CHAOTIC RESEMBLANCE Breaks In the New Guy!
In 2014, I stumbled upon a band from Oklahoma, Chaotic Resemblance, that Oz Fox from Stryper was sharing on social media. They were trying to record their first full-length album by doing a Kickstarter. So, I started following them closely and became a big fan of their music and heart for the Lord. They are one of those bands that will take you back in time to the ’80s when hair metal was big and the music was fun. My favorite thing about them is they always put on a show whether it is a big festival or a youth group of twenty kids. You are guaranteed to get your FACE ROCKED OFF and hear a solid biblical message every time. Travis (the lead singer) is known to bring the word in bars, on the streets, and anywhere that people will listen. He and the rest of the band are the real deal when it comes to their faith. They are serious about this musical ministry.
The current lineup of Chaotic is made up of Travis McConnell on vocals and bass, LA Ellis on Guitar, and John Walter Jakway III AKA “THOR” on drums. Travis’s vocals are always sure to impress with his classic ‘80’s rock face melting high notes and a stage presence that contends with the legends of the industry. LA on his signature white Schecter guitar is a seasoned pro that is sure to impress you with his great guitar tone and memorable riffs and leads. Then, you have the half man/half Viking, John, on the drums with his powerful and skilled timekeeping that definitely will stomp a mudhole in your unprepared ears. It is obvious that all of these guys have put in the blood, sweat, and tears to be not only great individual contributors, but a perfectly synced metal machine of a band. It is really no surprise though since these guys spend the majority of their days touring and putting in the miles on the road. From festivals to bars to churches they play anywhere they can share their passion for Christ.
Recently, I caught up with the band while they were getting ready for a gig in Minnesota, and did an interview with them via Google Hangouts. The following are some excerpts from that interview.
Alright, we're here with Chaotic Resemblance. They are in Minnesota. Where y'all at right now guys?
John (drummer): We are in a town called White Bear Lake north of St. Paul.
Okay. All right, and we're just doing an interview; want to find out more about them and kind of share what they're all about. They just came out with the new record called Covenant right? When did that come out?
Travis: It came out in what?
LA: 2018 I believe.
Travis: 2018, so it's been --
Okay, it’s been a little while.
Travis: We're trying to obviously build some steam, get some radio play off of it, milk it till it's dry as they say in back in my town.
Yeah, it's a great, it's a great record. Great record. So let's just start off, first off, how did y'all get started with Chaotic? Where did the whole band concept come from?
Travis: Yeah man, ever since I was a kid, I knew that I was called to do something like this. I just remember even being a kid just having dreams and visions of just a lot of people and things like that and I would always, just knew in my heart that God gifted me to do something musical like that, you know, and so as I got older and stuff, I got into high school and started Chaotic Resemblance with a couple of buddies. And as time went on, guys came and went. We joke around and like to say that, that we could have like, you know, like class reunions.
Travis: We can have like a class of ‘09, class of ‘14, class of like that's how many people left that's came through Chaotic and we want to thank you guys for your service. But no, just kind of play local and stuff and when I got out of high school --
How do you say the name of your town Potoe?
Poteau, okay, all right.
Travis: Yeah, French for ‘post’, but that's where we started the band and get out high school and stuff and let's see, I got married and what a year or two later, LA got in the band and --
I thought LA was in the band already.
Travis: Yeah, you would think so.
Travis: That's when things really kick off when LA got in band --
That is when we start touring, recording legit more and stuff like that. So before, it was more you know, local and we would go and play any. Man, I've been in Minnesota for hardly any time, and I’m starting to sound like you (John). I’m like “We would go” (in Minnesota accent). We would go anywhere and like, we would play at church or something like we which would be like 8 hours for us in Houston. But no when LA got in the band, that's when we really started putting our feet in the dirt and really going after it.
How many years have you all been playing now as far as like touring and getting out there, I mean?
