An Interview with Chelsea Grin: Playing With Fire

Releasing their third studio album, Ashes To Ashes, on longtime label Artery Records this past July, the Salt Lake City natives Chelsea Grin have secured their spot as arguably one of the most prominent bands currently dominating the deathcore scene. Now, after wrapping up an international tour that took the sextet throughout Europe, they have returned back to the States and are gearing up for another round of shows on the home front with support from Carnifex, Sworn In, and The Family Ruin.

Before heading out on the road again, vocalist and founding member Alex Koehler took a minute to discuss group’s sudden “bad luck,” his favorite tracks from their discography to play live, and his new clothing line, NKYD.

The band just wrapped up a European tour. How was it? How is playing overseas different from playing to crowds in the United States?

It definitely has its similarities, but at the same time certain aspects are completely different. One thing I really enjoy about touring Europe is the insane amount of hospitality we get.

Do you have any particularly interesting stories from this leg of the tour?

This tour had more than one interesting story, that’s for damn sure. I’m sure by now everyone has heard about what happened to the frontman of Black Tongue [vocalist Alex Teyen fell from the band’s moving tour bus after mistaking the exit for the bathroom]. On top of that, our bus got robbed in Paris and thousands of dollars were stolen, and we had to miss the next show. Definitely hit a really hard spell of bad luck on this run, but the shows were great, and we still managed to have a good time.

Do you have a personal favorite song to perform live? Which get the best crowd reactions?

I personally love to play “Clockwork,” and it seems to go over really well live. Other than that I feel like “Recreant” and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” seem to bring it home (laughs).

Chelsea Grin has been active for eight years. What changes have you noticed within the genre and the scene during this time?

Just a whole lot of growing up, really—and not just us, either. The scene is constantly changing, and so is this genre. We are constantly evolving and trying to make a change ourselves.

In what ways do you feel you and the band have grown as musicians since first starting out?

We definitely know how to actually play our instruments now (laughs). We have learned a lot about songwriting and structure, as well as learning to write what we feel and not what others tell us to.

Have you guys begun working on any new material for a follow-up to Ashes To Ashes? Are there any plans to enter the studio anytime soon?

We’ve started to mess around with a few ideas. But if I told you any more, I’d have to kill you. Just kidding.

Can you tell me a little about your new clothing line, NKYD? What first sparked the idea behind creating this?

I started it with one of my longtime closest friends, Alex Lyman of Slaves. He came to me with the idea of creating a brand, and we came up with the name NKYD together, which is pronounced “Naked.”

What are band’s plans for after the Ashes To Ashes tour, and for the rest of spring and summer?

After the Ashes tour we have a co-headliner with The Word Alive, and are basically going to keep staying busy after that. I could tell you more, but once again, I’d have to kill you. All I can say is if Chelsea Grin didn’t make it to your town on one of these tours, then you definitely will be seeing us soon!


Chelsea Grin will be playing the Theatre Of Living Arts in Philadelphia on March 12 and the Gramercy Theatre on March 14 along with openers Carnifex, Sworn In, and The Family Ruin. For more information, go to