By Monica Ng
I’ve seen One in the Chamber’s name mentioned here and there on social media, but most recently through Sara Sunshine (IG: @sara_sunshine_meredith) and Canadian band Stuck on Planet Earth’s (IG: @stuckonplanetearth) posts/stories. I figured that I should take some time to listen to their music – afterall, Toronto has some wicked musicians.
October 30, 2021 – Halloween Rock N Eve (Fundraising concert in support of frontline workers at Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation)
November 16, 2021 – The Rose Brampton (with Stuck on Planet Earth)
Blow (single) – 2020
To the Gallows (single) – 2020
I’ve Got Something to Say (EP) – 2018 – Crooked Step, Bills to Pay, The Ballad of Captain Jack, Something to Say and Itchin’ Back
The Boston Session: Bootleg Demos – 2017
This self-described dirty rock ‘n roll Toronto-based band is made up of Mike Biase (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Cecil Eugene (lead guitar/backing vocals), Christian Dotto (bass) and Gerrod Harris (drums). One in the Chamber (“OITC”) is on a roll with over 20,000 Spotify streams, more than 10,000 followers on social media, and their album “I’ve Got Something to Say” being named as “Canadian EP of the Year” following its release by Canadian Beats and their readers.
Me: I’m delighted to have this opportunity to get to know the four of you. You guys are LOUD and banging – I love it! I admit that I haven’t been listening much to heavier rock lately, but I think I’m ready for some head banging. What I like about rock ‘n roll is that you can just let go of everything and ride the music. The pandemic has affected so many industries, but now that things are opening up again here in Toronto – let’s hear it…How was Voodo Rockfest?
Gerrod: Thanks for having us! Voodoo Rockfest was unreal. It was amazing to be back on stage and to see so many of our friends in other bands for the first time in almost two years.
Christian: Nice to meet you, Monica! Thanks for having us!
Me: Pleasure’s mine! And thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedules for this interview. You guys are really great with social media. When I first followed you, I got a DM asking what made me follow you with links to your socials. I find that music is a whole new experience when you have an opportunity to interact with musicians through commenting and DMs. That being said, I can imagine that managing your socials is a full-time job in itself. With over 10K followers, how do you manage and where do you draw the line between band life and your personal lives?
Gerrod: We try to keep it as professional and in tone with the band as much as possible. We have so much going on that we never feel that we need to post about our personal lives. It’s nice having the separation.
Christian: It really is a pleasure to connect with these people. We’ve met some of the most amazing fans and some truly cool musicians this way.
Me: I posted on my social media that I fell in love with your softer song Just for Tonight. It may sound weird, but it IS possible to fall in love with a song. I’ve only experienced this feeling twice in my life – the first time was Lewis Capaldi’s song Someone You Loved. If I try to describe it, I would say that your song has this way of wrapping itself around me and carrying me in such an intangible emotional way. It’s been on repeat for a while now. So, thank you for this beautiful song. What inspires your music and your latest singles Blow and To the Gallows?
Mike: I generally write lyrics first. I always keep a notebook or paper around and I have pages and pages of lyrics written about whatever comes to mind. Sometimes I would end up writing music to them. For lyrics my inspiration has generally come from what is going on in my life (songs like Just for Tonight or Bills to Pay). Since being in OITC though, I’ve found that I like hearing the music first, and writing lyrics that come from the song. That was the case with songs like Blow and To the Gallows. The music has its own emotion and the words come out of it. I still write a lot in my books, but I find I’m also writing guitar licks and lines more often now, such as Itchin’ Back, and then putting lyrics in once we’ve written the music.
Christian: Wow! Thank you for the compliment! Just for Tonight (Stay) is a song that we recorded in Boston with former Bang Tango guitarist, Scott LaFlamme. The bassline that I wrote was inspired by an idea that Scott had given me at the time and was far more interesting than what I was playing during rehearsals. Blow and To the Gallows were written in a more organic way than Just for Tonight (Stay) was. Mike immediately expressed how the riff was too heavy, so he started messing around with it on his guitar and eventually created the main riff that you hear in the song. The original riff was still salvaged though, as that is what Cecil plays in the first verse of the song!
