In the spotlight – CHESTER DOOM

In the spotlight – CHESTER DOOM

In the spotlight – CHESTER DOOM is a rock and roll juggernaut hailing from the rocky shores of Atlantic Canada. The band is fronted by powerhouse vocalist Josh Best, who can switch effortlessly between soulful ballads and face-melting anthems. He’s backed up by the riff-tastic duo of rhythm guitarist Patrick Blackie and lead guitarist Kellan Menhennett, who never fail to get the crowd jumping. Keyboardist Dave Mackenzie adds an extra layer of sonic texture, while the rhythm section of brothers Glenn Arseneau on bass and Peter Arseneau on drums keep the beat pounding.

Tell us a bit about the band. Where are you from and how did you all meet?

“As a band, we’re based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada). Glenn, Patrick and Dave were college friends. Glenn and Josh worked together for years and became friends. Glenn and Peter are brothers and Kellan was in several bands with Peter. So we never really “met” as much as, when Glenn, Patrick and Josh started writing songs together in 2020 as something to do during the pandemic lockdowns, we knew who to call on immediately once we saw the chemistry.”

Are any of you involved in other music projects?   

“Peter and Kellan are in a cover band and Dave does some electronic stuff, but this is the main band for all of us.”

What’s the origin of the band name?

“The name CHESTER DOOM came from a sci-fi story that our rhythm guitarist, Patrick, wrote years ago. We were drawn to its unique and mysterious sound. Plus, being a made-up name made it easier for people to find us online and distinguish us from other bands. It has become a symbol of our distinct sound and style.”

Which bands and music do you count to your influences and how would you describe your music?

“Our influences span a wide range of rock music, from the classic sounds of Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, and Lynyrd Skynyrd, to the grunge and alternative rock of the 90s, like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. We also draw inspiration from more recenticons such as Tool and Linkin Park. This diverse range of influences is reflected in our music, which combines elements of classic rock, grunge, and modern rock to create our unique sound.”

When fans recommend your music to others, what song do you hope they choose first?

“Honestly whichever song speaks to them the most! Many people get into our music through our more popular songs like ‘Monsoon’, ‘Anxiety’ or ‘Not Far Behind’ but we also get lots of people saying one of our less well-known tracks is their favourite.”

What can you tell us about your songwriting process? How do you go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately? What is the first step in your music-making process?

“Our songwriting process is a collaborative effort infused with individual creativity. Patrick often brings in killer riffs and melodies, serving as a starting point for our collective exploration. We jam together, refining and expanding upon those initial ideas. Additionally, Josh, our vocalist, contributes acoustic pieces that we transform into full-band arrangements. It’s an organic process that allows us to leverage each member’s strengths and create something truly unique. The journey begins with capturing that initial spark of inspiration and letting it evolve naturally.”

Can you tell us a bit about your latest single ‘Not Far Behind’? I read it was influenced by the war in Ukraine. Can you explain the mindset you were in when you wrote this song?

“Josh lost his singing voice completely during a bout with Covid, and we were all a bit concerned (no one more than he was!) that it may never come back or, if it did, that his range and power would be limited. He kept telling us that he had written a new song but wasn’t able to sing it yet, so we were all anxious to hear what he’d come up with. Thankfully, a few weeks later his voice was back just as powerful as ever and we were all blown away by the song, which was ‘Not Far Behind’. The whole band immediately saw its potential and we really felt that it could be one of our biggest songs.”

Your previous single was a cover of ‘Everybody Knows’ by Leonard Cohen. What made you decide to cover this song and release it as a single?

“We chose to cover Leonard Cohen’s ‘Everybody Knows’ because it resonated with us on a profound level. The song’s introspective and thought-provoking lyrics aligned with our artistic vision. We wanted to pay homage to Cohen’s poetic genius while infusing our own rock sound into the track. It was a way for us to connect with the timeless themes of the song and put our own spin on it.”

Your EP ‘Crows Go Home’ came out today. What can you tell us about the EP? Is there anything you want people to have in mind when they listen to it for the first time?

“When we were working on ‘Crows Go Home,’ we wanted to delve into the core struggles that so many people face in their daily lives. Each song on the EP represents a different battle, whether it’s anxiety (‘Anxiety’), depression (‘Everybody Knows’), hopelessness (‘Not Far Behind’), or addiction (‘Pull the Trigger’). We poured our hearts and souls into these tracks, hoping to offer solace and understanding to those who might be going through similar experiences.”

You have quite a few music videos, is it important to you to put a visual element to any many of your songs as possible?

“Visuals play a significant role in our music. We believe in creating a complete sensory experience for our audience. Our music videos allow us to visually express the essence of our songs and bring them to life in a different dimension. It’s about capturing the mood, the energy, and the narrative of the music. The visual element enhances the overall impact and allows us to connect with our fans on multiple levels.”

When it comes to making music versus playing live, which part of the music process do you like the most?

“Both making music and playing live have their unique charms, but if we had to choose, the thrill of playing live takes the cake. There’s an indescribable energy that comes from performing in front of a live audience. The immediate feedback and connection with fans, the adrenaline rush, and the shared experience of music create an electrifying atmosphere that is hard to replicate.”

What’s the best thing about performing to an audience?

“The best thing about performing to an audience is the incredible energy exchange. It’s an electrifying feeling to see the crowd’s response, to witness the impact our music has on people. The connection we forge with the audience during a live performance is a powerful and rewarding experience. It’s the ultimate validation of our hard work and a reminder of why we love what we do.”

What are your touring plans this year? Any gigs you’re especially looking forward to?

“We’re stoked about our show plans this year! We have a bunch of exciting gigs and festivals lined up this summer and we can’t wait to hit the stage. Every show brings its own unique energy and vibe. The energy, the atmosphere, and the opportunity to connect with fans in different towns make the whole thing an exhilarating adventure.”

What are your goals as a band this coming year?

“As a band, our goals for the coming year are to continue honing our craft and reaching new heights. We want to keep pushing ourselves creatively, exploring new musical territories, and expanding our fan base. It’s about staying true to our sound while continuously evolving as artists. We’re eager to see our music reach more ears, connect with new audiences, and make a lasting impact.”

What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?

“Well, ‘Not Far Behind’ of course. There are tons of killer tracks on the list, but it’s hard to choose someone else’s baby over your own, you know?”

What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?

“We’d want to add ‘Pull the Trigger’ since it’s our new single.”

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(Photos by Stephen Ruxton.)


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