- I want to ask you briefly what are some of your musical influences?
Dan Chandler- Wow believe it out not I grew up listening to country music because that was what was fed to me as well. My parents and friends and everybody around me listened to country. Not a lot of my really close friends are musical people, they are not necessarily in bands or play instruments. It was kind of strange that I fell into that direction on my own. As soon as I started playing guitar and started really digging into music as an artist it was Incubus, early Incubus, like Enjoy or Science. That’s probably one of my favorite all time, Make Yourself by them. Rage against the Machine, Tool, you name it man it went all the way to Matchbox Twenty if you really want to go in that direction. I really liked to hear passion in a lot of these guys vocals, and truth. Even as simple as it maybe of a song sometimes it’s just believable, when somebody really makes me believe it or opens my to eyes a whole new thing. Those are the influences that I found, and it didn’t matter what genre usually, it just mattered who was believable, and those stood out to me.
Crypticrock.com- Right because in music you want it to be sincere and like you said it has to be believable. About Evans Blue you joined the band back in 2009, what was that like for you? You came into a band that was already two albums deep and almost re-establishing themselves with you. I personally think you have done a phenomenal job and really enjoy the two records you’ve done with them.
Dan Chandler- Thank you so much. It’s definitely everything you’d expect and then some. For me it was almost if you can envision seeing a door way, and you know what’s behind that door, but you don’t want to open it because it’s not going to be any good. For me it was, ok , I’m joining a band that has a nice size fan base. There is going to be people that are completely upset that their favorite singer is gone and this new guy comes in. The thing about it that I always reminded myself was look I’m not new to this either. I’ve been playing my whole life. I’ve sacrificed and put everything toward this, so I’m not just a guy off the street. I’ve paid a lot of dues and I’m going to bring what I have to offer in. I stuck with that and as many times as everybody says well it’s not the same, it’s just different. That was my whole purpose really, I said I know if I was to come out trying to be somebody else that wouldn’t make sense to me and I won’t have any integrity. For me it was I’ll fight this battle, I know there was going to be people who are against the idea, or automatically not like me, or just upset and I completely understood it. I wanted to let them know every time they said it’s not the same, I wanted to tell them you’re absolutely right it’s not the same, and it’s not going to be the same. It was a fight at first just to try to win fans over. I think that once they got settled with the idea that there is a new guy and ok, now it’s not about the guy, it’s about the music.
Once they started listening to music and I got more familiar with the guys, literally, the first record I did with them was before I even met them. I was writing songs back and forth with those guys before I was even in a room with them. To find the style and the chemistry, it was very fast and very different. When we went into the second record I believe it stands out, and it’s a completely different record then the first one I did with them. You can see the comfort level. I was there, and the fans were definitely behind it this time. They were the first time too, I’m very very lucky that they stood by us, a lot of them did. A lot of them I had to just work a little bit harder, you know (laughs). In the long run it turned out to be very successful, so I was very happy with it. It was a battle and I thought about that with this project as well. Two guys coming from a very established band with a huge fan base. What’s the music going to be like and are they going to expect the same? The truth is I’m not the same singer and it is a different band. I think it takes people a minute to digest that idea and that fact so when they hear things it catches them off guard. Especially like the first thing, can the first single represent the whole record? I don’t think so. I think that once they get the whole record in their hands, they will understand the sound. As soon as they understand the sound and they’re happy with it, we’ll put out a another record that is completely different and catch them off guard again (laughs). This new project has been outstanding.
Crypticrock.com- Like I said I heard the album and it’s really good. I think it’s going to really work well for you guys. My last question for you is regarding films. Crypticrock.com is a rock/metal and horror news site so we like to focus on all genres. Are you a fan of horror films and if so what are some of your favorite horror films?
Dan Chandler- Wow, the first one that immediately pops into my head is The Exorcist. That was awesome, I remember watching that as a kid and I remember wanting to wait a long time before I saw it again (laughs). That one was outstanding and frightened the hell out of me. The Jason movies I loved, man your catching me off guard, there is a ton of them. I’m a fan of them, your just catching me for a loop. The Exorcist stands out like crazy.
Fight Or Flight will be on tour all summer.
Dates are as follow:
Jul 16 La Crosse Center Arena La Crosse, WI *
Jul 27 Piere’s Fort Wayne, IN
Jul 28 Pop’s Sauget, IL
Jul 31 Main Street Toledo, OH s
Aug 02 Chameleon Club Lancaster, PA
Aug 03 Grammercy New York, NY
Aug 04 The F Shed at the Market Syracuse, NY *
Aug 06 The Tralf Buffalo, NY
Aug 07 Altar Bar Pittsburgh, PA
Aug 17 Alliant Energy Center Memorial Coliseum Madison, WI **