Sevendust Talks "Black Out the Sun"
Wed, 13 Mar 2013 12:31:13
"I think this is us at our purest form," Sevendust singer Lajon Witherspoon says of his band's new album Black Out the Sun. "We gave it our all, and it was a magical experience in the studio."
As far as Sevendust albums go, Black Out the Sun wields the same ferocity that made their self-titled debut, Home, and Animosity classics. At the same time, there's a sense of refinement, and the band's songwriting has evolved once again. As a result, it's both the most bludgeoning and beautiful record that band has put out yet. It's powerful enough to Black Out the Sun.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Sevendust main man Lajon Witherspoon talks Black Out the Sun and so much more.
How did the process for Black Out the Sun start?
We had this year off, and we decided to go into the studio without any material. We wrote a song a day. It was just a bunch of guys who love each other and love what we do as far as being in the band together and writing music. We were able to do that. We had thirty days. We went in from noon until midnight every day except for Saturdays. We'd go back on Sunday. There was a lot of work being done, and it was incredible..
Was it easier since you didn't have any pre-conceived notions about what the record should be or did that make the process more difficult?
It was difficult at times. We were a little anxious still like, "What's this record going to sound like?" It was exciting for everybody because we were pumping the songs out. It was a good energy. I felt like the machine was running well. It was well-oiled. It was easy for us.
Was there a moment that it all came into focus?
I felt like it was coming together immediately the first day when we wrote the "Black Out the Sun" music. It was really cool and different. That right there was an eye-opener like, "This is going to be good". There was immediate good energy in there. I saw a flag fly up the first day we got to the studio.
What's the story behind "Faithless"?
It's about losing faith. You always have to believe in something. I feel like people have lost faith a lot. That's the story behind that song. It ended up being "Faithless". We were going to putting that song in the set soon so watch out [Laughs].
Where did "Cold As War" come from?
It's the coldness of how people treat each other. It's the negative and dark side. There are so many ways to explain it. That's one of my favorite songs. Joey Belladonna from Anthrax heard it in the studio, and he had a tear come to his eye. He had chill bumps over his whole body. That was pretty damn cool. He's a good buddy of ours. Not too long ago, we played upstate New York, and he came out. He was at the sound check, and he hung all the way through the show. He's an awesome cat! Hearing the album and giving that type of thumbs up and respect was incredible. As far as other songs go, I like "Nobody Wants It". Damn, I love them all! We put "Decay" and "Till Death" in the set already too.
"Till Death" is one of your heaviest songs ever.
You nailed it right on the head! We go from the most melodic song we've ever done to the heaviest on the album. It's a beautiful thing to be able to do that. I appreciate that. I feel like we're blessed.
What were into while making the record?
Really, it was all about the music. From noon until midnight, that's all we had. There might be a football game here or there. I don't remember focusing on anything except what we were doing. We did hang out with the guys from Ours. I listened to some of their music on the way to the studio. They're a great band.
Is it important for you to tell stories and paint pictures with the songs?
Definitely! I think that's what it's all about. I feel like an album is just canvas. We paint this picture. It's like a collage, and it taps into every emotion. It definitely tells stories. As we've gotten older, we've become better storytellers. You can't give up in the face of life's obstacles. That's what I'm trying to live my life by, and it reflects in this album.
Do you feel like you're looking outward more?
I believe so. I can definitely say I'm looking outside and inside more.
What are you listening to right now?
I've been listening to rock, some dance, and jazz. Last night, we were listening to the Mark Tremonti album All I Was in the dressing room. I like that. John was jamming some In Flames. It goes all the way around with the music. We love it. I love the Tremonti record. I was up at his house not too long ago, and we all got to jam together. It was a rock show at his house [Laughs].
If you were to compare Black Out the Sun to a movie or a combination of movies, what would you compare it to?
I'd say a James Bond movie, but not a new one. It'd be an older one with new footage [Laughs]. You know the cool era. That's awesome!
What's the first thing that comes to mind, when you think of the first Sevendust album?
We're very lucky and blessed that people still appreciate it. We were so young. It's still hitting hard. People still want to hear "Black"! We just put "Bitch" back in the set, and that's crazy. The songs still sound good. It was a little weird making it. We were working with different people at the time, and they felt like they knew what was going on more than we did. It was a really weird process. We got through the record. It was interesting. I was 21-years-old when we signed the record deal and went into the studio and started recording. It was an experience.
What's your favorite Sevendust song?