Rustyn Rose of Metalholic recently conducted an interview with former MEGADETH and current ACT OF DEFIANCE drummer Shawn Drover. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the songwriting process for ACT OF DEFIANCE's forthcoming sophomore album, "Old Scars, New Wounds":
Shawn: "The main difference in songwriting is with [2015's] 'Birth And The Burial', when that record was written, it was just myself and Chris [Broderick, guitar; also ex-MEGADETH]. There was no band at the time. We were juggling so many hats at that time. It was 'Okay, let's write a record. Let's get a band. Let's get a record label. Let's get a manager. Get a booking agent.' All these things Chris and I were doing on our own, but primarily, we had to write a record, so when we did get bandmembers, whoever they were, we didn't even know at the time that we're going to get Matt [Bachand, bass; SHADOWS FALL], we're going to get Henry [Derek Bonner, ex-SCAR THE MARTYR]. The search was on as we were writing music. By the time Henry and Matt came into the fold, the music was already written. Henry contributed a lot of the lyrics because he got there before Matt did and he was able to contribute lyrically and, of course, with vocal melodies. Matt came in literally [when] the record was about to be recorded. It's like 'Okay, dude, here's the record! Bass tracks start as soon as we're done with drum tracks and guitar tracks.' He jumped right in head first. Of course, he did a fantastic job. With this new record, we played about a hundred and ten shows in support of 'Birth And The Burial', and got a year under our belt of getting acclimated to each other and seeing what our mannerisms were with music and so forth. When it came time to do this new record, we had the affordability of a little more time this time around. Of course, Matt being such a great songwriter with SHADOWS FALL and all that stuff, that was a no-brainer. He wrote three songs on the record. Henry actually wrote a song on the record as well, which is going to be our second single. It's a song called 'Overexposure'. He stepped up to the plate musically as well, contributing a lot of lyrics and vocal melodies to this new record. Like I said, the main difference was we had a little more time and we had all four bandmembers contributing this time, which was a very welcome change."
On the biggest challenge ACT OF DEFIANCE faced while creating "Old Scars, New Wounds":
Shawn: "I don't think we had anything that was challenging, to be honest. I think this one was more seamless than the first record. Like I said, Chris and I had so many things and so many hats we were wearing to get that record done. I look back now in retrospect and I don't know how we did it. We were able to do all those things in a matter of less than five months and turn a finished record into the record company and assemble all the things I stated previously with what we had to do to assemble the band and get all the pieces of the puzzle together. I don't know how we did it; just sheer determination. That in itself was a challenge, and we didn't have any of that with this record at all. Like I said, we've been a band now for well over two years. Again, we had a set plan. 'Okay, we're going to start writing music at this time. We're going to start recording at this time.' We had more of a game plan, more of a heads-up to what we were doing in advance. We didn't have any snags at all in this record. It was quite the seamless record, from my perspective. I recorded drum tracks for the first time in my career in Atlanta, Georgia, where I live. I recorded 'Birth And The Burial' in Connecticut; I recorded the MEGADETH records in California and England; I recorded the EIDOLON [Drover's pre-MEGADETH outfit] records in Canada. I was always traveling to perform drum tracks. And this time, I made the decision, like, 'Look, there's some great studios here in Atlanta. We're already going to be recording in different areas. Why don't I just record at home in the hometown where I live?' And that's what I did. My experience, certainly from a personal perspective, was fantastic on this record."
On how long it took for him to view "Birth And The Burial" objectively:
Shawn: "You've got to remember something: Chris and I wrote the music for the record, we've been doing this for so long. We didn't write those songs in a week. It was written over the course of a couple of months. Chris had some ideas that he had in his vault. Most of my stuff was all new riffs. I had a couple of ideas that I had laying around on that I hadn't recorded. By and large, it was all new material. I've been doing this crap for so long now that I know, for me, I know if something that I write is good or not good enough. For me personally, I have to like it before I can present it to Chris or the band or whatever. Whether somebody else down the road, whether they like or they don't like it, for me it doesn't matter one way or the other. Obviously, you hope that your fans like it and you build a fanbase, but if somebody doesn't like it for musical reasons, I have no issue with that. All you can do at the end of the day is write the best music you can and something you believe in and hope that others will like it as well. At this point in the game, the songs I had written for 'Birth And The Burial', I knew they were good, for what I can do, just writing solid heavy metal songs. I'm proud of what I did and I'm proud of what Chris did on 'Birth And The Burial' with his songs as well."
"Old Scars, New Wounds" will be released on September 29 via Metal Blade Records. The disc was mixed by Dave Otero, who has previously worked with CEPHALIC CARNAGE and CATTLE DECAPITATION, among others. The cover artwork was created by Travis Smith (KING DIAMOND, OPETH, AVENGED SEVENFOLD, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD).