Queensrÿche Singer Todd La Torre & Producer Zeuss Break Down Writing & Recording Process on New LP
Jimmy Kay from Canada's The Metal Voice recently spoke in depth to Queensrÿche singer Todd La Torre and Producer Zeuss (Rob Zombie, Over Kill, Sanctuary, Hatebreed) about the writing and recording of the bands upcoming new studio album Digital Noise Alliance that will be released on October 7 via Century Media.
Chris "Zeuss" Harris, previously worked with Queensrÿche on 2015's "Condition Hüman" and "The Verdict" LPs.
Photo by Todd La Torre
Watch full interview here
When asked who did the drumming on the new album? "It was a 100% Casey. The only thing I was just inputting was ideas. Like oh man I thought of a cool thing here and I might talk to Casey or I would get on the drums and show him the part that I was hearing and if he liked it or the band liked it or it might have been implemented. I did not play one single drum bit nothing. This was a hundred percent Casey. I was just a co-collaborator as is everyone else in the band." Todd "We did some writing sessions in a mansion in Florida at Hulk Hogan's old house. So we were working there and they have this huge ass room that's just simply amazing and I said to Todd, we have to do the drums here (mansion) This has got to happen, we need to make this happen. And the kind folks that owned the house let us go there to record the drums. It's probably some of the best drum sounds I've ever gotten. And by the way, to all the jackoffs out there that think they are fake (drums) or they're all sound replaced, trust me there's a mic on the top and bottom of every drum, everything that you hear is 100 percent ." Zeuss When asked how many songs they wrote for the new album "I think the hardest part with the new album was choosing the songs because we had a lot of good stuff this time. We had like 20, 23, 24, songs ideas. I would say some of them might have been not as far along but they could have been probably made into a song. We also have to think like how the album is going to be. So sometimes there was a choice on picking a song not that it was better than another one. For example we need like a faster paced song on the record because we have like 6 mid tempos songs " Zeuss "At some point Zeuss was like, guys we have to commit and pick the songs and then we'll refine those and if there's a chunk from something else that we really love we can try to find a way to incorporate that into the chosen tracks." Todd
Pre order new album here https://queensryche.lnk.to/DigitalNoiseAlliance
When asked about if there was a strict a deadline when making the new Album "When Zeuss was down here (Florida) right before we went out on the Judas Priest tour, I was still cutting vocal tracks to finish up some loose ends, even some lead vocals like the night before he had to tear all his (studio) stuff down and and he went to bed at 3, 4 in the morning. It was like down to the last literally, last second. The record label has a deadline and there's a lot of stuff that is involved behind the scenes. Not just well, we'll put the record out whenever we want. There are deadlines and commitments and tours routed around a release date so if we didn't put this thing out we wouldn't be doing the touring that's already scheduled to support the record and so on. So there's a lot of things involved. " Todd "But obviously if you know that it's totally not ready you have to say it's just not ready, which we've done before. When you get to a certain point, like on this record, we knew that we could complete it but it was just down to the wire." Zeuss When asked about the second single Forest "This is one of my favorite songs on the new record by the way. What I love about the song is the space. It's spacious, it's mature, there's layering, it's not linear and on 11 the whole time. There are peaks and valley's. This song to me is a mature piece of music. it's simple but it's very effective, it's profound and I love the the spatial qualities about it, it's just such a refreshing change from the constant sing high notes or chugs on the guitars. That music too is all fine and good but the beauty of Queensrÿche is the backyard is pretty big and we can do stuff like this and the song is still kind of within the boundaries of the yard that we have." Todd "The great thing about the band is I can suggest something really weird and odd and it would still work with the band because they have done so much in their career with experimenting and trying things and they have a lot left in the tank." Zeuss
When asked about the lyrical theme on first two singles, 'In Extremis' and 'Forest' "I write dark content, I don't usually write happy sounding stuff. That song 'In Extremis' is about being on your deathbed and you're in the hospital and your hearing is the last sense to go when you pass away. So it's about that perspective they think that you're not responsive, that you probably can't hear them, that you're just laying there, they're talking to you but you're not responding. If I'm writing something that's grim or dark or whatever or it's in the less comfortable side of life that people should try to shy away from or they don't want to go there. That song has a profound meaning. That's where I live and there are a lot of times I will approach it this way, not a pessimistic way but a very pragmatic way. But then it will evolve into there's light at the end of the tunnel and in the song 'Forest' it says help me find a way through this maze of misery lost without a trace, yesterday's a memory. But then it says come see me in my dreams you know it's inviting that presence to come see me I'm not afraid of you come, l embrace. I think everybody was expecting another rocker and we were like you know what they're going