Interview: Disturbed on "Asylum"
Tue, 31 Aug 2010 18:02:42
You might howl at the moon after spinning Disturbed's new album, Asylum.
"In particular, 'The Animal' is one of our favorites on the record," exclaims bassist John Moyer. "It's a fun tune to play, but David [Draiman, vocals] really dives into what it would be like to have this uncontrollable altered side that comes out and does things that your normal side would never do [Laughs]. It's that classic mythology of the werewolf."
Disturbed definitely unleash their collective inner beast on Asylum and, in the process, they've made the most epic album of their career. First single "Another Way to Die" bounces and burns from a guttural groove and calculatedly chaotic riff. The title track reverberates with an …And Justice For All-style build-up that kicks Disturbed up the proverbial "next level" from the moment the record begins. Asylum is Distubed at their best and most brilliant.
While in the middle of UPROAR, Disturbed bassist John Moyer chatted with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino in this exclusive interview about Asylum, "The Guy," UPROAR and so much more…
Did you have a complete vision for Asylum from the get-go?
There's never a master plan that all of the songs are going to fit together under, but it is important to us that the album flows. We usually go in and record anywhere from 15 to 17 songs. The 12 that make the record don't necessarily make the cut because they're the obvious standout tracks. They make the cut because they're the songs that make the most sense for the flow of the whole album. We can't wait until certain b-sides see the light of day. Our b-sides aren't the typical throwaway songs. For some reason though, the b-sides didn't fit the theme of the record when we started putting it together. David usually comes up with the concept and names. He came up with the Asylum title almost right off the bat. It was the first song. Coming into it, he already had a vision of what he wanted to go for and what the overall record would be from a lyrical standpoint.
The imagery comes across more than ever.
We're very happy about it. Our mascot, "The Guy," as he's called, has definitely gone through some changes. Starting out, he was just a two-dimensional image. Then of course, on Believe, we had that "Believe" symbol which was very cool. On Ten Thousand Fists, we brought "The Guy" into a three-dimensional character via Todd McFarlane. Since then, we've been able to continue making him a more visceral and haunting mascot. We've really achieved that with Asylum.
What's the story behind the album opening combo "Remnants" and "Asylum?"
Really, it's all one song. That's the initial way it was written, and that's how you're supposed to listen to it with "Remnants" going right into "Asylum." However, we realized there was a point there where we could separate the two tracks if someone doesn't want to listen to the beginning instrumental section and instead go right to the aggressive part. To us, it's one song, and we perform it that way live. It's from the mastermind of Dan Donegan! He's a great songwriter; he wanted to start somewhere different for us. He has no intention of writing the same song twice. You're never going to hear us write another "Down With The Sickness." In his quest to expand what we do as a band, this is a natural progression. We've never done a song with a slow beginning that kicked into this aggressive metal epic. It takes you on a journey, and that was Dan's goal writing it. Lyrically, it was one of the first songs that David was inspired by. It sets the tone for the record and the live show. In our show, we're incorporating aspects of video and imagery that we've never done before. We're trying to take what people think they know about Disturbed to the next level. It's something we've never done before and our audience has never seen us do. "Asylum" really lends itself well to that.
Is Uproar the perfect place for you to debut this new stage show?
We feel good about it. The promoter of the tour, John Reese, said he doesn't think anything's been done like this production-wise in the rock/metal world. Between us and Avenged Sevenfold, you're seeing production values and performances that rival what you'd see at a pop concert. The big stage is good for that. Our fans have been loyal to us over the years. They keep buying the records and coming to the shows. We feel like it's our responsibility to up our ante and give them something new and powerful to sink their teeth into.
Do you feel like this is your most epic offering yet?
We think so, but it's always up to the fans to decide. For some records, we decided that we wanted them to be more aggressive than anything we'd done in the past. On this record, we didn't want to over-think it. We simply wanted to take it wherever it felt right musically and push ourselves in directions we'd never gone before. I don't know if it's our fastest record, heaviest record or most lyrically dark record—although it might be [Laugh]. Like you said, for us I think it's our most epic record to date.
If this album were a movie or a combination of movies, what would it be?
There's a movie called The Haunting that's about a millionaire who has a group of people stay in a haunted insane asylum overnight. I think the album is a bit like that. It's also like those horror movies of the '80s—the dark versions of vampires and wolves like Wolfen. It's not the Twilight take on vampires and werewolves—that pretty boy look. Asylum is more indicative of that darker side. It nods t that Jekyll and Hyde character, who was never meant to be pretty or shown in the spotlight. It's like those old scary horror movies, thematically. That's how we feel about. We always have those moments of light as well. It's not only about the pummeling riffs and the dark lyrics. Even though a lot of the lyrics are about hopelessness, not all is lost, and there is a way to get through it and persevere.
What do you think of Asylum?
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