Coheed and Cambria @ Download Festival 2010

Download Festival 2010 was an important festival date for Coheed and Cambria, not least because it was one of their first backing an album that, after issues with contracts and a stint in rehab, all current members had made together.

New album ‘Year Of The Black Rainbow’ and the accompanying novel, also mark the end of The Armory Wars, the story of Coheed and Cambria for whom the band is named. Ruth Booth spoke to frontman Claudio Sanchez about playing with their renewed line-up and the future of the band.   

You've always struck me as a great storyteller, so what makes a great story for you?

Claudio Sanchez: "Well, me being in science fiction, something that would certainly translate and relate to reality I guess. Something that kind of echoes a universal theme, and a question that anyone can ask themselves, and hope to answer with personal gain and growth."

You've always been a band with a great deal of emphasis on the experience and ambience live. How do you approach playing a festival, where you're a lot more restricted in that sense?
CS: "We just try to do what we do, and try to treat it as any other show. We try to keep it as comfortable as possible, because again it isn't our show; it's a celebration of the music. You just try to be as comfortable as possible and hope that you may gain some new fans, 'cause that's really what this is kind of for."

Does it feel different now that you're playing live an album that [drummer] Chris Pennie has contributed to? Obviously he's been in the band a while, but contracts kept him from participating in your previous album.
CS: "Yeah, it feels really good actually, and different because when the band was falling apart, it didn't feel so good to be a part of being in it. Now with the history behind us, and Chris into the fold, and Mike better" [Michael Todd had left the band in 2006 to enter rehab for a heroin addiction, while former drummer Josh Eppard left for personal reasons] "it just feels refreshing and exciting. It's new, in a way, and to be able to have Chris on the album, and now touring as a full fledged member of the band, it feels great, without a doubt."

What was it about ‘Year Of The Black Rainbow’ that made you want to connect it to a comic rather than a novel this time round?
CS: "Well, one of the things I've wanted to do is adapt the pre-existing comics into standard prose novels, and this being the first story, essentially, the origins of the characters Coheed and Cambria, I thought it'd be nice to just start in that medium. In terms of novels, the story will come out and unfold in chronological form, as opposed to the comics, which are kind of mismatched and out of sequence."

Do you regret doing the comics?

CS: "Oh no. Not at all, I don't regret doing the comics at all. I'm actually doing the story of In Keeping Secrets… right now. I love comics. I love literature in general and any form of it, but comics, that was my first introduction to reading as a kid, so I just enjoy it."

Now that the story of Coheed and Cambria has been completed, a lot of people are going to be asking what happens with the band now.
CS: "Well, it's funny, 'cause we've been getting that the band's going to break up, or we're gonna you know do albums without concepts. We'll see. It's tough to say at the moment, I mean I've been working out some ideas for the future, maybe…" [Pauses] "but we'll continue, figure it out."

I was just wondering whether we'd have to wait until that final counter on your official website ticked down.

CS: [Laughs] "No, it might happen before then. We'll see."