CODA is four piece band from Koblenz, Germany, that was founded in 2018 and in June 2019 already manifested their musical ripeness by promoting their first single, “Death’s-Head Hawkmoths“ followed by their full debut album, “Deathbloom“, launched in July the 5th, 2019.
Just like the musical term, coda, which represents a passage that brings a piece or a movement to an end, CODA “breaks down old structures and barriers of metalcore and gives them a new countenance“, thus bringing Post Metalcore a sense of renewal: modern metalcore.
The credits for the band photos go to Emili Barromeu Dos Santos Isabel (Studio157) and to Henry Tornow for the coverart of “Deathbloom“.
As always, a huge *Thank You* to the band for their time, openness and availability!
MAtW – Greetings and thank you for taking the time to talk to MAtW. It’s a pleasure to be able to run this interview! How are things going for CODA?
Chris: Hi Ioana, thanks for having us! Apart from not being able to play shows due to the pandemic restrictions, things are going quite well. We’ve just been to the studio to record some new stuff and now we’re planning to shoot a music video in a couple months!
MAtW – For newer fans, please introduce each member of CODA
Chris: Hi, my name is Chris, I’m 25 years old, I’m currently doing my Bachelor of Education in English and Philosophy and I do the lyricism, singing and shouting in Coda.
Sebastian: I am Sebastian, 28 years old. I’m the all fresh member and very happy the guys asked me to join on drums. Working as a structural engineer, metal and shit is my daily business.
Martin: I’m the old bag in Coda (31), Martin, currently doing my master craftsman training and I play bass.
David: Hi, David, audio engineer from Koblenz, 30 years old. I do the songwriting and everything that goes hand in hand with that.
MAtW – What is the history behind the band?
Chris: It started out in 2017 shortly after David’s former band split up. Back then the two of us were both supposed to join another band from our local scene which had quite a name back then and was planning their comeback, but they weren’t quite as motivated as they initially thought they would be. So David and I ended up being the ones writing songs, while the other members decided to call it quits after a couple months. But we really liked working together and still wanted to make music and so we decided to establish our own band, which was then completed by Martin and our former drummer Robin.
Unfortunately, Robin decided that he didn’t have the time to play in a band anymore a couple months ago, so we had to part ways with him. But we found a more than worthy successor in Sebastian, who has also been a long-time friend of the band. His other band, Fortune Drives To Vegas, was the band which made our first show back in 2018 possible; also David and I have been live fill-ins for them a couple times in the past, so we’re not new to sharing a stage with each other.
MAtW – How does it feel to have an album released?
Chris: I especially remember the feeling right after we finished recording the album. I was super proud and it felt really exciting to have this piece of music up your sleeve which was yet to be released to the public. I was so stoked to know how people would react to it! And I’m still super grateful for anyone telling us that they like the record.
The release day was kinda surreal for me though. It was something I had been dreaming of for a long time and back then I couldn’t quite realize that it had finally happened. To be completely honest though – we actually thought that “Deathbloom“ would take us a bit further than it did. But I still think that we accomplished some really cool stuff with the record. It gave us a chance to collaborate with people from all over the world, helped us find new friends, we played some amazing shows before and after the release and we all had a really fun time writing on it and I’m forever grateful for that!
MAtW – How was the “Deathbloom“ name decided on?
Chris: I came up with that word when we were deciding on the band’s name. It was in the closer selection but then eventually lost to the name Coda; one reason for that being that David thought it would suit better as a name for a record. Back then the song “Deathbloom“ didn’t even exist and I actually wanted to call the record “The Woods“. But after I wrote the lyrics to the song which became “Deathbloom“, it was clear that this was a more mysterious and eery sounding and therefore better name for the record.
MAtW – What are some technical details regarding the album?
David: On the instrumental side, I wrote “Deathbloom“ completely in Guitar Pro 7 and then transferred it to my DAW Logic Pro X. This is because I usually collect some ideas with my guitar – an 8-string Jackson – beforehand and then write them down. Guitar Pro is just the best option for that. Synths, drums and bass are then added via Logic. Especially the synths were usually written after I did the riffing, but that’s a little different with our current songwriting. Here we are trying to break old habits, even though they were working fine, to re-invent ourselves and tear down the genre boarders (especially mine) in our heads.
MAtW – Who handled the graphic art? How are responsibilities shared?
Chris: The cover art was shot by our super talented friend Henry Tornow, check out his photography on Instagram (@henryxtornow)! The model is one of my best friends and the headpiece she’s wearing was made by me and my cousin. I love that picture so much! I feel like it perfectly represents the vibes we wanted the album to have. I had the idea for it very early in the writing process and I’m super glad it turned out the way it did.
MAtW – What piece of advice would you give bands who are at beginning of their musical road?
