SEVENDUST’S CLINT LOWERY CHATS NEW ALBUM WITH METALSUCKS IN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
Though Clint Lowery rejoined Sevendust two years ago, the group’s new album Cold Day Memory — out April 20th — will be the first Sevendust record to feature his writing contributions since 2004’s Butch Walker-produced affair Seasons. Most folks agree that the last three Lowery-less Sevendust records seemed to be missing something, an idea that Lowery acknowledges in our brief chat, but Lowery couldn’t be happier to be back writing new music with his brothers again.
I recently called up Clint to talk about the new album, the writing process, any pressure that he may be feeling now that he’s back in the band, what’s changed since the last time, and what he and the band were trying to accomplish with the new record.
Our chat, after the jump.
You’re on tour with Drowning Pool now, is that right? How’s that tour going so far?
So far it’s good. We’ve only done 4 shows. We did 4 in a row right out of the gate. We’ve known those guys forever, man. They’re just old friends – being on the road with some brothers. It’s going good. The show is good. There’s a bunch of people every night, and it’s awesome. We’re trying out new songs, and it’s been really cool.
What new songs are you playing and how are they going over?
We’re playing “Forever Dead” and the song “Unraveling” which I sing on. They’re going over good. At first it’s always kind of weird when you play a song that people don’t know, but it’s been the best reaction of new songs that we’ve ever played. We put it on Myspace and different things like that. The die-hards will get on there and listen to them and know them pretty well by the time we come around [on tour]. It’s been awesome. It’s good to kind of get a reaction out of a song that people don’t know because they’re still kind of learning it.
So “Unraveling” is going to be the single. Is that official?
Yeah, that’s official.
Awesome. So are you guys going to film a video for that and do a whole radio campaign and everything?
I don’t know if we’re going to film a video. The video isn’t as successful for us anymore as far as getting played. We’d love to do one, but we’ll just put the song out and see how it does. If we need to do a video, we will. I’m sure we’ll do some sort of video element to go along with it on the Internet. I don’t know if it’s going to be any kind of high production video.
Yeah. Well, you were very involved personally in the studio videos, which I followed, and I thought were really cool. How did you come to the idea to do that? What did you get out of the experience of doing it?
Man, I just want people to know what the process is with us. We’re kind of an anti-rockstar band. We just like being one with our fans and being on the same page with them. A lot of bands try to be mysterious and do all these different things, and I can kind of see how it’s appealing to some people, but for us we just want to bring them along with the process. I’ve always wanted to do that. I just want to film a little bit because every day there’s some goofy stuff that goes on, and it might be funny for people to see this and see the process. I just wanted to kind of capture that, and I started doing it. I got the Flipcam, and we actually have a guy doing an [official] “making of the recording” video of the record. So that will be coming out with the album as well. Obviously it’ll be a little better production [compared to the studio updates] as far as video. Mine was just me walking around and filming stuff. This guy is putting together an incredible “making of” and you really see what goes on with our albums and how we make them.
I thought they were really cool. I enjoyed them. It seems like a lot of people watched them. Every one that I looked at had 3, 4, 5 thousand views at least.
That’s always good, man. Again, once you set something up like that, it kind of gets a little bit of a following as well. People know that you’re doing it, so they’ll stay tuned. That’s what I like doing — making it a set thing that we’ll always do because it takes 2 seconds to do it, and it means a lot to them. I try to look at it the way I would look at it if there was a band I was into; I would love to have that kind of insight on what they do and how they do it and be a part of it. So I just try and do what I would want a band to do.
From those videos, you guys seem to be getting along really well, everything seemed to be going smoothly in the studio and there were good vibes all around. Is that the case or was there some shit behind the scenes that we don’t see?
There’s always going to be little debates and stuff. We’re in a good place right now. I personally had a lot of stress during the record, and I was in a lot of different parts of it, but it was the good kind of stress where it was kind of cool. Any of the stuff that was going on around us, we didn’t take it out on each other, we took it out on the elements – the things that were pissing us off, the construction workers and all that. We were missing our homes and everything. We kind of get tighter instead of getting angry at each other.
What was your role in terms of writing this time around? I know it’s been a long time since you wrote with these guys, so how was it?
It was cool. I was gone for a while. They were kind of allowing me to step in a little more than usual and make up for lost time (so to speak). They let me have free reign with a lot of stuff. Obviously it is always a group effort with us, but my part was writing music, lyrics and melodies. I do a lot of hands on with every part of the writing process. It was really cool, man. Everyone had really good ideas, and it was a fresh approach on this record. We didn’t try to make the heaviest record or the lightest record; we were just trying to make a good album.
So them giving you more of a voice this time around to make up for lost time, how do you think that affected the music? What element of it is it that you bring to the table that was missing in the prior 3 albums?
