MetalMouth took ten minutes at Tech-Fest 2014 to quickly chat with the legend that is Paul Antonio Ortiz, mostly known as (Chimp Spanner) about setlists, pranks, almost shitting himself, and other goings on in Chimp Spanner.
Here’s the result…
Feeling pretty fresh yeah, I think I’m one of the few non-drinkers on the campsite this year, so uh, feeling better than most!
So I have 55 questions here, please pick a number between 1 and 55.
Do you plan your festival setlists differently to your touring setlists?
I guess because we have a little bit longer, then yeah they tend to be different, but saying that, we did specifically jiggle things around for this year’s Tech-Fest.
11: Have you ever heard outstandingly funny or plain ridiculous rumours about the band, or yourself?
Oh, I think we’re not particularly known for being very wild, so it’s kinda safe.
Keeping your head down?
Yeah, I keep my head down and emerge every few years to play some shows. Yeah. I did get recognised as ‘the drummer’ from Chimp Spanner [protip: he’s not]. That was weird. Someone congratulated me on the show and said what a good drummer I was. They might’ve been pissed. That’s very possible!
6: Festival curation is really popular these days, say you’re now in charge of a three-day festival. Three headliners, and one band to open on Friday. Who is it?
These questions always get me! I’m in such a sort of weird musical bubble at the moment, that I probably couldn’t say. Everyone wants to see Periphery all the time, so let’s get them, right? Animals as Leaders, haven’t seen them yet. I want to see them. I’ll open, it’s my festival! There you go.
21: What was your first ever festival experience like?
My first fest was actually Sonisphere, it was the one before the one that got cancelled… I had a shit tent, so I thought I was gonna get pneumonia – that wasn’t too cool. But it was surprisingly tame, because I didn’t really drink so I didn’t make a fool of myself. For a first time, it was good.
32: Who would win in a fight: Monuments or Chimp Spanner?
There’s more of them, it’s not a fair fight. I think most bands here could beat us up. We’re not tough.
Sorry to hear that. 47: what question are you absolutely sick of answering?
Probably where the name Chimp Spanner comes from… though I think most people know now. You know, right?
29: When and where was the last time you had stage fright?
Probably most gigs, man. Especially the moment, we’re playing quite sporadically, so we never get a feel for it… I get it a little bit every time. I never get massive stage fright to the point at which I just lock up.
3: If you were forced to share a dressing room with another band due to lack of space, which band would you really like to share with?
I’m just gonna go with No Consequence. They’re cool guys, they’re easy to get on with – and we’ve slept in close proximity before. Sounds weird. We shared a van before, and can get on without killing each other, so yeah. Them.
18: Do you still go to festivals and gigs as a fan?
Sometimes, yeah. Work permitting… what I normally find is that I get paranoid about being away from my stuff when I’ve got an idea coming. So while I’m sort of, in the writing phase, I tend to hermit quite a bit. So I won’t be visiting too many shows until the album’s done.
35: Metal or boobies?
42: Who in the band is the grumpiest, and what was the last thing they got really pissed off about?
Jim, bless him. He’s not grumpy, he just gets kinda stressed sometimes. I think he’s the most pragmatic person out of us, so when things aren’t planned properly or they go to shit, he has a low tolerance for that shit.
I imagine the last time he got grumpy is because I didn’t arrange something properly! ‘Cos I left it all to him. “Oh, hey Jim, we left the drumkit at the other end of the country, will you go and pick it up?” [Laughs] Sorry Jim.
54: Does it become easier or harder over time to keep your set fresh and exciting?
Again, I think ‘cos we don’t play all the time – I guess we keep it a little bit exclusive as to where we turn up – it pretty much always feels fresh. And then there’s, not the fear factor but – you’re always feeling a bit sharper than if you’d been, say, touring for half a year. We never really get that feeling, so it’s pretty easy to make it feel fresh. Changing up the order was cool, and throwing in a new track at [our Tech-Fest 2014] show kept things interesting.
55: How do you balance your environmental impact from travelling?
I don’t. [Laughs]. In my defence, we don’t travel a lot to things so our footprint is very small.
Do you put your litter in the bin?
Yes. And we car share, because we can’t afford a van [laughs].
28: Have you ever played a prank on a band member backstage?
I haven’t, I had a prank played on me though…
What was that?
We were in the backstage area of Euroblast, and I was the only one at the top part of the building. And Barley, who runs Basick, decided that he would creep up the stairs in silence and hide behind this frosted glass so that I thought it was an intruder. And uh, I almost shat myself.
They say everyone has a moment in their life where you find out how you’re going to react to a threat or impending death. And I would just kinda sit there and wait for it… I didn’t think to close the metal door with the combination lock on it, or grab a weapon. I just sat there and hoped it would be quick! [laughs]
What’s next after Tech-Fest?
Just going home, writing, I think people want me to pull my finger out now and just get down to it. The ideas are there, the vibe is there. Just writing, though we’ve got Euroblast and Prog Power coming up in October as well. They’re the biggest things on the calendar.
Thanks very much Paul.
No worries man.