Chris: When it comes to writing and releasing music, take your time to create something that makes you happy but don’t lose focus and don’t push things back for too long. Have a goal, like an EP, an album or even just a single; and work towards that. Maybe even set yourself some realistic deadlines. Also, don’t be stingy when it comes to recording your music. I know that making music is one of the most expensive hobbies ever and going to a studio might really hurt your wallet, but what’s even more painful is having music out which you wrote with all your heart but nobody listens to because the audio quality sucks. And also – something we really been sleeping on with the release of “Deathbloom“ – do as much promo as you can.
MAtW – Was your musical direction a result of your combined tastes or was it agreed on?
David: Since I wrote all the instrumentals for “Deathbloom“, the musical direction was mostly defined by me. But when we started the band, we discussed the musical approach we wanna take and it was clear, that we wanted to drive the Metalcore lane. Just a bit more punchy than usual.
MAtW – Was music always part of your lives or was later focused on? what was the spark that made you start a band?
Chris: I always had an affection towards music but I think what turned me into somewhat of a music nerd was discovering those legendary bands like Slipknot, System of a Down, Guns n Roses or Billy Talent when I was like 12 years old. Back then I started to play guitar and actually wanted to be a guitarist. But then later on, when I was like 15, I became obsessed with bands like Bring Me The Horizon, We Butter The Bread With Butter or Architects; mostly because the singers of those bands created sounds which I had never heard before. And I think that was what made me wanna be a singer, I wanted to be able to do this exciting, new stuff myself. But yeah, being a musician has always been a childhood dream!
MAtW – Are there any other musical projects that you are part of?
Chris: I wouldn’t really call it a side project for now but earlier this year I released a trap metal song under the name Rex¥ on Soundcloud and I don’t think it’s gonna be the last one!
Sebastian: Awesome! Didn’t know you actually released it! Since 2010 I’m on the road with Fortune Drives To Vegas and I hope we’ll be back in good condition after this hard time. We have been through a lot, seen each other break down, get up again, found friends, let some go and still love each other. This year also gives the chances to develop ourselves, so without having the chance of rehearsing regularly, I played guitar more, worked on my music theory skills, challenged myself with songwriting and producing amateurishly 😀 So I formed another project with friends, that sounds more like maybe modern pop… rock…indie…stuff, who needs a genre. Conveniently we’re sharing the rehearsal room with Coda. I also played in a worship band for15 years but quit last year. Maybe if they call me up again I’ll be there to hit hard for one gig!
MAtW – What about non-musical hobbies?
Chris: I do a lot of reading, gaming, watching movies, hiking, and I do all that with a passion – but then again, I do these things mostly to gain new input for writing lyrics. Oh, and I have a flaming passion for everything concerning dinosaurs hahah.
Sebastian: I love being outside, hiking and bouldering, everything that takes me away from screen. Also, I love to teach myself new stuff such as playing guitar/bass or building drums; currently I’m building a new guitar with Thomas from Fortune Drives To Vegas.
David: No, I wouldn’t consider anything else I do a hobby actually! 😀 Just the usual stuff, like meeting friends and having nice conversations in bars. But unfortunately, due to the current situation, the last time has been a while! 🙁
MAtW – Is every idea taken into consideration when writing music? How is music usually written in CODA?
Chris: On “Deathbloom“, David wrote all the instrumentals on his own and I only wrote the lyrics. But for our upcoming stuff we found this new way of working, where David and I meet to write something together while I mostly try to give some creative input. Once the foundation of the song has come together, Sebastian adds his own drum tabs. That way we managed to find a way of combining our musical preferences and I think the outcome is outstanding! I still love “Deathbloom“ but I think our new material is really different and way more weird and interesting.
MAtW – How much freedom is there style wise? Are there any influences you would never incorporate?
Chris: I guess on “Deathbloom“ we were really looking up to our Metal – especially Metalcore – idols and I don’t think there’s much of influences from other genres in there. But just to list a few influences on the new songs we wrote, we got Industrial, Synthwave, Nu-Metal, Trap, Rap, Techno and Pop influences up to now – so no, right now I don’t think that we would set any boundaries to our songwriting hahah!
MAtW – Is there room for egos in a band?
Chris: Not gonna lie, we fight sometimes when it comes to writing and presenting our music because we all have quite strong characters and sometimes really different approaches to art I guess. But at the end of the day you gotta think about what’s best for a song or even the whole band and sometimes you just need to make compromises with your own taste – even though it can be really hard. But I also actually think an ego can be quite healthy for a musician or just artists in general, because it can give you the courage to do outstanding things even though people might say it would suck.
MAtW – What makes you best at the instrument you play?
Chris: Practice and taking good care of my voice.
Sebastian: My strengths are improvisation, nonverbal communication with the band and incorporating the mood of a song in the drums.
