(Today’s post kicks off a series of 4 posts containing original interviews with the members of chiptune rock band I Fight Dragons as they geared up for the release of their new album, “The Near Future”, public release date December 9 of 2014. Interviews were conducted primarily through email, with supplemental information provided via telephone. This first post focuses on Chad Van Dahm, drummer and all-around great guy.)
On stage, Chad Van Dahm shies away from the spotlight. He prefers it that way. “I like being behind the scenes. I’m also the only 25 year old that doesn’t own a computer,” he asserts, acknowledging that of all the members of I Fight Dragons, Chicago’s homegrown chiptune rock act, he has the least presence on the band’s website.
However, his bandmates see him in a different light. When asked whether Chad is a reticent person on the whole, Brian Mazzaferri (IFD’s vocalist and lyricist, among other prominent roles) countered, “In a personal sense, that’s not true at all,” and described Chad as a “social butterfly.” When it’s time to compose and rehearse, Chad definitely makes his presence known! He uses a “call and respond” method to play counterpoint to IFD’s chiptune instrumentation: “I can play off the chip sounds to create a unique sound.”
Chad’s inspiration to pick up drumsticks came from the rock legend Keith Moon. Of all the bandmates, Chad is the least geeky; Brian, with a laugh, will tell you that playing NFL Blitz on the Nintendo 64 is as geek as Chad gets. He likes crime, mob, and thriller movies, gaining special enjoyment from them due to his law enforcement education. The fraternity, brotherhood, and loyalty of Chicago cops is a big part of Chad’s identity. But Brian states that this difference in interests does not cause tension between Chad and the other members of IFD. “Chad is the most get-along guy in the world!” And above all else, Chad’s love of drumming motivates him to be involved. “If you love to play and wanna get better there is nothing better in the world than hitting that first note in a big room and making it shake.”
Chad believes that the band’s diehard following comes directly from the band members’ accessibility and enthusiasm for personal connection. “We interact with fans on a personal level and we like to get to know them just as much as they want to get to know us,” he says matter-of-factly. He also believes that the vinyl release of The Near Future was a good move for the band, boasting happily that “this vinyl is a piece of art. It’s gorgeous.” If you haven’t placed your order yet, a copy can be purchased online through the band’s digital store. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s scoop on IFD’s bassist, Hari Rao!