Exclusive: SIX FEET UNDER's New Album Nearly Complete - "The Material We’ve Put Together For This Is Really Fun"

November 6, 2014, 7 years ago

Aaron Small

feature heavy metal six feet under

Exclusive: SIX FEET UNDER's New Album Nearly Complete - "The Material We’ve Put Together For This Is Really Fun" “We made the journey out to the Pacific Northwest; I’m living up in Seattle now,” says former Tampa native and Six Feet Under vocalist Chris Barnes, speaking exclusively to BraveWords scribe Aaron Small. “Yeah, I drove all the way (just over 2500 miles, or 4000 kilometres) with my girlfriend and her five-month old puppy. I just got up and left! Sold my house in two days, my cars, my motorcycle, everything. Gave away a bunch of stuff to friends and family; just decided it was time for a new chapter, a new outlook, and some new scenery.”

Most people go the other way, leaving the rain for the sunshine; but Barnes is trading the beach for the umbrella. “I actually did a bunch of research on that, and it rains more in Florida than it does up here in Seattle. Really, I was so sick of the heat and the humidity, the swamp-like weather… I really wasn’t happy living there. 20 years in Florida, 26 years in Buffalo, it’s time to spend another 20 years someplace else and just do my thing, have some fun.”

The question beckons, will the former Cannibal Corpse frontman obliterate the grunge scene Seattle is so famous for and make it the new death metal hotbed? “I don’t know,” chuckles Barnes. “I think Seattle’s probably safe from my clutches. I really do love it up here; it’s awesome. It’s a great music city, so I feel real comfortable. It’s a real nice environment for me, I’m digging it. It’s an open-minded part of the country where I feel at home.” When Chris says “open-minded,” he’s actually referring to the recent legalization of marijuana in Washington State. “Exactly! I think a lot of places in this country are starting to think the same way as far as legalization of cannabis goes. Every time I’ve played in Seattle, I’ve always felt at home. It’s not only because cannabis is legalized, it’s more of what’s behind that – the people that are open enough to think differently about things. That really makes sense to me at this point in my life, rather than the struggle against living someplace like Florida that is very conservative and closed-minded, and very much a police state.”

 

 

Other than a mid-October Facebook post from Barnes, there’s been no announcement about a new Six Feet Under album. “Yeah, I’ve been in and out of the studio just finishing things up. It’s been under wraps for what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. We’re plugging away at this thing; it’s definitely interesting. All the stuff’s a little bit different from the last album (2013’s Unborn).” The aforementioned Facebook post read: “Was supposed to fly to Denver today on Frontier airlines to record vox for the new SFU album… have to postpone Not too keen on getting Ebola.”

Not to belittle the current global health crisis, it’s hard to blame the man behind “Revenge Of The Zombie” for not wanting to get infected. “Right, if I was flying Delta or something, I’ll take the chance. I’ve been wanting to get this done for a while now, I was really excited to go. But it just seemed like there were too many signs the day before, and that morning I was leaving; it was like ‘Don’t go on that flight!’ So I followed my gut on that; it was a little bit too close for comfort. I postponed it and started looking for a studio in Seattle. I remembered there was a really great studio up here that Alice In Chains recorded at. So I started doing a little research and came up with London Bridge Studio, which is a really famous place. It’s rich in energy; it’s a really wonderful place. I’ve been having a great session so far. It’s been really kind of magical in the same vocal booth where Layne Staley recorded all the Alice In Chains stuff. I’m really proud to be working there and I’ve been having a great time with it. The material we’ve put together for this is really fun, but like I said, a little bit different from the last couple. It’s exciting for me.”

Six Feet Under is still comprised of Barnes along with guitarist Steve Swanson, bassist Jeff Hughell, and drummer Marco Pitruzzella. “Yeah, that’s definitely Six Feet Under as far as the touring version,” confirms Chris. “Everyone knows on the past couple records I’ve started writing with other players and other musicians. And it’s continued on, just because of the idea of finding the songs that are the strongest; or maybe it’s them finding me. As a friend of mine used to say, let the metal flow. Whichever way it flows, I’m ready to ride that wave.”

