JUDAS PRIEST vocalist Rob Halford and guitarist Richie Faulkner were recently interviewed by British journalist and broadcaster Alan Ovington. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):
On how PRIEST came to title its new album "Firepower":
Rob: "Whenever we make a record, it's important to try and get some kind of suggestion of the content of the whole experience. In this case, when we were looking through the titles that we had, we felt that this word — 'firepower' — was going to be the best representation of the 'Firepower' experience."
On the writing process for the album:
Richie: "I think the writing sessions for this record took around three months. It's three months writing, three months recording. To be honest, we were refining those songs right up until we pressed record."
On whether writing becomes easier or harder over time:
Rob: "'Firepower' is the eighteenth full-length studio album for JUDAS PRIEST. That's a lot of metal songs over the decades, and the writing process is always the same, really. I think the wisdom that you gain through all of the years of writing songs has to have some bearing on the outcome at the end, soas far as it being any easier or any tougher, I think it really is on how you perceive it yourself. For me personally, the music for 'Firepower' just seemed to flow out of the writing sessions that we had together — Glenn [Tipton], Richie and myself — daily in the studio, five days a week, weekends off, for the three-month period. There was an enormous amount of information and material pouring through every day. To be honest, in some respects, it was a little bit easier this time."
On the group's longevity:
Rob: "When you start in any band, I don't think you have any idea as to how long your particular journey is going to last. You really don't have a clue. I think that when you come together as musicians, that's the furthest thing from your mind. You're working as a band to put your original material together with the hopes of connecting to a fan base, and then if things are going well, to make a connection to a record company. From that point on, it's very much in the lap of the gods. I've always felt that where PRIEST has been able to get to, it's been down to discipline, our real love and commitment to making the best music that we can make, and never forgetting our fan base."
On whether it's more rewarding to record new music or perform live:
Richie: "I always think playing in front of the fans is, personally, the ultimate reason to be doing this. It's there, it's raw, it's fresh, it's spontaneous. You're sharing in that experience with the fans, with the PRIEST family, as we like to call them. I would say for me, it's exciting to record those songs, but it's always more exciting because you're thinking about performing them live in front of the fans. It doesn't get any better than that for me."
On whether there are any places the group hasn't performed live yet:
Rob: "You think you've been everywhere in the world, and then you look at a map, and you realize you haven't been to South Africa, you haven't been to India, you haven't been to China, you haven't been to Indonesia, you haven't been to... I think that's about it [laughs], because we've been everywhere else, it seems. That's always something to look to forward to."
On whether they're inspired by any current artists:
Rob: "If you're a real musician — what I mean by that is if you're a musician that's able to have the blinkers off and to have a very open mind, to listen to other music and bear in mind that you yourself have gained influence from other musicians as you were finding your way through your life in music — that's going to have some real importance as a creative person. Me personally, it can be anywhere, anyone at any time, because the way the internet allows you to find and resource all different genres of heavy metal music, I can just go to my YouTube and pick a band that I'm interested in — a band like POWER TRIP right now, watch a POWER TRIP video, and then YouTube will automatically take you to another experience within that framework. To appreciate the advantages of taking all of this new music and listening to it and digesting it carries this influence from place to place, from band to band. It's an amazing thing."
Richie: "I think the more you listen to, the more you have to take from musically when you're putting down your own ideas, both subconsciously and consciously. Some things, you listen to and they excite you musically, and you want to capture that and recreate the same emotion in a different way. I've got one thing on my phone, which is the new PRIEST record. That's what I've been listening to, literally, since we signed off on it, refining the mix, that sort of stuff. I've just got back into the experience of vinyl, and going to hunt for vinyls. You never know what you're going to find. You get a good 12-by-12 piece of artwork; you read the lyrics; you put the needle on; you experience the whole thing. It can be anything from MASTODON's latest record, the 'Emperor Of Sand' record, which I think is phenomenal. They've really embodied that whole thing — the artwork, the packaging, the experience of the vinyl. It could go right back to Elvis [Presley] or THE [ROLLING] STONES, or [Jimi] Hendrix. There's a vast gamut of things which I personally listen to and get inspiration from."
"Firepower" was released on March 9 via Epic.