Chris Chapman has devoted his life to a heavy lifestyle.
Chapman is the guitarist for metal band Assault On The Living, who have been performing using multiple subgenres of metal since 2011.
Over their five years as a band, Assault On The Living have shared the stage with bands like Nile, Whitechapel and The Acacia Strain, playing a variety of genres inside and outside of the Capital Region.
Chapman presented a solo workshop on metal this Friday at Hudson Valley’s Guitar Festival where students were taught how to perfect distortion, metal chords and achieving a metal tone.
Using his knowledge of music experience, Chapman hopes to bring with his metal workshops some diversity of music presented to Hudson Valley.
“People look and they’re like, ‘metal oh no,’ but It’s really not about that, it’s about being a musician and appreciating all the different aspects of being a musician and realizing that metal in a genre of music,” he said.
Two years ago, Chapman was invited to Hudson Valley’s Guitar Festival to present a lesson on metal music. The workshop being popular with students, he was invited back this year to once more share his love of metal with students.
“There’s musicians that came in two years ago who were just in shock by the things they didn’t know about achieving tone. Whether it be what pedals do for you, gage of strings, pickups in guitar, or things like that, [tone] branches off across everybody,” said Chapman.
Although this year the workshop lacked in attendance compared to last year, there was an increase of involvement between Chapman and those who attended his workshop.
“Two years ago it may have been a larger number of people in the class, but there was more people just watching, listening and learning rather than asking questions and being involved; so I think it was cool today that even though it was a smaller group they were more involved,” said Chapman.
This year, Chapman had two metal workshops at the Guitar Festival: one a solo workshop, and one a workshop with Assault on the Living’s other guitarist, Jaime Geron. The workshop alongside Geron, which he calls a “putting it together” class, discussed song structure, how to balance tone and how they write their songs.
“We go over song structures, how we harmonize with one another, how we write with one another and how you incorporate harmonies in metal and still keep it metal,” he said.
Growing up with music daily in his household, Chapman found his love of music from an early age from bands like Pantera, Slipknot and Lamb of God.
“I go across the board and listen to everything,” he said.
This love of metal fused with Assault on the Living, who are a mixture of different forms of metal and core, and have influences that range from Behemoth to Rings of Saturn.
“It doesn’t matter who it is, we appreciate music as whole,” said Chapman.
This diversity in metal genres influences Assault on the Living to share a variety of core sounds within their music.
“All of us take our influences and you can hear it in our music here and there whatever it be, and we know what we like after listening to so much music and being involved in music industry around here being a local band for so long,” he said. “When we write something special, we all know.”
Despite sharing stages with big names in metal, Chapman feels that playing local shows around the area are the best of the shows Assault on the Living plays.
“Sometimes [big] shows are really cool, but sometimes the local shows and playing out in different areas is even cooler. Sometimes playing with the bigger bands is more of a hassle,” said Chapman.
Chapman feel that playing local shows is best because it allows him to interact with fans more.
“When you do these smaller shows it’s cool because you get to interact with people. You can talk to people and be more personal,” he said.
The fast-paced nature of big shows turn off Chapman due to the rush of the night. “When you play the big shows it’s more like, ‘on stage here’s your set, here’s your start time, your finish time, you gotta be off this band’s gotta go on next, get your stuff up, get your stuff off,’ and the whole night’s kind of like a big rush,” he said.
Being in a local band for five years and counting, Chapman likes to pride himself on sharing his music around the capital region, whether by playing shows, or giving guitar workshops to students.