Interview: Spencer Charnas of Ice Nine Kills Discusses Upcoming Tour with Atreyu, Warped Tour and The Silver Scream

After being one of the privileged few to hear The Silver Scream, the upcoming album from MA’s Ice Nine Kills, I had a lot of questions burning for vocalist/mastermind Spencer Charnas. Some answered, had to be omitted from the interview, due to spoilers… but those will be revealed soon enough. There were also questions submitted by fans/friends, who are credited below.

PC: Eric Levin

BearlySinister: Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me. I would like to take the time to say that The Silver Scream SLAYS, no pun intended, and I’ve got a lot of questions burning on it… but we’ll get to those later. Instead, we’re going to start on the subject of touring! You recently announced that you’ll be supporting the mighty Atreyu on their “In Our Wake” tour with Memphis May Fire and Sleep Signals. What was your reaction to the call and what can fans expect out of your set on that tour?

Spencer Charnas: Atreyu was definitely an early influence for me, as far as metalcore music goes. They were at the forefront of that movement, right up there with As I Lay Dying and Killswitch Engage. I look to The Curse as an inspiration for when this band started to move in a heavy/melodic, hybrid direction. It’s an honor to be recognized by a band like that and have THEM want US to be a part of their tour. It’s humbling and this will be the first, full US tour on The Silver Scream. It’s gonna be the first time a lot of these songs are played live. We’re looking forward to getting out there and “slaying it” as you said. *laughs*

BearlySinister: The energy at an INK show is always electric, whether the crowd is big or small. What do you attribute to keeping the energy levels high and the fans happy, during your performances?

Spencer Charnas: I think we’ve always looked at shows as a way to win people over. When I’m playing, I don’t treat a concert with 5 people any differently than I would a show of 5,000. Luckily, at this point in our career, shows with 5 people don’t exist anymore but they did at one point, just like every band starting. I think a band like Goldfinger, when I first saw them and the singer specifically, just had this energy to him. The first time I saw them, the first chord of the song, he just dove into the audience with the microphone and was singing, as he was crowdsurfing. That always stuck with me. Then you have bands like Every Time I Die, a band we’ve toured with many times… they just go ham, no matter what the crowd’s size, as far as reaction. Those are the kind of live acts that inspired me to put on a highly energetic performance, no matter what the circumstances are.

BearlySinister: As a band who has been around a long time, you’ve toured around quite a few places. What is your favorite city to play and are there any cities you’re particularly looking forward to playing on this tour?

Spencer Charnas: Favorite cities? I mean… we’re originally from Massachusetts and that’s where I grew up going to shows. For me, that state will always hold a special place in my heart. We are playing at The Paradise, which is awesome and it’s a club that I’ve gone to for many years but never played. That I’m very much looking forward to! Other areas that I always love visiting or playing: Anywhere in Pennsylvania, anywhere in the Seattle area. Those are just some of my favorites… and I love playing in Los Angeles, too. Especially ‘cuz I live here now.

BearlySinister: Sound like you’ve got a lot to look forward to!

Spencer Charnas: Oh yeah! Definitely.

BearlySinister: The next question hits a little bit of an emotional note, as it’s a question about Warped tour. You were honored to be chosen as one of the bands on the final cross-country run of Vans Warped tour. How did it feel to play the last day, and last song, of that tour and what is your fondest memory of Warped, over the years?

Spencer Charnas: Warped tour was a thing that I grew up going to in high school! I always wanted to be in a band, from a very young age, and Warped tour, to me, was like the pinnacle of “making it” in the punk rock scene. If you were a band on Warped tour, it was like the coolest thing ever. I remember going and watching these bands that I’d idolized and just dreaming of, one day, being on that stage. I kept telling myself that I was gonna make it to Warped tour, if it was the last thing I ever did. Come 2008, we tried to get on the tour and we just couldn’t. We weren’t on a label, we didn’t have a booking agent or anything. So, we decided that we were just gonna follow the tour and sell CDs. We ended up, basically, just sneaking in every day and selling our album which, at the time, was called The Burning with iPods. We’d just walk around all day selling albums which, by the end of that Summer, amounted to 10,000 albums that we’d sold, without playing a single show. Come full circle to 2018, we’re invited to play the last one and being on stage in a place like Chicago, looking out and seeing thousands and thousands of people singing our lyrics and remembering that specific venue, come 10 years later, where we sold CDs and realizing that we’d come full circle and achieved that goal! Not only were we playing Warped tour but we were a band that people really cared about seeing. I would say that was the happiest moment for me of the tour.

BearlySinister: Your previous album, Every Trick in the Book, comes as a desire to pay homage to horror novels. Alexis Valentine (Revival Recordings) would like to know what your favorite horror novel is.

Spencer Charnas: My favorite horror novel? Man, that’s a hard one! I would say, probably, William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist. There’s just something so evil that permeates through the writing of that novel and you feel like you’re inside that room, with that little girl that’s being possessed. I don’t know… it’s a chilling collection of words on a page.

BearlySinister: Tristen Lang would like to know how proud you are, personally, of The Silver Scream and why?

Spencer Charnas: I am very, very delighted with the outcome of the album. Going into it, one of my main goals, was the create something that people, who loved these films, whether they loved metal music or not, really felt captures the essence of these classic movies. Just hearing the reactions from those privileged few who have heard the entire thing, and the hundreds of thousands of people who have heard the two singles we’ve put out, I think we nailed it. I’m really excited to see the reaction to the full album.

