Rolling Stone guitarist, Keith Richards once wrote in his memoir, Life, that “music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.” The genre-switching alternative rock band from Livermore, CA, Crowned In Chains, captures the essence of this quote as they share their genuine and vulnerable stories of pain and joy through one of the most expressive tools that there is—music.
Crowned In Chains’ debut album takes its listeners on a journey using elements from 80’s funk-rock, early 2000’s pop-punk, reggae, southern-rock, a jazzy acoustic guitar piece, and even a song that could be considered an “Irish/Hip-Hop/Rock Anthem.” The band aims to tell a story with the best genre that fits that particular story. All the lyrics and melodies are carefully crafted and woven together to, as Keith Richards has put it, speak in emotions from the bones.
“I write the lyrics about whatever I am going through and whatever I am feeling. God’s a part of it sometimes, but realistically I don’t always include him in that thought process,” said Daniel Sherman (Drums, Vocals, Lyrics) referring to the lyrics in many of the songs.
Sherman describes the album as a journey from the moment he began his battle with depression, to how he drove himself to a state of near-suicide, and then to a song that he wrote in the exact moment he discovered a life worth living.
“You’re writing down the emotions of exactly how you feel in that situation,” said Jacob Woll (Guitar, Keys, Vocals, Melodies/Composition). “Overall the story may have a Christian theme, but the individual songs on the album don’t always adhere to that.”
The band credits that what unites them is “not just pain, but also the joy and strength that comes from being a ‘slave’ to God’s will.” The band finds their namesake, “Crowned In Chains,” and their inspiration from a passage in the Bible, James 1:12, where it says, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life.” Although the band finds inspiration from God and even met each other through their church, the band doesn’t consider themselves to be a “Christian band.”
“We definitely have that same goal and that mindset, but we are definitely trying to reach out to a non-Christian audience,” said Woll. “All of our music, except for our last song doesn’t even talk about God. Our goal is just to write music and to reach a secular audience with our story.”
Although they do not consider themselves a “Christian band,” what Crowned In Chains, presents themselves to be is an extremely passionate group of young people who love music and has a talent for expressing themselves through song.
“Most of my family right now actually plays in our church band,” said Aaron Collins who plays bass. “I kind of grew up with music. I wanted to play all sorts of instruments, and I didn’t want to limit myself. So, I started playing everything.”
Brothers, Tyler Craig (Electric Guitar) and Ian Craig (Keys, Cello) spoke about how they were also brought up in music.
“Music has always been a big part of our family,” said Tyler Craig. “Our grandparents on our dad side were a traveling Southern Gospel group. My dad yodeled and all that, but my grandfather was a really good guitarist. A huge influence for me is a band called Colony House. Their guitarist, Scott Mills is an amazing guitarist. I’ve kind of taken their patterns and different sounds that they make from their guitarist. I follow their pedalboard setups and follow in their pattern with their lead lines.”
The two brothers, similar to the rest of the band, has also quickly picked up other instruments which have contributed to Crowned In Chains’ diverse range sound.
“My mom was a piano major and taught piano her whole life,” said Ian Craig. “I wanted to learn cello so that I could play duets with my mom. I ended up learning cello, and I played with all these different orchestras and quartet groups. I wanted to learn something new because it was kind of getting boring just playing one thing. I taught myself piano and then became classically trained before I got dragged into chords by Jacob who convinced me to pick it up about six months ago.”
However wide-ranging their talents are or however many genres their songs collectively touch upon, the band members of Crowned In Chains can agree on a single message of living a life not for others, but for yourself.
“The message is that there is a greater purpose out there, and there is a much better ending to my story because I found God than there would have been if I didn’t have him,” said Sherman. “Even if you don’t believe in God, and that’s not where this album takes you, then just observe where your priorities are in life and where you are finding your worth. Don’t put it in the way other people see you because that will always disappoint you. You have to find that greater purpose that gives you a life worth living.”
The band currently has two singles out, King Suffering and Failure, which you can listen to now on Spotify. Their debut album will be released November 2, 2018, and will be available everywhere music is sold. For more information about the band, you can visit their website crownedinchains.com.