The Devil vs. Chris Ojeda: Byzantine frontman talks about "Soul Eraser"

With lyrics about black tar lords, black teeth, and blacker souls, Byzantine’s new song “Soul Eraser,” and the official video for it, received thumbs up from fans online, and thumbs down from stations the band sent it to due its visceral, bleak, totally NSFW depiction of drug-ravaged West Virginia.

Byzantine singer-guitarist Chris “OJ” Ojeda here, in an excerpt from a phone interview with the Gazette, discusses the song, the video, and the response to both…

“That song is very close to our problem. As far as our band is concerned, we’ve had a lot of people very close to us get hooked on drugs. The whole song is kind of like a ‘Shame on you, West Virginia, for letting this pill problem, this prescription drug abuse problem, infiltrate this state and turn our whole generation into people dependent on something that’s killing them.’

“We wanted the video to portray how crappy it is, and it did.

“But with [“Soul Eraser,”] the subject matter being so dark, and so close to West Virginia, I’m hoping it’ll take off and be kind of an anthem, like “Jeremiad” was for us. We’ve had a lot of people tell us that “Jeremiad” got them through some dark times, because the song deals with suicide, and feeling alone, and just, like nobody cares about you

“So now, with drug abuse being so prevalent, maybe people can see the video and hear the lyrics and be like, ‘Maybe I need to get off my a--,’ and deal with it, you know?

“We submitted [the video] to all the stations, and every one of them said the same exact thing, ‘The song was fantastic, the video was fantastic, but it’s too graphic.’ And it’s like, ‘In this day and age?’ (laughs)

“But we were also able to do a casting call, and get our fans to come in and do the little mosh thing, which was cool. If I was a kid, and a local band that had some type of credibility was asking me to be in their video, I think that’d be the coolest thing. So as a way to say thanks, we did that for them.

“We had a blast doing it, and the kids had a blast doing it. It looked like they were trying to kill each other, but the reality was they were jumping around smiling. We had to stop that part like fifteen times because they were smiling too much.” (laughs)

Related: Byzantine is back with new album, new attitude (Charleston Gazette)

1 comment:

Adam Cathar said...

I don't see how this is "too hot for TV". I have seen rap videos have worse stuff. I share a certain kinship with OJ being from the same area (maybe even blood considering we are all cousins down here, HA!) and I agree with him. The drugs are bad. Very bad. I have wrote a few songs about it myself but they have yet to make it from the concept onto the board but I am glad to see that someone else is against it. You talk to most people around here and all you get it "clean out your own closet" or "mind your own business" but what they don't realize is that my closet doesn't affect their lives like their drug addiction affects all of ours. Maybe someday I can catch up with OJ and we can talk about a few things over some coffee or something. Keep rockin' guys!