SIX FEET UNDER Frontman Discusses Mortality, Internet Detractors And 'Commandment'

Nikki of Bay Area Backstage recently conducted an interview with SIX FEET UNDER frontman Chris Barnes. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Bay Area Backstage: You just released "Commandment" about a month ago. How would you compare this new album to previous releases? Would you say that it's your favorite album thus far?

Chris: Well, I don't have a favorite really, but I think it's a good record. I think the songs fit well in our catalog. I'm definitely happy with it — I think we came up with a good CD.

Bay Area Backstage: I noticed that there are 10 tracks on the new album — is that a reference to the Ten Commandments, or is that just a coincidence?

Chris: It's actually just a coincidence. There was nothing done in advance on that — we just kind of came up with that number.

Bay Area Backstage: A lot of the lyrics on your new album mention death or mortality. Do you often think about your own life or mortality?

Chris: Sure, I think we all do. I think everybody thinks about those things, and I dig a little deeper into that whole idea I guess. Music is a tool in writing. As a death metal lyricist, I think that's always been one of my focuses — you know, on mortality and the idea of life in general, the dark side of life, and just about everything. There are hypocrisies behind the way people treat each other in the world, and all sorts of things. So yeah, I think that's something that's definitely always been in the back of my mind. But like I said, I think everybody in the world thinks about mortality and having an inner voice.

Bay Area Backstage: Does the idea of death scare you or do you live with no regrets?

Chris: No, death doesn't really scare me. The idea of it is frightening, but it's a part of nature and a part of human and animal life. It's something that's always been an interesting notion to me.

Bay Area Backstage: I've read that you don't really care what people write or post on message boards about your work…

Chris: Well, the people that post on message boards, about 90% of them aren't really fans. I don't know those people and personally I don't really care what they think of things. There's always some ulterior motive behind why people post on message boards — whether it makes them feel important in their daily lives or what not. But for the most part, there's nothing very useful as far as peoples' opinions go, to me anyways.

Bay Area Backstage: So you just make music that you love, and you don't care if people like it or not?

Chris: Yeah, definitely. I write, I put it out, I enjoy it — I wouldn't put it out if I didn't. And whether someone else enjoys it or not doesn't change my opinion about what I like. I'm not going to let someone else's opinion sway me into telling me what is good or bad. I'm the one who invented it, I came up with it, I enjoy it. Whether or not someone else feels the same way doesn't really affect what I feel about my own music. It really holds no value in what other people think. It only does if you're unsure of yourself or have low self-esteem or something like that where you would let someone else's opinion influence you and change your mind about things. I really like what I do. No one's going to change how I think about that. Why do I need someone else's affirmation about what I do? It's great if you like it. Enjoy it, but you're not going to change my mind or opinion about what I do.

Bay Area Backstage: Then in terms of making an album with your band, how does that work? Is it hard to come to an agreement about how the song should sound and feel?

Chris: We just get into a room and start bouncing ideas back and forth off of each other — you know, come up with a riff and a sound that'll flow naturally. We just write — we don't think too much about it. We know what'll work well for us after all these years — it's not a hard thing. We take every album one song at a time, and we think about it as our first album that we've ever written. We don't have any preconceived notions or expectations or anything like that. We just let go of everything we've done and just focus on each song one at a time that we're writing at that moment.

Bay Area Backstage: So between SIX FEET UNDER and your other side projects, are you always busy writing? Is it overwhelming sometimes?

Chris: No, not at all. It's not overwhelming — I love doing this and there's plenty of time for everything. I don't usually start writing lyrics until there's music. The music comes first, and then I'll get the song and start adding lyrics and vocal patterns to it. So I'm not writing all the time. If an idea comes into my head, I'll jot it down and put it aside for when I do start concentrating on writing an album — but for the most part my daily life is pretty much open. I do a lot of work with my band as far as the business of music goes on a daily basis and I rehearse about an hour a day. It leaves a lot of time open to relax and work on other things. So it's not too strenuous as far as me having two bands and putting out albums — you've got to balance your time.

Read the entire interview at this location.


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