Currently unwilling to reveal any of the outside writers he’s worked with on this upcoming 11th SFU studio album, due for release in late March or early April 2015, Barnes offers the following clues as to the identity of his secret collaborator or collaborators. “It’s somewhat different, but there’s a lot of familiarities of where I’m from and what I’ve done that kind of echo within this recording. The songs were presented to me and struck me as something that was challenging as well as… I thought people would be drawn to it a little bit, like they were drawn to the Torture Killer record I did. But being a Six Feet Under album, it makes it even more interesting. There are some really cool song titles on here. Some of them have a Bleeding-type vibe to them. You’ll like it though, just leave it at that. Everything’s recorded and almost mixed, at least preliminarily. I’m kind of the last guy they’re waiting on. It’s almost there.”

Do outside writers equate to outside musicians or vocalists appearing on the recording? “Pretty much the guys that wrote it and worked on it are the players on this one too, like Rob (Arnold), Ben (Savage), and Ola (Englund) were on the previous records. It’s kind of like that where I’ve got the guys who wrote the songs – or the guy that wrote the songs – playing all the instruments and putting that whole thing together.”

 

 

Well aware of what a stellar label Metal Blade is, Barnes ensured his home away from home will release the new, as yet untitled Six Feet Under album next year. “Yeah, Metal Blade will be putting this out once again. It’s my 25th year this year with Metal Blade.” Congratulations on a quarter-century milestone! “It seems like it’s been a long ride, and at the same time it’s like, how did that go by so quick? You can’t say anything bad about those guys. They’re amazing, just the best! I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I hope I get to finish out my career with them.”

It’s somewhat disheartening to hear Barnes mention the end of his career, hopefully retirement is not on the horizon. “Yeah, well, I don’t know? I try to be realistic about things, I always have. I never let this shit go to my head or anything. People might think that, but I don’t really like to be in that spot where I’m under a microscope. Someone asked me the other day, ‘do people recognize you when you go places?’ No, thank God. I would fucking hate that! It’s bad enough to be recognized once you’ve played and you’re at a show or somewhere; I was never comfortable with that. A lot of people think I enjoy that or something; it’s the thing I least like. I’m happy with everything I’ve done so it wouldn’t really bother me if this ended tomorrow. Who else gets to do what I did and have as much fun as I did? If after 25 years of a good thing I’ve got to go and work somewhere, digging ditches or shoveling shit – fuck it man, I’m ahead of the game! I’ll go do that. I’m not too proud and I’m not unrealistic about things. Have a good time and live in the moment while you can; that’s what I’ve always done and I’ve been really lucky. I feel good doing this record right now because it’s really important to me and I’m very fortunate to be working with the people I’ve worked with on this one. It really is a strong album. I don’t think it would be as great of an album as I look at it now, if it would have been put together any other way.”

Not only are the album moniker and song titles under lock and key, so is the artwork for the new SFU album. “I’ve got some art, it’s really neat how this came together,” reveals Barnes. “Some guy just wrote me on Facebook, this dude named Mike. He sent me a link, like a lot of guys do. They send links to their artwork and their website. I click on all of them and look at their stuff. If I get a vibe for it, it might be a t-shirt or something. He sent me these pieces that would have been a great cover a couple albums ago, but this other piece just struck me! It’s kind of like old school, hand drawn. I’m not really sure what technique he used, if it was half and half or all digital. It just really looks cool. The artwork itself kind of inspired me as far as storylines and the album title. It hit me right when I got all the early demo tracks. As I looked at the art more and more, I just started daydreaming on it, and that’s it. I’ve been in contact with this guy for a while, he’s been putting logos on the art, sending me updates and we’re ready to roll. I’ve got all the lyrics sitting there for the graphics guy. It’s all together; they’re just waiting on me to put my stamp of approval on what I’ve got left. It’ll be hopefully complete by the end of November, and we can send it to manufacturing after the holidays.”

In closing, Barnes shares his thoughts regarding the recent statement made by KISS bassist and vocalist Gene Simmons that “rock is dead.” Of course, Chris applied it to his genre of expertise, thereby changing the question to, and pardon the pun, is death metal dead? “Hmmm… I don’t think I’m anyone… I mean, how stupid is that? Why should we give a shit what Gene Simmons thinks? Fuck Gene Simmons, that guy sucks! Seriously though, why should anyone give a shit what I think? A kid that’s going to the show, buying the music, fuckin’ banging his head in his bedroom sure as hell doesn’t think death metal or rock ‘n roll is dead. He’s having a great time getting his energy and frustrations out. If there’s one person out there doing that, it ain’t dead; and I think there’s a lot more than just one. We’re all in it together man. I’m just having a good time and I hope everybody else is too. So screw Gene Simmons for saying that.”

(Photo by Daniel Strub)



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