Me: It’s nice to hear the story behind my favourite song. Congratulations – I read that you guys recently made it to the semi-finals in 97.7 HTZ FM’s annual Rocksearch competition. How did you get involved in the competition and what’s the story behind how you guys formed as a band?
Gerrod: It really meant a lot to us to be recognized by 97.7 in 2020’s Rocksearch. It is a Canadian institution that has promoted some of the coolest bands to come out of our country for the last two decades and it was amazing to have been a part of that.
Cecil: The band formed in 2015. At the time, the band I was playing with was in the midst of breaking up, so I decided to get a bunch of guys together to start a rock/hard rock band. I knew Mike from the pub I worked at, which was at York University. We had played a few gigs together before, so when I saw him waiting in line on pub night, I asked him if he wanted to start a band, and so we were the first two members of OITC. I hosted jazz nights at the pub and one night Gerrod subbed in as a drummer for a group that I booked regularly. The guitarist in the group worked at the pub as well and gave me Gerrod’s number, saying he was looking for a rock band, so I gave him a call. We met up at one of the university’s music rooms and the three of us jammed the early stages of Bills to Pay. One night, I was talking to my brother, telling him we were still searching for a bass player. He told me to message Chris because he was also looking for a band and played bass. After a few months, we decided to name the band One in the Chamber and played our first gig at The Valley Bar and Grill in Mississauga.
Me: I love those stories…how destiny brought you together! I’m sure you get asked this all the time – how did you choose your band’s name? I stumbled upon another rock band with the same name while checking out your music. How can fans avoid confusion on this front?
Gerrod: I’m sorry to the hear that! To my understanding, we are the only active band with the name, but follow us on our socials and website to see everything from us firsthand.
Christian: It actually took us about a month to finally decide on a band name. We had close to ten ideas that we’d narrowed down to a top three, and finally agreed that One in the Chamber was the name for us.
Gerrod: One in the Chamber is about making your one shot count.
Me: Cheers to first shots! I enjoy hearing how musicians first get into music. When did you guys pick up your first instrument and what other instruments do you play?
Mike: My dad used to listen to Q107 every morning taking us to school, so I started listening to rock music at a young age. My mum played guitar as well so I was surrounded by music all the time. I played trumpet in band in elementary school and picked up guitar when I was 12.
Gerrod: I grew up with music playing in my house all the time, but I started playing the drums in the seventh grade. Since then, I’ve learnt a little guitar but drums have always been my passion.
Christian: I also grew up around music. My parents would always have rock and metal music playing in the house and on car rides. When I was about 13 years old, I got my first electric guitar and picked up the drums and bass guitar in high school.
Me: Wow, your houses were rocking! Sounds like music is in your blood. As you may know, I interview musicians (mostly Canadian because I’m a huge supporter of my fellow Canadians) out of pure passion. What I love is that I have a chance to ask my questions and learn about them and what drives them. If you had to describe yourself in 2- 3 words, what would they be?
Gerrod: Dirty, rock and roll.
Mike: Hairy, hard hitting.
Me: That’s so funny and most awesome! I would have never expected those descriptions. I’ve received feedback from previous interviews that it’s really hard to pick 3 favourite musicians, but to get a feel for where you’re coming from – who are yours?
Mike: Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen.
Gerrod: If we’re talking drummers, I’d say John Bonham, Chad Smith and Danny Carrey.
Christian: That is a tough one. I’m going to narrow it down, like Gerrod, and stick to bass players – Cliff Burton, Geezer Butler and Geddy Lee.
Me: I like getting answers to this question because I get to discover more musicians. You guys are so personable and down-to-earth. I would imagine that those traits are assets in the music industry. Any advice for anyone starting their music careers?
Gerrod: Be kind, actively pay attention to the business side and never stop learning.
Christian: Also be genuine. People can see right through you if you’re being pretentious or trying too hard. If you’re doing what you love, just have fun with it!
Mike: Leave your heart and soul on stage every time you play.
Me: Love it guys. It’s been great chatting and I look forward to seeing you guys in concert.
Everyone – don’t forget to follow these rocking dudes on socials and check out their music.
Guys, is there anything you wish to share before we wrap things up?
Christian: Thanks again for having us, Monica. See you around!
Gerrod: Thank you for your time! Hope to see you at a show soon!