TRICKS OF THE TRADE: Vocals – Alex Koehler (Chelsea Grin)

When it comes to modern deathcore, Utah’s Chelsea Grin are a regular name that is batted around alongside peers such as Suicide Silence and Whitechapel, to name but a few. Putting aside their ability to polarise opinions wherever they tread, frontman Alex Koehler‘s inhuman shrieks and hefty roars are certainly commended by many, no doubt inspiring many others to pick up a microphone and scream out their lungs just like him. We spoke with the vocalist about his craft, and ask him to share his tricks of the trade.


I just like anything aggressive and interesting, I suppose. The first metal bands that I ever listened to were Arch Enemy, Slipknot, Killswitch Engage and Zao, though I’m currently listening to a lot of Lana Del Rey. As for other vocalists, I really like Jamie Hanks from I Declare War. That dude is a beast, and actually taught me a lot.


It all depends on your voice. Everyone is different. I recommend watching The Zen Of Screaming by Melissa Cross. I would love to get some one-on-one time with her in the future. I think she’s great!


I use The Zen Of Screaming exercises for about 15 minutes before I perform. She covers all of the basics and you learn a lot. If it begins to hurt, you’re doing it all wrong, and you should try a different approach. Make sure you stay consistent with your warm-ups, too.


After a show, practice or recording session I won’t talk at all. Shutting up is the best way to recover. It helps to keep a supply of ginger root, throat coat and riccola. I try to eat healthy as much as possible. Although, eating healthy on the road can be difficult sometimes. If you do hurt yourself, munch on some ginger root, drink tea, and get a lot of rest. Your whole body is your instrument when it comes to vocals, so take care of it.


I hope my fans can use this advice to their benefit. It took me a long time to get my voice where it’s at today, and it takes a whole lot of trial and error. Just don’t give up!

Chelsea Grin‘s third studio album, ‘Ashes To Ashes’, is out in the UK on August 4th 2014 through Artery Recordings/Razor & Tie.

Are you in a band? Do you own a label or PR company? Want to share your experience and tips with others aspiring to do the same thing? Get in touch with our features editor, MG Savage (email or Twitter), and we can share your tricks of the trade.

Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)