David: I’ve been playing guitar for suuuch a long time. I guess what gets you good at it, is the regularity over the years. I’m not on the level I’d like to be yet, but I also haven’t felt the need to really hang myself into practicing in terms of virtuosity (solos, etc.) up to now. Solos never really were my thing, except for my teenage years, when I was listening to bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden! 😀 For me, the emotional peak of a song is not the solo but rather a refrain enhancement, a fancy bridge, or, classically, a huge breakdown.
MAtW – What was the biggest challenge and also best experience so far?
Chris: Sometimes we have songs where it’s quite hard for me to find the coolest way of singing over them, that can be really challenging and sometimes even frustrating. One example for that was our single Death’s-Head Hawkmoths. At some point we were very close to kicking the song off the record because I just couldn’t come up with cool vocal arrangements. But then I sat down with the song a couple more times and eventually found a new way of arranging my lyrics, which then made it our favourite song on the record! The feeling you get when you crack through that barrier is one of the most rewarding experiences as a singer for me.
MAtW – What still keeps you going? How do you get motivated?
Chris: I guess for me the main motivation is just that I love writing and recording music. Also, I like to think about ways in which I can give the listener something they wouldn’t expect. Plus, I REALLY wanna play huge festivals someday and meet all my idols hahah!
Sebastian: I love playing live gigs, the energy of any live concert keeps me going making music. Without this I don’t know if I’d may rather go hiking instead.
David: I love music. No matter what’s going on in my life, music is always there and making your own music is the best balm for the soul and the superlative of all feelings of joy.
MAtW – Are music genre tags adequate or limiting an artist’s vision?
Chris: I feel like more important than to think about which genre you wanna serve is to think of an aesthetic and a vibe you wanna convey. To me, a Hip Hop song can hit just as hard as a Metalcore song for example; it’s just a question of how you embody it. I think as soon as you reject an idea because “it’s not metal” or whatever, you just run into danger of sounding generic. I really like the idea of post-genre music; best examples for that would probably be new Bring Me, Ghostemane or Poppy. The metal scene tends to be very elitist when it comes to genres and I really hate that, because I think that is why metal is losing popularity.
MAtW – When writing songs do you tend to not listen to anything or on the contrary expose yourself to any bands and styles?
Chris: I guess it’s a mixture of both. We get ideas from things that we think are exciting and then try to put them into a context which fits Coda.
David: If you listen to as much music as Chris and me, you cannot NOT get inspired. Sometimes you write a song and go like “Damn, that sounds banging“; next moment you go “Wait, don’t I know this?” and voila – you subconsciously copied a song you love! That happens to me on a regular basis, those ideas go to the bin then. But in general, I like to get influenced by other artists, especially those from whole different genres. I feel like this is the way how music evolves in general, especially nowadays where everyone has access to every song in the world.
MAtW – What do you consider cliché in music and image?
Chris: I can’t stand another band trying to sound like Architects. To be fair, Sam Carter is one of my absolute idols when it comes to vocals and some of our music on “Deathbloom“ is obviously very influenced by Architects – but we wrote some of these songs back in 2017 and there are still so many bands right now trying to copy them in 2020 that it’s just become super generic to me. Not even Architects are doing those riffs anymore, move on lads hahah!
David: I think it’s fun to play with clichés! Lots of people tend to think inside them, no matter the subject. And I think especially in the metal scene, there is a huge urge to defend the things people are used to. But if you mix clichés with “the metal people are used to”, some people might just tend to become more open towards new things. I can see a positive trend there!
MAtW – Do you think success would change you?
Chris: Not sure! On a personal level, I guess it would definitely make me a happier person. On the musical side, I don’t know. I like the idea of just writing whatever you feel like and not what fans want to hear, but I could also always understand bands who changed their sound a bit so they could play huge arenas and make a living out of their music. We’ll see what the future holds but for now we just like to write heavy stuff, so that’s what we do.
MAtW – What are your current plans?
Chris: We’re currently writing album number 2 and I think it’s gonna be quite a ride!
Sebastian: We are also working on some visuals for (hopefully) upcoming concerts, but we do not want to reveal details yet.
MAtW – Time for the last question, the Random Question. What would you like to uninvent and what consequences would that bring?
Chris: All discriminating social constructs so everyone could just do the shit they love.
Sebastian: The measurement of time makes us believe that things have to get done quickly and less time for the same product results in more profit, hence manufactures have become industries. Maybe there wouldn’t be combustion engines today. But naaah, I would uninvent beetroot. I don’t like beetroot.
MAtW – Thank you for taking the time to do this, it was really nice meeting you. In case there is anything else you would like to cover and a message for your fans, please do so!
Chris: Thanks for reading, check out our album “Deathbloom“ and stay tuned for our upcoming music, it won’t be long!