DROWNING POOL Talk Hellelujah - "This Actually Is The Heaviest Record We’ve Ever Made"
February 10, 2016, 2 years ago
For some rock and metal bands, as their career stretches on, the temptation to soften their sound becomes greater. Not the case with Drowning Pool. On their sixth studio effort overall, Hellelujah (out now via eOne Music), the group - which is comprised of singer Jasen Moreno, guitarist CJ Pierce, bassist Stevie Benton, and drummer Mike Luce - made a conscious effort to create their heaviest album yet. And as evidenced by their leadoff single, 'By the Blood,' the lads have certainly accomplished their goal. Pierce chatted with BraveWords correspondent Greg Prato on the eve of the album's release.
BraveWords: Let's start by discussing the new album, Hellelujah.
CJ Pierce: "Right after we got done recording the Resilience record with Jasen Moreno, as things are with independent labels, they delayed the release of that, which gave us more time to write more songs. We started writing stuff at that point, and then we went out on tour, had a little time off to write more stuff, and then re-released the Sinner record. It was the thirteen-year anniversary playing everything off the Sinner record, every night - it kind of re-inspired me, with that kind of writing style we had. And then we finished up the writing for the record, I think it came out in some of the songs, as well. It was a broken up process, but once we get in and all attack it as a band, that's what made Hellelujah. Amen!"
BraveWords: How was it working with producer Jason Suecof?
CJ Pierce: "It was awesome, man. We've always wanted to go in a heavy direction. That's another reason why we switched management and labels. We wanted to make the kind of record we wanted to make, say what the hell we want to say, and do what we want to do - regardless of what's going on in the world of the music business. This is my art, this is how we want to do it, this is what we're going to do. With Jason, I know he'd done a lot of metal bands, way heavier bands - we're probably the lightest band he's ever worked with. But we wanted a heavier sound on this record, so we went with him, not knowing what to expect going into it. He's like a new best friend, to be honest with you. Love the guy. It was awesome to work with him."
BraveWords: A quote that stood out in the press release was 'This is the most metal record from Drowning Pool to date.'
CJ Pierce: "It's an honest quote, but I've also heard some other journalists say that it's one of those cliché things that all bands say. And I found that hilarious, because this actually IS the heaviest record that we've ever made. I didn't know that was a cliché thing, because in my experience, a lot of bands, the longer they do it, they get lighter and they start chasing the radio freakin' tail. That's not what we are doing. Sorry, we're just doing what we want to do and hopefully, you like it and play it on the radio, but that's not the driving force behind it."
BraveWords: What is the first single and video off the album?
CJ Pierce: "We did 'By The Blood.' I think if you ask anybody in the band, we all love songs for different reasons - all of us probably have a different opinion. But I love all the songs, I'd pick any of them. So we went in there and let EOne pick the song that they felt strongly about. I think they picked a great one. The thing with 'By The Blood,' to me, musically, is probably the closest thing we have to 'Bodies.' That just came naturally, again, coming off that Sinner re-release tour, that's one of those songs that came together and finished up after that. It just had that foundation sound of Drowning Pool that is kind of known for."
BraveWords: Would you like for Jasen Moreno to be Drowning Pool's vocalist from here on out?
CJ Pierce: "Oh, absolutely. He's been nothing but awesome. We've known Jasen for years. He came up in the scene in Dallas with us. He's always been around and we've always had his band open up shows with us - they were the local go-to guys. So we've already established a relationship with him for years. I actually recorded a four-song EP for his band in my home studio like a year before he joined our band. He's definitely 'the guy.' He's always been right there, we just didn't know it. Definitely looking forward to many awesome, wonderful years with him. We've never clicked with anybody like this ever, really. He's a singer-songwriter, he's super passionate about it, totally dedicated."
BraveWords: How does Jasen compare to previous Drowning Pool singers?
CJ Pierce: "He's super passionate about the music and he does it for the right reasons. And he's got a respect for the past singers, as well, and for the Drowning Pool fans. He's the only guy we've ever had in the band that's learned every single song off every single record we've ever made. We can top out live like the Grateful Dead and do any kind of setlist any night. I think that's great that he does that. He's one of those dudes that's always warming up and taking care of his voice - he wants to put on a great show and put out 100% every night. So I love him for that."
BraveWords: What are the touring plans?
CJ Pierce: "Stuff keeps coming in daily - it's awesome. We're getting a lot of offers everywhere, worldwide. More now than ever before, which is really killer. We're going to do a States tour with Audiotopsy - some of the guys from Mudvayne. I'm looking forward to their show. I haven't seen their show yet. We're going to do a couple of months with that and a band called Violent New Breed, then we're going overseas - we just confirmed Japan and stuff in the UK. And then we'll come back to the States and hit all the summer festivals and keep going from there. We will be touring on this record all year round."
BraveWords: What are some memories of filming the 'Bodies' video?
CJ Pierce: "Man that was awesome. That was officially the first video I ever filmed in my life. We filmed it at this abandoned insane asylum - an hour or two outside of LA. It was like kids in a candy store, drinking on the set. I don't think you're supposed to do that, but whatever, we had fun with it. And working with Glen [Bennett, director] back in the day, everything about it was great. And that live scene with all the strobe lights, we had it set up, and I just kept pushing for it. I said, 'More strobes! More strobes!' He had like 50 strobes up there, it was nuts. Just a good time - I got to experience that with Dave [Williams, Drowning Pool's late vocalist], and I'll never forget that."
(Top photo by: Daniel Waghorne)