Raymond Westland of Ghost Cult Magazine recently conducted an interview with ANNIHILATOR mainman Jeff Waters. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ghost Cult Magazine: "Feast" is a particularly inspired effort. Are you happy with it?
Waters: I certainly am. As an artist, you're sometimes lucky when it all comes together, be it painting, singing or whatever. Sometimes you want to do something good and when you're busy with it, you seem to hit the nail on the head. When you listen back, it doesn't contain your best work. Sometimes it just works. Bands like IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, SLAYER and also we in ANNIHILATOR have great records and we have our share of not-so-good records. Different times, different places, you know. Maybe we were lucky with "Feast" and maybe we were inspired. A lot of it comes from that my partner in ANNIHILATOR, singer/guitarist Dave Padden, said that we should take a break for three years from writing music and focus on other things. We did a lot of touring, I worked in my studio, give guitar clinics for Gibson and Epiphone and we played the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise, all these cool things. The break breathed a lot of new life in the ANNIHILATOR music and that's probably where a lot of the inspiration came from. I've been writing music for the band since 1984.
Ghost Cult Magazine: With every ANNIHILATOR album, you take on many different roles, including the one of producer, mixer, main songwriter and guitarist. How do you prevent losing your mind?
Waters: That's true, and the reason behind it is pretty simple. I have my own studio since 1994 and I got into gear, reading books from other producers and studio engineers, and as weird as it may sound, it turned into my hobby. It started out as something I had to do, because when metal music lost a lot of its commercial staying power back in the early Nineties, you had to start thinking about business just to survive. For most bands, it was already too late, but I was smart in the way that I invested in a house and my own studio. I produced all the ANNIHILATOR since 1994. I don't particularly go nuts because I enjoy every aspect from the process, but there are some negatives as well. First of all, you get severe tendonitis because of all the guitar playing and spending so much time behind the computer. I had to deal with it six years ago and I luckily recovered from it. Another element is that's hard for your ears to stay objective, because you're listening to the same stuff over and over again for four months, and that's where an outside producer or mixing engineer could certainly help. And thirdly, you really can get nuts because of the intensity of the whole process. [laughs] What I'm doing now is recording the albums and take a lot of breaks, you know taking a week off. The whole process becomes very efficient, because you have the get the same amount of work done in a smaller time frame. It keeps your brain and ears in good shape. Another aspect is that you'll save a lot of money when you do everything yourself. It's basic economics, really.
Ghost Cult Magazine: Dave Padden is your partner in everything ANNIHILATOR for quite some years now. How has your working relationship with him developed over the years?
Waters: When Dave came in 2004, he was just "another" singer. We had a lot of different singers and musicians in the band throughout the years. Looking back, every singer was good for the time they were in the band and without them things would have been much different. When Dave joined the band 10 years ago, things were different, because he was a guitar player and not really known as a singer. When he auditioned, I really liked the versatility of his voice, so I decided to give him a chance. I stuck with him and worked with him long enough to see him developing into a killer guitar player and singer live. He's a very talented guy. He came from being scorned and criticized to becoming an integral part of some of our best albums. After four or five years, I realized he became more of a partner and I start phoning him to ask for his input on touring, equipment and endorsement deals. So we're half a band nowadays; you get two out of four. [laughs]
Read the entire interview at Ghost Cult Magazine.