Interview with Ray Toro. My Chemical Romance Gives the Voodoo Line-up That Punk Rock Flavor
On the line-up for the first day of Voodoo My Chemical Romance will be rocking out with their signature theatrics and crazy costumes. Ray Toro, on guitar and backup vocals, talks about the band’s plans for Halloween weekend in New Orleans, surprise plans for Voodoo, and their ever evolving sound.
What are you guys most excited about performing in New Orleans at Voodoo?
Well we’ve played in New Orleans a couple times before so we’re excited to get back to the city. It’s such an amazing place with a rich culture and energy. You can feel that energy empowering the shows we play in New Orleans. We’re even going to take time off after the show to hang out for the weekend. Some of the band members’ wives are flying in for the show so we’re excited to really kick back and enjoy the city.
Any plans for Halloween Costumes?
Well for Friday we have some secret plans involving costumes for our set at Voodoo but I can’t reveal too much about that. For Halloween, I don’t know if anyone else is dressing up but I know I am. It’s kind of fun to walk around pretending you’re someone else for the night.
What kind of a set are you guys thinking about playing for Voodoo?
It’s an hour set so we’re going to have to fit a lot in a short amount of time. We’ll probably play a good balance between Black Parade andDanger Days with maybe one or two songs from our first album. We’ll be playing to an audience that might or might not know us so we want to play some of our signature songs. We also want to try and make sure we play songs that our fans are looking forward to listening to. Because we’re playing to a lot of people we want to give the crowd kind of a mix of everything.
My Chemical Romance has a reputation for responding to events going on in the country and the world. How do you see your music responding to events going on today?
Well Danger Days addresses the growing internet culture of our society. People are more attuned to what’s going on all over the world and they’re seeing the changes happening on a global level. This internet culture also has a crazy effect on youth culture and their obsession with being famous on the internet without having to really do anything of merit or talent. There’s also more importance placed on having online friends versus real friends. So we’re trying to respond to these issues with that album. Our song SING is about raising your voice and making a change, like how people are doing right now with the internet. They’re able to get their voices heard to a greater audience than ever before.
Have you been working on anything new lately?
We like to change things up especially with being on the road. We’ve been on the road for two months now and we’re already getting antsy to start working on new material. We’re also always trying new things because it keeps our music constantly evolving.
What is the band’s process for creating music, especially since a lot of the songs have heavy emotional lyrics?
Gerard Way is really great about doing what feels right for him, so a lot of the lyrics come to him often on the spot. When he’s sketching a melody he also ends up sketching out the lyrics as well. We’ll keep changing these phrases for months or however long it takes for the song to be complete. In that sense we’re a very in-the-moment band.
Are you guys thinking about heading into a more electronic sound? Especially since Danger Days incorporates more electronic elements into the music than Black Parade does.
Well right now we’re working on more of an organic feel. WithDanger Days we did a lot of experimentation into that area with keyboards. It’s fun because you can make crazy sounds just by hitting one key, so we might mess around with that again. I don’t think we’ll ever go into all electronic or anything like that because at the end of the day we’re really four guys banging around on instruments.
This is going to be your last show in the United States, how do you guys feel about ending the US portion of your tour at Voodoo?
We’re so excited to play in New Orleans. I can’t imagine a better place to play, especially because it is our last stop in our US tour. There’s a lot of energy going on in the city and the festival. It’s a great line up with great artists. It’s going to be a fun weekend all around.