Interview: Tom Barber Of Chelsea Grin

Written by Steve Jenkins

This June will see two of the finest bands in the international heavy music scene come together for a string of must-see shows. All the way from the United States, Born Of Osiris and Chelsea Grin, will be gracing our Australian shore with unrelenting heaviness. Tagging along for the tour will also be homegrown metalcore rising stars, Diamond Construct. We had the opportunity to speak with vocalist of Chelsea Grin, Tom Barber, as we spoke about his first time coming to Australia, how it's been since joining the band last year and plenty more. This is a must see tour for all heavy fans!

Hey Tom, how are you going man?

Good thanks, how are you doin' man?

Yeah not too bad thanks. So what are you doing today? What are you up to at the moment? I’m currently on tour currently and it’s the second last day and right now I am walking across the street to go get shaved ice with my sound guy Tyler. Oh yeah nice! It’s a bit too cold here to be eating ice. What day do you get into Australia next week? Um, I don’t know the exact date, Tyler what day are we getting to Australia? The 20th, thank god for friends who know what the hell is going on (laughs). Oh so you’re getting in on the first day of tour at the Gold Coast? Yeah we’re getting there bright and early I'm pretty sure. Do you plan on doing much when you’re in Australia when you're not performing? Oh yeah dude, I’m hoping to pet some koalas and surf, that would be sick! Yeah for sure man! Even though you’ve only recently come into the band, the last time I saw Chelsea Grin was at Soundwave in 2013. What do you think the new Chelsea Grin will bring that the old CG didn’t? I think it’s going to be way heavier, I think it’s going to be a lot more metal and I feel there’s going to be a lot more emotion added to the music for sure. Yeah man, I mean "Eternal Nightmare" was a pretty big statement in which way the new Chelsea Grin is heading. Oh yeah it was definitely, with every release I hope we grow and mature. I hope that you know, the timing of the music will be something maybe different, maybe the same who knows what’s going to happen? But I hope it grows and grows for the better.

What would you say to those who are inspired by you and what you do and are wanting to start their own band?

Well, I would say that you can draw inspiration from all things. I wouldn’t draw inspiration from success because everybody has their own idea of success and what makes them successful. But I’d have to say that if music is your passion, find like-headed people that love music as much as you do and you know, do it for fun. With time, things grow into a business if they’re successful enough. People tend to look at success and draw from success and don’t realise the band that you’re looking at has been doing that shit for 7+ years and you’re just getting into it and you think, you know, you get a little bummed out when you’ve been doing it for a couple months and your bands not signed, and really, your band doesn’t need to be signed as long as you can conduct yourself as a business, you know, you don’t need a label but realistically you need a manager to manage and get you guys opportunities to shows and stuff like that. It’s somebody that wants to be a part of your success but has something that they offer to the table so you just gotta realise that all things come with underlying statements. Truly that's what it comes down to, but just do it for the love of the music and not for the fame because if you’re doing it for the fame then you’ll realise that the fame isn’t what makes things awesome, it's the road on the way. The journey to the top is the best and you know, those are the memories that you’re gonna remember if and when you get to the top and you’ll have them to look back on. Yeah man, I definitely agree with you on all of that. Cheers for sharing your insight for all of your fans. Hell yeah, hell yeah man, no worries. I also am aware that you are a vegan, for anyone that would be reading this, what would be some of your favourite dishes that you would recommend people should try? Realistically, I would just urge people to try to just eat more raw fruit and vegetables. Because your body produces a certain amount of enzymes and, you know, when you eat cooked food it depletes the enzymes. Your body is just so used to eating cooked food all the time because it’s programmed to be eating all the time and people are taught crazy loop holes on what they think life is but really it’s not. Well you know we’re completely different creatures than what are governments have lead us to believe you know, we’re not nine to five creatures, we don’t do that shit. Yeah we like to be busy and working and tinkering and shit like that but you know, we have been, bro, from our food to our law, to how we think life should be. We’ve been all been fucking programmed man. People who speak out about it get fucking smothered out. Definitely some strong views there. A lot of bands these days that I listen to anyway are trying to portray a similar image through their lyrics. Yeah man, it all happens slow and surely. I have a fun fact for you anyway, there was a man from Western Australia in the 1970's who was actually named Tom Barber as well, and he actually helped end whaling in Australia. No way really!? Yeah bro. That's actually pretty fucking cool man. Yeah man, he was known as Two Harpoon Tom because he had two harpoons launched at him during an anti-whaling campaign. Dude that’s honestly so, like bad-ass to think about. I’m all about people trying to create change. That’s cool as fuck thanks for sharing that. I feel even more powerful! No worries man. Could you pin point a favourite gig of yours that you’ve played? Probably in Wiesbaden, Germany. Craziest fucking place. I don’t know how many people, all I know is that. Actually, I take that back. Craziest show I’ve ever played was during Warped Tour and, uh oh dude I forget where the fuck it was but there were so many fucking people, like I literally was like, “I wish my parents could be here to see this”. It was massive. Obviously not like a million people, but it felt like a million. It sounds amazing man, would’ve been incredible. What was the process of having our very own local band Diamond Construct on your tour? Um, well I didn’t have much to do with that but all I know is I am very keen to see them live. Yeah dude, they’re great live. I’ve seen them a couple of times and they kill it. I’m coming to the Brisbane show actually so it’s going to be a sick night. Well that’s exciting! I’m excited to play every show on tour. I’ve never been to Australia. I’m so keen. You ever been to the States? Nah I haven’t actually. Good. Don’t ever come here, you’ll hate it (laughs). (Laughs) How do American festivals compare to European festivals? I know a lot of Australian bands can go over to Europe and pull bigger crowds than they do here. Is that the same with you?

I feel like American shows are a lot of t-shirt sales and familiar faces in the crowd and I feel like European shows are just people going to have a fucking blast you know what I mean? Everyone just loses their god damn mind in Europe. Everyone is just so crazy and has a good time. Yeah that sounds about right. I think they’re just crazy for metal and just love it a lot more than every other country. Oh yeah definitely man. Oh well, I think that’s about all the time we have unfortunately. Oh damn, this was fun, did you see any of the new E3 games that are coming? Yeah man I’m heaps keen for Cyberpunk 77 & Modern Warfare. Yes! They look sick as fuck bro. I’m very excited to play Cyberpunk. Me too man! Enjoy the rest of your day and I’ll catch you guys next week here in Australia. No worries man. See you soon.

Tickets are on-sale now via

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