to get all that exactly let's really put this out because we believe in it and it is something different there's a million bands doing hard heavy stuff we are not we're gonna cut right through all that because we're just doing something different. On this song it's such a an important topic I have blown away by the support and the feedback people are sharing their stories, things like I just lost my mom two weeks ago or I buried my 15 year old daughter a year ago, all these stories that people want to share. They're grown men, man I'm crying as I type this thank you, you really this is this is that's what music's all about you know striking a nerve." Todd When asked about other lyrical topics on the new album "There's another song I'm not gonna say which one yet because there's a music video for that song coming soon but it talks about today's generation with this constant almost like a lack of respect you know there's this overstepping, this traffic. It's all this fast-paced stuff and it talks about this social change that's happening with people on Tick Tock, look at me but they don't promote anything. Everyone is so attention starved. This song on the album talks about this newer age that we live in. If I didn't have to promote Queensrÿche or my music, I would delete my Facebook today. I would delete my Twitter today. I'm very thankful of the interaction and the positive feedback and the support that people give through those platforms, so it's not to undermine them for using those platforms. That is not what I am saying. What I'm saying is I have no need to say look at me just because I feel like I need attention believe me I would rather be off the grid but because I do have this thing that I'm trying to promote and it's how I earn a living that's why I have it. And that is not knocking other people that don't have anything to promote that are on these platforms that support the bands, that's it's just me personally. I do engage with the audience that supports what I do. That being said I really could be totally happy probably happier if I weren't involved on the grid. " Todd
When asked about the musical direction of the new album for someone who has never heard of the band before " I would say this, it can be heavy at times, it can be intimate at times, the vocal range is all over the map. There's dual leads for the guitar players out there and there's really classic dueling harmony solos, creative drumming and interesting keyboard work. As far as the compositions on the record there's a lot of variety, there's a lot of ups and downs there's a few surprises for sure. This record has some really cool industrial- ish ear candy. On Rage for Order' they had all this like sampling and programming and sequencing and stuff like that and there's some of that stuff in this record too " Zeuss "I would say it's a melodic hard rock band with metal and progressive elements, there's softness and real heavy stuff and there's everything in between so there's a nice variety." Todd When asked what Queensrÿche album in the back catalog it can be compared to "It has elements of all their best material. I would say if you took all of the songs the are summarized from albums one to six. The first thing I wanted to do when I first started working with the band is get the F- guitars back (higher in the mix) and I think we succeeded with that " Zeuss
What's the meaning behind that of the album title Digital Noise Alliance "It's actually more complicated than I can explain it. When we you look at the DNA of the Tri-ryche and you're like what does that mean? You have this evolution of society where we are in a digital age. There are people that meet online that never met in person before, there are people that are part of support groups online that they feel comfortable whether it's they were abused or it's substance abuse problems. There's a lot of support and help with groups and things that are online. People might not have the courage to go in person but there's this buffer because they're behind their computer but they can still be part of this network. There's so many things that are intertwined with the digital aspect of the title it's how we're evolving as a society right. The noise aspect, it's pretty noisy out there it's there's a lot happening, social media is a big example. For example if you if you took away the internet what would the political divide really be in the United States. There's a lot of there's a lot happening, it's a very noisy environment. Then the Alliance you know we are Queensrÿche and we are evolving, societies are are evolving. I'm probably doing a disservice to the title right at the off the top of my head but it's all encompassing of society, geopolitical things, human nature and the evolution of the human species and the human condition and all of that is encompassed in the lyrics of this record. That was one of the things we loved about the album title and Zeuss was there coming up with the album title with us. We were talking about these concepts and he said you know what about this this it sounds really cool. And Michael Wilton and the guys have always said you know it's in our DNA. " Todd " A fan messaged me and he said something about the DNA of the band and I kept bringing up DNA, not Digital Noise Alliance but just DNA as a as a topic, and I was like well I wonder if we could like take that as and run with that somehow and it ended up working out." Zeuss Track List for Queensrÿche Digital Noise Alliance In Extremis Chapters Lost in Sorrow Sicdeth Behind the Walls Nocturnal Light Out of the Black Forest Realms Hold On Tormentum Rebel Yell (Cover)
QUEENSRŸCHE - Forest (OFFICIAL VIDEO
QUEENSRŸCHE - In Extremis (OFFICIAL VIDEO)
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