BearlySinister: Joshua Stacey would like to know what your favorite song from The Silver Scream is and why?

Spencer Charnas: I think my favorite song is the one that’s about IT. I think that’s pretty clear, based on the tracklisting, which one that is, although we haven’t officially revealed which song ties to which movie. I think there’s something very eerie about that track. I think there’s something very risky about it. It starts off in a way that sounds nothing like a heavy band, at all, but has a sinister sort of aura that flows around it. It includes guest spots from bands that you would never think would have anything to do with INK, like Less Than Jake and Fenix TX. I think for those reasons, I really like that one.

BearlySinister: I definitely agree, I did hear quite a few risky vocal takes that you did on that track and it turned out AMAZING.

The SIlver Scream, as a whole, does an excellent job at transforming you, as a vocalist, into the characters that these songs personify. Does this have a lot to do with some of the locations you used to record some of the vocal parts and can you tell our readers what some of those locations were?

Spencer Charnas: A bulk of the album was recorded at a studio in Los Angeles with our producer, Drew Fulk. After a bulk of the album was recorded, I went to some of the locations where these films were… filmed. One of them was Michael Myer’s house, from the orignial 1978 Halloween, which is in Pasadena. I also went to 1428 Elm St, which is the house from A Nightmare on Elm Street, and tracked some of the vocals on the property. It was really cool and helped me get into the spirit of the characters, by being on location where the movie was filmed. Where the magic took place!

BearlySinister: The next one settles on something I find kind of interesting. You’ve stated in the past that Scream is one of your favorite slasher films. However, Ghostface and his unfortunate victims do not make an appearance on The Silver Scream. Is there any particular reason why?

Spencer Charnas: Scream is my favorite movie and definitely one of my favorite slasher movies. We were working on something that looked like it could be about it and, it just didn’t feel right. We wanted every song to be incredible and, especially with that being my favorite slasher movie, I didn’t want to release anything that didn’t do the movie justice. It’s not to say we won’t do a song about Scream, maybe we’ll get one on like a bonus release or something, it just didn’t happen. I wanted to make the album as flawless, to me, as I could and unfortunately, that one just had to go by the wayside.

BearlySinister: Can you tell us the spoiler-free story behind Freak Flag and why, unless you go over it with a fine tooth comb, listeners likely won’t be able to connect the song to the movie it references?

Spencer Charnas: Without giving anything away, we specifically wrote that one to be a bit more vague and use it for people who feel rejected from society, people who live on the fringe of society and are kind of cast out by everyone else. I didn’t want to get too specific with that one, I wanted it to resonate with a large audience. That was the inspiration for that one.

BearlySinister: The track “Love Bites” has an excellent duet between you and a particular special guest. Can you tell us about how you came to work together on the song?

Spencer Charnas: Chelsea [Talmadge]! Yeah! My girlfriend grew up in Florida, so she knew her from growing up in the same area. She had come out to visit us in LA and I knew a little bit about her. I thought she was a great actress because we had checked out some of her stuff. My girlfriend told me that she was an actress and Stranger Things obviously blew up. She happened to be in Los Angeles and she was singing at a karaoke bar one night when we went out on the town, and she was just fantastic! I thought it would be great to collaborate with her and I had written a part in “Love Bites” to be a back and forth between the two central characters in the story and I thought “man, this would be fantastic to get her involved!” She’s really out there in the acting world, she’s getting great gigs but her talent as a vocalist hasn’t been seen, yet, so I thought this would be a great opportunity to get her out there, in that world, as well.

BearlySinister: She’s a phenomenal singer and she nailed her part!

A very special guest resides on the track “Rockin’ the Boat” who old school fans may remember. Can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up working together again?

Spencer Charnas: Yeah! Jeremy [Schwartz] and I started the band in high school and we were together for a number of years, doing music. Basically, after years of doing it, he decided that the lifestyle wasn’t for him and we, unfortunately, parted ways. A few years back, we started reconnecting a little bit and he would come out to see us every once in awhile, if we were playing in the area. I moved to Los Angeles, last October, and he happened to relocate to Santa Monica around the same time and we just started hanging out, working on some songs and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to get him involved in the band again. I think it’s gonna be a nice treat for the fans to see that older INK spirit permeate through a couple of the songs. He actually sings on the song that you mentioned.

BearlySinister: Can you tell us when we can expect Part III of The Silver Scream and can you hint at what song it will be for?

Spencer Charnas: You can expect part III in the next week or so and, I don’t wanna give it away, but it’s not the track that you think it is, or everyone seems to think it is… we’re saving that one for the month it belongs to.

BearlySinister: Thank you so much for your time, Spencer! Is there anything else you’d like to say before we wrap this up?

Spencer Charnas: I’d like to thank you guys for continuing to support the band and I very much look forward to everyone’s reaction to the album and seeing everyone out on the road, this Fall.

Purchase your tickets to see Ice Nine Kills on the “In Our Wake” tour by visiting the link below:

“The Silver Scream (Part 1): The American Nightmare”

“The Silver Scream (Part 2): Thank God It’s Friday”

“The Silver Scream (Part 3): A Grave Mistake”

Pre-Order The Silver Scream

Stay connected: