Recently, MEB staffer Ridge Briel got the chance to catch up with Machine Head on the first day of the Mayhem Fest Tour on July 9th, 2011 in San Bernardino. They are set to release their brand new album Unto The Locust very soon on Roadrunner Records, so he decided to ask some questions to their drummer Dave McClain pertaining to that and find out more of what it’s all about and what their plans are as soon as Mayhem Fest wraps up.
MEB: So what sort of topics will Unto The Locust cover? Lyrically, on The Blackening you had topics like Will Grim, organized religion, and war. Will we be seeing more of this darker yet satisfying side of Machine Head, or will we be seeing more of the hate that the other albums have?
Dave: It has to do with a lot of personal things Robb was going through at the time. But some of the songs are written about other people, such as our first single “Unto The Locust,” which is about a real piece of shit person who comes into your life and does nothing but fuck everything up and leave you with nothing but destruction. Another one is the song “I Am Hell,” which is about a female serial arsonist.
Are there any tracks that will reach the abnormally long time like “A Farewell To Arms” and “Dissent?”
Well, we have all come a long way in our songwriting abilities from before, where we would make two and a half to three and a half minute songs. Now we have difficulty actually writing a song under five minutes haha. There is one song that reaches the ten-minute mark. None of the songs are under five minutes.
You guys are quite known for your vast array of covers that have appeared on almost every album so far, which I admire. What bands (or specific songs if you can disclose them) will you be covering this time around, if any?
Two songs we have covered recently are Rush– “Witchhunt” and Judas Priest– “The Sentinel.”
What other bands were you a part of prior to Machine Head?
Well pretty much the only band anyone would even know about would be Sacred Reich.
Would you ever consider making another live album, given all of your recent success from the three-year tour that surrounded The Blackening?
As for a live album, no we have no plans. But we do want to release a live DVD for the fans soon. When it will happen I can’t say just yet.
Will Paul Brown, Deanna and Robb be doing the artwork once again for Unto The Locust?
Not this time around. We hired an all new artist by the name of Paul Gerard. This is his first actual album cover ever.
What are some song titles that will be on the album?
Some songs are of course “Unto The Locust,” then we have “The End,” “Darkness Within,” “Be Still And Know,” and “Pearls Before Swine.”
What are some of the other bands you are excited about touring with? Do you plan on touring right after Mayhem wraps up?
Well for starters, we will be headlining the Australian Soundwave Revolution concert on the first night on September 24th. We have a South American tour with Sepultura supporting between October 14th and the 23rd. After that tour wraps up, we will be going overseas to Europe to headline the Eighth Plague tour with Bring Me The Horizon, Devildriver, and Darkest Hour.
Recently on the diary page of the MH website, you guys posted photos of some of your old demos from the early 90s. Any chance those might be released in any way? Like a b-sides collection or something?
As of right now, I very much doubt it. Actually, a b-sides album is the last thing we want to do at this time of our career.
It has been said that Through The Ashes was the album that combined influences from the four albums before it, and that The Blackening just raised the bar to a whole new level. Musically, do you feel that this album will continue to build on what The Blackening offered, or will it show influences from the other five albums, or will we be seeing an entirely new side of Machine Head?
I feel that it combines all we have done so far in our career and builds upon that instead of opting for a singular sound. We don’t want to make any so-called “part two” albums that will sound just like one of our other releases.
In the UK release, there will be a huge fan club release with all sorts of stuff like patches and a behind-the-scenes magazine. What ideas are there currently for a special edition release for the stateside fans?
At the moment, no we don’t plan on it. I mean, our fans overseas are going to really like this because this is what they have been asking for.
What made you guys want to record the new album at Green Day’s Jingletown Studios?
Besides the convenience of it being only five minutes away from my house, it would have to be the whole atmosphere of the place. It’s like one of those legendary studios overseas like Abbey Road Studios, where you are going in to record a fucking legit record and not just another release.
What was the process of recording UTL like? Give fans an insight into a typical day at Jingletown Studios.
Well for starters, it was pretty much recorded one part at a time. I would go in and lay down some drums, Robb and Phil come in and lay out some guitars, and Adam will record his bass. Robb’s vocals were always being recorded at different stages in the songs to help find the melodies quicker and to see what feels right and what’s wrong.
What songs do you all love to play the most live? Any covers at all?
We used to play covers live, but I feel that we kind of got tired of doing that. The songs we love to play the most live and get the most positive responses are “Halo” and anything off of the album Through The Ashes Of Empires (most notably “Imperium”).
Who are some of your personal idols in the music industry?
Well obviously Pantera, but also Metallica has a huge influence on me and the band.
What advice can you give people who want to form their own bands with your knowledge of the music industry so far?
Be happy with what you do and have fun with it. The music industry is constantly evolving and you must be ready to counter whatever it throws at you.
Any last words for your fans?
Thank you all for everything! Come out to one of our shows and have some fun!