'It was really crazed but really rewarding,' singer says of upcoming music and film projects.
With its Amory Wars saga headed to the big screen and the latest chapter in the saga ("The Afterman: Ascension") due out next month, these are exciting times for Claudio Sanchez and his bandmates and Coheed and Cambria.
"Just completing 'The Afterman' was a lot of work; it was really crazed but really rewarding," Sanchez, who recently signed a deal with Mark Wahlberg's Leverage Productions company, tells Billboard.com. "And the announcement with Leverage was certainly a dream of mine to push any of the titles I've created into a feature film of sorts. To have that happening at the same time is really great."
Sanchez and company created a two-parter with "The Afterman." The nine-track "Ascension" comes out on Oct. 9, while "The Afterman: Descension" is due out in February. "Even two years ago, after 'Year of the Black Rainbow,' we were talking about a two-part album," Sanchez says. "My struggle with making it a double album is I set the bar sort of high; when I think of a double album, I think of 'The Wall.' I always kind of second-guess myself going through this process; are we making a double album because we're making a statement or because we just have too much material and no we're going for quantity over quality. That's how I feel about a lot of double albums. So ('The Afterman') makes sense as a double and could be experienced as one continuous piece, but it can be perceived as two singles as well, and ('Ascension') is posed as this sonic cliffhanger."
For the Deluxe Edition of "The Ascension," however, Coheed and Cambria is giving fans the lyrics to "The Descension's" songs as well as a summary of what inspired the tracks and how they fit in the larger story. "They'll have all that material before they listen to the music, so it will allow them to utilize their imagination and think about what these songs are doing to be, which will make it interesting once they get to hear ('The Descension')." The deluxe edition also comes with a hardcover art book containing "The Afterman" story by Sanchez and Peter David, while the band hired director Robert Schober to film a 90-second, black and white film noir trailer for "The Afterman: Ascension" that's on the band's web site.
The group-financed "The Afterman" albums also feature some reunions with in the Coheed and Cambria camp. The group returned to co-producers Michael Birnbauma and Chris Bittner, who produced the first three Coheed and Cambria albums, and they mark the return of drummer Josh Eppard, who was with the group from 2000-2006 and returned in November to replace his replacement, Chris Pennie.
"There was something unexplainable about the grooves of the songs that -- with no discredit to Chris, who's an amazing drummer -- just didn't feel like we were punctuating the message of the lyrics in the right way," Sanchez explains. He says bringing back Eppard, who was working with Terrible Things," "was something we had kind of thought about for awhile...It just fit. It was kind of instantaneous, like 'This is what we need. This is the feel that the songs need.' And, of course, with Josh we grew up together in this band. We missed him, to be completely honest. It just felt right."
After touring during August with Iron Maiden and playing the Reading and Leeds festivals in the U.K., Coheed and Cambria starts a short North American tour on Sept. 13 in Kingston, N.Y., and heads to Europe in late October; Sanchez says the shows will include one song, "The Defiance," from "The Afterman: The Descension." More dates are expected to be announced soon.
As for the film deal, Sanchez says, "We're really just at the beginning of the relationship between myself and Leverage. I think what we've been trying to do is find actors and directors that are interested in the material, who are maybe fans of the material, to see if there's any interest in getting involved. So we're just really starting from the ground and working our way up. We're still in the initial stages."