Travis: As far as touring goes, I think we are, our first tour was in 2013.
Travis: So 2013, end of 2012 is really when we started going after it.
Six years or so. Yeah. Wow.
Travis: Started the band in like ‘06, around the end of ‘06, ‘07 but as far as like playing at that kind of status, touring and doing that good stuff since then 2013, 12ish 12-13.
Well with that said, what is the, what is your, what would you say your major focus is, obviously this is a
ministry for you but what is your vision of Chaotic and what you, what you do and what you plan on doing?
Travis: Yeah, with Jesus for sure. Like you said that's everything for us. I often like to say the ministry is not a vehicle for Chaotic. It's the other way around.
Travis: We do this because we love people, we love God and we want to share. See we all have and I know you do too, but we all have lived on both sides and have testimonies of what God has brought us through and how awesome he's been to us and he's given us gifts and he's given us talents and he's given a songs that talk to people, but beyond that we want to share what God has done for us and we know that if he has done it for me, if he can call me out of 6 years of addiction and if he can pull him out of, you know, anger; if he can pull him out of this or that then he can definitely do this for you, you know what I mean? And that's our main thing is to do we love, playing, a lot of times it's like playing is like the cherry on top. It's like a bonus for us because so much of what we get see, so much of the cool stuff happens when we are not on stage. It's being at the right place, the right time, you know, but I don't know man. I guess just getting in front of as many people as we can and sharing what God's given us.
Yeah, absolutely. So I got to ask because I really feel like Chaotic has a sound that is somewhat different from what a lot of the newer bands that you hear coming out are. It's definitely like I wouldn't call it classic rock by any means but, it definitely has draws from the past, you know, as far as like it reminds me a lot like Motley Crue and bands like that as far as the sound and the tone. So like I really love the way you sound. What though, what is ya'll's influences and if could get each of y'all to kind of answer that?
John: I'll start this train so starting the band, I was super into metalcore, deathcore, heavy metal and country pop. Since I have played with Chaotic, I’ve kind of drank the Kool-Aid and I've been listening to a ton of like 80’s metal lately, especially personally Guns N Roses stuff, I had to stop. I'm going down the, I've got years of inspiration from Myles Kennedy, Slash, and that band. I love that old stuff and so like --
I've got one of those records right here.
John: Yeah, the new one, “Call of the Wild” is like one my favorite songs right now but yeah. I called single pedal rock and roll and that's like super influencing where I'm at right now.
What about you LA?
LA: Well, I was bred on church hymns;
Steven Curtis Chapman?
LA: Oh goodness, when I was running from the Lord, I got into thrash and I got out of thrash but I kept the speed of it though. I love hard rock, is probably my favorite genre of music. It's just I just love the sound of it and I think a lot with our sound, we just kind of got back to like what they used to do in the sense of like the purity of just drums, bass, guitar. So I guess in a terrible nutshell that was it.
Travis: Yeah, if you could explain the sound of, you listening LA; drums, bass, guitar. RAWWR!
Travis: Now for me man, these days anything that has to do with Jesus. I'm pretty much on board. I don't really care what sound it is. I love like. I call it white girl worship music. The stuff that makes people cry, I have a sensitive side but same thing as LA I had a season where I was really running, and that's where a lot of that classic kind of roots [inaudible] out keeping him from that season too. But growing up I listened to a lot of like stuff like Stryper. Stryper of course whose influence disciple is a big influence, Audio Adrenaline, you know bands like that when I was when I was younger, I always liked DC talk, Audio Adrenaline fans like that all the way and then as I got older I got into stuff like Styx and then led me into like the Motley Crue and all that stuff like that. So we definitely had our rounds with, with all that style and I think that's the whole thing. It's like we kind of; we wear everything that we were influences on our sleeve, you know?
