For Indianapolis, Indiana’s crusty, hell-raising warlords, Photian Schism, the concepts of thrashing your ass off and ripping up the pavement on two wheels go hand-in-hand. Featuring former members of Wasteland D.C., Year Of Desolation, and Summon The Destroyer, the band clearly has its crosshairs set on one general goal: to ride hard, live harder…and thrash harder than all. Forbidden Magazine recently caught up with ¾ of Photian Schism (vocalist Chris Durham, guitarist Josh Kappel and drummer Eric Biesiada), who shed some light on what keeps the war-ready machine rolling full-speed ahead.
First off, hails from all at Forbidden Magazine! For those not too familiar with Photian Schism, can you give a brief rundown of the how the band came to be and its conquests up to this point?
Josh Kappel: First, I’d like to say thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to let people know about our band! This is kind of the second incarnation of the band, Photian Schism. The first attempt was mostly experimental, melodic death metal. We had some really awesome and epic ideas, but we just kinda hung it up in the closet. Then after a couple years, Chris, Mike V, and I decided to reform. The three of us loved riding motorcycles and decided to put that influence into Photian Schism this time around. Then we called up Eric, who jammed a little in the first attempt, to come and bash some shit out with us.
On that note, if the band were to issue an official mission statement, what would it be?
Josh Kappel: Our official mission statement is…tough question! We’re here to have a good time, jam out with our friends and bring something a little different to the Indy music scene.
As evident on the Photian Schism facebook profile, the band clearly has a soft spot for motorcycles and a hell-raising, thrash-your-face-off approach. What are your thoughts on how the biker world meshes with the extreme side of music in general?
Chris Durham: The freedom of motorcycle riding is like the freedom of heavy music. Riding is another way of clearing your head of the harsh reality of the world. Just like being on stage, you forget about your troubles while on your bike. Its like another drug. We try to bring that influence into our sound.
As the band’s name is linked to the 9th century controversy between the factions of Eastern and Western Christianity, what was the exact inspiration behind the choosing of that moniker, and how does the world of religion influence the band, if at all?
Chris Durham: Basically, religion is and always has been conflicted within itself, the message is universal across most to all religions, yet the message is distorted among greed, and bigotry, it’s funny to think about how something that has to do with love and compassion can cause the most pain and suffering, So what went wrong? It’s people. People can’t handle unification, building up to something magnificent, we’re self destructive and stupid, and our only path is death. Also the conflict in the 9th century is one of the many examples of religion being nothing more than a greedy power trip to control people, and the fact that people can read and know that and still be religious just shows how dumb we really are…and we thought the name was cool.
In your eyes, how have the members’ past involvements with other Indianapolis bands shown through in what Photian Schism is doing now?
Josh Kappel: We’ve all learned a lot from our past experiences with other bands. You can’t help but to bring a little bit of those experiences in with your playing and writing. Chris and myself grew up in the punk and thrash scene, and eventually played in death metal band. So we figured for this band, we’d bring in our influences of metal into our punk roots.
Eric Biesiada: Too sum it up….we’ve all came from different backgrounds of music and varied styles that we were into. We’ve all played in various genres of music. I think for this band, the members fully understood the concept and nature of the the music. Its meaning; and own ‘entity’, if you will. We cater to the style of the music, rather than just selfishly mangle some music together. We write the music. But at the same time, it rather dictates itself to be written and arranged. In the end, we also sit back and listen and decide whether we think it is good music or not, as well.
What bands and/or musicians throughout history have become the most influential to the Photian Schism sound?
Josh Kappel: Yeah, we’ve got influences. We like bands and music and girls with boobs, haha! The list is long and painful!
Eric Biesiada: It’s hard to list any certain bands honestly. Because it’s changing for us all the time. To be more specific, we use a lot of different styles in the music. Swedish melodic death, traditional death, just melodic, black metal, crust, punk, Euro-metal, thrash, tech….a lot of stuff really. Just depends on what the song calls for. And we wanna make sure we can headbang to it!
Outside of the realm of music, what other aspects of life have been the most fruitful muse toward the band’s material to date?
Chris Durham: Our parents used to beat us mercilessly, and that’s what we write about. Still feel good about asking that question?! No..Just kidding, everyone on this damn planet hates themselves and what they have become, some find solace in sports, some find murdering or beating someone, some find drugs, we just deal with shit through music.
Eric Biesiada: We typically start with a couple of riffs or ideas and build around that. A feel, maybe? Then we try to ride that out. Sometimes it becomes a song. Sometimes not. I’d agree with Chris and say that things from life inspires us as well.
I’ve only been lucky enough to catch one Photian Schism set so far, that being the band’s first show. What are your thoughts on the band’s live performances up to this point?
Josh Kappel: Damn! You caught our first set! You’re the luckiest one so far! Haha! It took a bit of tweaking, but we’ve gotten a lot tighter since then.
Eric Biesiada: Things have obviously changed a little since the first show. I am the new member. Things are revamped with more groove, attack, and flow. I think we can all agree that we have became a well-oiled, running machine! We’ve gotten good as a solid performing unit. We can deliver the goods!
What event(s) would you say initially sparked your personal interest in the more aggressive side of music?
Chris Durham: Even when I was a kid, I listened to alternative and punk, I’ve always liked the heavy-sounding stuff in the quest of finding heavy music. It was kinda natural to progress toward the more aggressive sounding stuff.
Eric Biesiada: I can probably speak for the rest of the band and say; its fun! We feel it. We relate to it. Better than any other music out there. We listen to other stuff and more relaxed types too. But, I guess the best answer is that we feel it in our blood. We feel familiar to it, so to speak.
In a blood-drenched, post-apocalyptic war zone, what stance would Photian Schism take for survival and if necessary, victory over their enemies?
Chris Durham: How would we take victory over our enemies of the Apocalypse? Marauder!!!
The Indianapolis metal scene is absolutely full of devastating acts; what do you feel Photian Schism brings to the table when it comes to something new?
Josh Kappel: Man, there are a lot of good bands around here! I hate comparing ourselves with them, but we just do what we do, man.
Eric Biesiada: Basically, I think we take Josh’s initial concept of the music, and we all try to put our own little take or influence on it. That’s what kind of keeps our own genre style from being labeled. There are a lot of good bands here, in Indy. So, people should always come out and support! Support your local scene!
Are there any plans for a Photian Schism recording in the works for the near future?
Eric Biesiada: Nothing for sure. We’ve had discussions. Nothing official yet.
What else is on deck for Photian Schism for the rest of 2011?
Josh Kappel: Holy shit! It’s 2011! Man!! We’re due to win a Grammy sometime soon, or that Teenage Choice or whatever! Haha, fuck! We don’t really have much planned. We just take it one day at a time. Maybe get into a studio, record some shit. Play some more shows, write some shit and ride some damn motorcycles!
Well, that should just about do it! Thanks for your time, man! Any last words for the fan boys and groupies at large?
The Band: For all you groupies and fan boys, show us your cocks and your titties! And if you’re out there call us!!