I’m bringing in what I do. I have a certain way that I write riffs, a certain way that I write vocals, and a certain way that I write lyrics. I think my role mainly was to kind of pinpoint and help them see their niche and see what they’re really good at. They had done those 3 records and lost sight of a couple of different things. I was just there to kind of help pick those out. Lajon is a really good singer and needed to sing more. It was a kind of producer-type element too. It was like “well maybe we should do this” as far as arranging the songs and stuff. They let me just kind of, not run the show by any means, but let me voice a lot of opinions because I was an outside entity. I could see outside for awhile and see where I felt were the strong points of the band and let them be who they are.
How did you approach writing differently than you did for either Sevendust in the past or Dark New Day when you were doing that or even your solo record?
It’s just different. You have a different singer, you’ve got a different set of guys. It’s different. Sevendust has a sound that will always be a sound, and John (Connolly) is a very strong writer so you have to cater to that when you play anything. I can play a riff that I wrote during the day, but I would play it with Morgan and it sounds like Sevendust immediately. What I write, I write what I always write, but when I do it with them it becomes Sevendust.
With you saying that you had more of a producer’s role, did that ever come into conflict with what Johnny K was doing or did you guys work together or did he run the show? What was the process like?
I don’t think it was like a producer’s role. We all, as a band, co-produced the record, and Johnny knew that going in. It’s not a thing where we’re stepping on toes. It’s all about winning the battles and making the songs as good as they can be. We’ll contribute ideas on how to do that. I was just trying to contribute ideas to that, and some days Morgan will have the producer role or Corey, my brother, would. He was a big part of the producing role. He did all the pre-production, so there’s a lot of different things that can be under that title “producer role”.
As far as production and programming and how long we do certain sections of a song, Johnny was the same as us. He just wanted the best end result.
What was it like working with Johnny?
It was cool, man. He’s different. He takes his time. It’s not a method that I’ve ever really done before.
It was good, man. Johnny has his really strong points, and when he’s focused, he’s awesome. Sometimes he had a lot going on while we were doing the record, so we had to step up when he was not there. My brother came up and recorded some vocals because Johnny just wore a lot of hats. He’s hands on with a lot of stuff, and he couldn’t handle some of the stuff. So we got my brother to come up and record some vocals. He had Justin Walden to come in and do the programming. We had a couple of different guys that kind of relieved Johnny a little bit because he had a lot of stuff going on in the short amount of time we had to record it.
So was Johnny working on other projects at the same time?
No, no his studio was being built as we were doing it. He had a kid on the way. It was a lot of personal stuff going on.
Oh I see. Got it. Well that’s cool. How is this record different or a step forward or whatever it is? What’s the deal with this record musically speaking?
I think it has good songs. I think this is a pure Sevendust record. It’s got all the elements: LJ’s vocals, my vocals, Morgan’s vocals, our kind of riffs, when it’s melodic it is really melodic, and when it’s heavy it is really heavy. I think it is one of the stronger “song” records that we have ever put out. All the songs mean something. There are no filler songs. It’s a real potent record, I think. I think it summarizes everything that this band is.
What’s your goal with this record? Are you guys trying to accomplish anything in terms of touring or musically speaking? What is the big plan?
We’re just trying to expose more people to the band, and the people who are already exposed, win their love again. We just want to be a successful band; whatever that means to us. Success means surviving, paying our bills, having people come to watch our shows and enjoy it, and giving the fans what they want. It’s a bunch of different things like that. To us we don’t have to sell a billion records, we just want to be able to survive, and we’ve been able to do that.
Do you feel like after coming back to the band from a long absence that you had something to prove with this record?
Yeah, man, absolutely. That was the pressure I was talking about. I didn’t want them to be like “well now that Clint’s back, now they’re going to start being this way or that way.” I just wanted that… now that the original 5 of us are back we make better music. I think we’ve achieved that. I think we did a better record than the last 3. I think it’s better than some of the ones I was on. I don’t know. I think we accomplished that, but it’s for [other] people to determine that now.
Yeah. I notice that you’re really into Twitter.
You know… it’s a social network.
What do you think of Twitter in general as a means of connecting with fans or people?
I have a personal one. I don’t have it setup for fans. We have a Sevendust one where I’ll connect with fans on that one. It’s all talk. Sometimes people use it to know stuff, you know. I don’t put too much thought into it to be honest with you.
It’s cool to see a little snapshot into somebody’s life, even if it’s only certain segments. What’s next for you guys after this tour?
Just touring. We’ll be touring for a while. There’s not very much to say. We don’t have any epic event. We’ll tour for a year to support the record.
Photo credits (in order): adamophotography.com, Larry Perez/Nique Prokop (Trip.6 Design), Stahly Photography, “Kel“