Travis: One thing my dad told me a long time ago was when I first started writing music and stuff and was doing the band thing. I was like “man, this isn't sounding the way that I want it to” you know, the song doesn't sound the way I want and he just said “man, just write what's on your heart. Don't try to sound like anything, just from what's on your heart whatever comes out just do that.”
Travis: That's pretty much been the motto ever since then. So Chaotic, we never go for anything. We just we love we love music. We love the Lord and that's kind of what comes out.
And you mentioned Stryper and that's interesting because I met you guys a while back and became friends with y'all's old bassist, Donnie. And I kind of met y'all at Waco when you all were playing at Waco and Stryper was a huge, huge influence on music period for me and when I was a kid like I went into a Bible bookstore and they used to let you listen to the tapes, literally cassette tapes, right and I remember TO HELL WITH THE DEVIL, I saw that and I just had to you know, put that in and it was like I heard it and it was like at that moment, it changed my life forever, right. So that's what got me into heavier music and stuff like that. But to speak of that is how I came upon y'all, was following Oz from Stryper and y'all had a Kickstarter and I was just interested. I kind of think I may know the story but I just am interested, how did you all come together with Oz? I mean, he's produced what the last two records, is that correct?
Travis: So what happened was, we had thought for a while that we wanted, you know, we want Oz to do some stuff for us and we didn't, and we didn't know him but you know, obviously we knew of him and we just felt that on our hearts and it was pretty funny, we played this festival for a few years called Rocklahoma here in Oklahoma.
Travis: You're not here now, where we are from, we played it for years but it's called Rocklahoma; a pretty big rock festival up here. But anyways, the guy who ran the stage that we were on; named Sam Macastlen, his brother, I think his name is Aaron.
Yeah, Aaron Macastlen I think, knew Oz pretty well and so he gave Oz a call on our behalf and talked to him and Oz was in town and so he gave us a call or no, he gave us his number so that we can talk. So we called Oz and said hey, you know, what do you think about maybe doing EP with us or whatever and he goes I'll be in town, and we were in Las Vegas the time and that's where he was at, and he said let's get into a rehearsal studio together. Let's see what, you know, see what happens. And so we just played our music forms for like three hours straight and when we were done, we were like man, what do you think? You know, it's being a couple songs and he's like dude we gotta do an album because it was just like --
As soon as we started you can tell he was like really digging it. He was pretty honest and especially with this expression. So it was pretty cool.
John: [inaudible 13:05]
Travis: Yeah. It's really cool. Now Oz has become family to us.
It's kind of surreal. This guy that was on the poster on my wall as kid is now you know, we call him Uncle, he calls us his Redneck nephews.
That's awesome. Yeah, I had always wondered what the story was there and I mean, it's got to be somewhat surreal at least in the beginning right? I'm just getting to know him and stuff, such a good dude.
Travis: He's so genuine man. Oz is, the world could use some more guys like Oz. He is so sweet. He's so real and so sweet.
And speaking of that, I've seen some, you've got to meet some guys like Tony Palacio from Guardian, Les from Bloodgood and the guys from Bloodgood, y'all played quite a bit with them --
And the others, was that all through Oz?
Travis: Yeah, he just started to, you know those guys, it's like they've done so much especially for the Christian rock world and stuff. And you start to know these guys and meet and after a while they just become like family like Oz. Like I mean Les and those guys from Bloodgood, I mean shoot, they are family. It's just so crazy how like, I don't know, you first meet them like you said it's so surreal and so crazy and now, you know, and it's just like, you know, Les is calling and it's just like “Oh hey, Les!” Before it's like, oh my gosh, Les call this phone, you know what I mean.
Yeah, it's pretty cool man. Bloodgood was another one of those groups that was really big back in the 80’s and stuff and definitely influential I would say to y'all’s sound. There's another thing that I saw on Facebook, I don't know exactly what y'all were talking about or what it was about, but I saw a little teaser picture of you with a couple other guys like Oz and Les and a few other guys from I think Bloodgood and I don't know who all it was but kind of a teaser of a supergroup. What's going on with that?
Travis: Yeah, you know, we got together with family, we were all in town and we tried something out and had a couple rehearsal dates and we'll see what happens. We have time and just went over some stuff, I'm not too sure.
Okay, keep us updated.
Travis: We'll see what happens,
Yeah, keep us updated. That would that would be awesome.
Travis: It was really fun practicing, so we'll see what happens. That would be pretty crazy.
So you, to get to the album's, y'all had two albums. You have had GET THE HELL OUT and COVENANT, right?
Travis: Yes sir.
And then how many EPs have you had up, I've asked you this before but?
Travis: What we call the Brown CD which came out, I think 2011.
John: The Brown album
Travis: The Brown album and it has seven songs on it and it's a little bit more of a I would say probably more pop rock kind of, I don't know, not really hard rock, classic rock feel to it.
Not real hard. We released Battlelines which was LA's first for EP with us, and that was the four-song EP and the first song we ever wrote together was Risky and that one's on there and the next one we did was GET THE HELL OUT which the full length and then we put out a two-song EP which both of these songs sound the same and made it on the COVENANT album as well.
Yeah, I got that CD over in the corner. I don't have COVENANT yet, but I'm going to get it.
Travis: Oh so you have COVENANT?
No, I listened, well it's because I listened to it on Spotify all the time, but I'll get the actual album. I wish y'all had vinyl for that. Are y'all thinking about putting it on vinyl?
LA: We’re tossing it up.
Travis: We definitely have been tossing it for a while. So I think yeah, I think we might see then vinyl first. We will milk that cow till there ain’t nothing left.
So Covenant was definitely, there was kind of, the one thing that I would say about Covenant is it really sounds to me like your sounds matured a whole lot in COVENANT compared to the other recordings.
Travis: He says it's because he came into the picture (John).
Okay. Yeah. No, this the sound, just sounds more solid and more full, you know, what do y'all contribute that to as far as like the record just --?
Travis: Two things for sure made the difference there, well three things. John, apparently, Jesus, when you Jesus, [inadaubile] and four years. There was a big growing process between the two factors for sure.
Travis: Records, am I talking weird? You got me in Minnesota, I don't know how to talk anymore. A lot of things changed in those four years for sure, Me personally, I had an encounter with the Lord that really changed my life, changed the way that I wrote lyrics and stuff like that and just the thing behind the songs and stuff. I think if you look at the songs you listen to them even the feel the songs everything is you know, I hope it's more, it's, I think it's a lot why I think it's a lot better, but I think a lot deeper and I don't know, more maybe, I don't want to say driven more --
I'd definitely say it's more driven. Yeah.
John: Let me speak on that a little bit, in terms of how I interpret the lyrics that Travis wrote for the newest album Covenant and then you know compared them to his previous lyrics, previous album in addition to like everything else that we listen to. Where I'm at my musical and faith journey is listening, you know, I love secular music still but it's it is just skin deep, whereas the music, the message that we're putting out in our music is, it feels as though we're you know, when you're listening to this album you're not just putting a record on, you are experiencing the kingdom in advance here, but something happened so, I don't really know how to explain it. It's just that the depth --
Travis: That was pretty good, pretty good way to explain it.
John: The depth of the lyrics it's just, it's a family and it's a purpose that's so much bigger than that of our own selves. And so when we, when we take the stage when we started this album, well, maybe not when we started album, but where we are now, we're at is just every time we had someone listens to it, every time someone hears a song on record, on stage that they, don't they don't hear us, they don't see us, they know they find, you know Christ in the music and on stage and they see God that's what we're on for.
Travis: I think he should talk more and I should talk less.
I don't know. One thing I have to say is when I see, when I've seen you in concert, you definitely get the message across one way or the other. If they, if they're not listening to the lyrics, Travis preaches. So yeah, it's great. Honestly.
Travis: We are there for the people man.
Travis: We’re there for the people.
John: I'm there for the pizza.
Travis: We’re there for people and pizza.
Okay, the Riot Anthem. When I first heard that I was like I just compared to the old stuff, I just thought that was like next level. I mean the whole recording, the video work, everything was definitely next level. So very exciting, anybody watching this if you haven't seen the videos go check them out on YouTube. They got a couple of videos now for this record, VirtualReality and Riot Anthem.
So any big shows coming up? Any big shows or festivals or anything like that that you all are doing?
Travis: Yeah, tomorrow night at the Caboose.
John: I'm super excited for us to play in my home town Minneapolis, big venue called, not big venue, but just a cool place called the Caboose. A lot of bands that I listened to have gone through there and so it's just this is an exciting milestone personally for me, home town etc. And then over the summer time will be hitting up the Resound Fest, yeah. We are doing Resound Fest, and Loud and Proud fest in Germany.
Travis: That's our big one, we are excited about it. We've never played overseas before so we're we're pretty stoked to be a part of the bill at Rocktoberfest.
So what’s next with Chaotic? As far as, are you working on new music? What’s going on with the band? What do you have coming up next?
Travis: Oh dude, that's a good question. Always into music, always. That's something that for me personally if anybody ever asks me what I am music-wise, writer or singer, I've always considered myself a songwriter. I'm so like that's just something that it's so rooted into this band. We all love writing. We love writing together. We love creating and that's something that's band will do until the day we don't play no more, is making music. So we're definitely got some ideas, with there's some some dots on the drawing board. So we'll see what happens but one thing's for sure, I know it's going to be fun. As far as it's like a next album goes, I'm not too sure. I think we would probably do some teasers maybe some EP’s before we did that, maybe something that's been on my heart is to maybe come out with couple more worship songs and more to see what happens.
John: Something a little softer for the more refined listener.
So one thing that I really would like to see, my wish would be to see y'all play with Stryper or tour with Stryper. We got to get in Oz's ear and get y'all touring with Stryper because I go to see Stryper at least a couple of times a year so.
Travis: We been in his ears quite a while, quite a bit on that one. That'd be awesome. We have only played with Stryper, I think twice now over the last this course of time that we'veKnown them. So it would be really sweet and a lot of people would be really stoked about it. I know we would be really stoked about it.
Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Yeah, so what do you want the fans of Chaotic to know? Do you have a message for the fans right now?
LA: That Jesus loves you.
John: Dental hygiene is extremely important, especially. Trust me.
Travis: I could second both of those. Now honestly, yeah, we love you guys. Jesus loves you. There's so much to live for in this life. Just because you're not on the stage and maybe you feel like one day you want to be, that's one thing we get a lot, like people asking about wanting to play, wanting to be in a band, you get something going, wanting to preach, willing to do whatever it is for the kingdom and I say that's so amazing. But you know what I found so much truer in my life, is the more that I just pursue the stuff that matters, more that I focus on the Lord, he's the one who lifts us up, you know what I mean.
Travis: So that's something I would say to somebody who maybe is, you know, just a message I could say that came in my heart to somebody, maybe you think you know all I'd love to be in something like Chaotic, I love to have something that's been on my heart since I was younger, but I don't know why this and this and what I encourage you, is just you know, work. Just turn your eyes on Jesus when nobody's looking just like David you just keep practicing it man. If you slay that wolf, you slay that, it's a bear my bad.
A large vicious animal.
Travis: You slay the large vicious animal when nobody’s looking and do it unto the Lord and know what, if you humble yourself before him, he's going to exalt you, but when you exalt yourself, it only lasts for so long, you know, and it's not satisfying. So that's something I would say somebody, anybody you know.
Awesome. Well, I, we really appreciate the opportunity to interview y'all and talk to y'all about this. Hopefully we'll hear a lot more from you.