Peter Hodgson of IHeartGuitarBlog.com recently conducted an interview with ALTER BRIDGE guitarist Mark Tremonti. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
IHeartGuitarBlog.com: I've been checking out the new album ["Fortress"] and man, this one is heavy.
Tremonti: Yeah! It's the fun one!
IHeartGuitarBlog.com: Where did that come from? I mean, there are thrash elements here, for cryin' out loud.
Tremonti: Well, when we got together to put the initial ideas together, me and Myles [Kennedy, vocals] kept in mind that we had to play these songs every night and we wanted to make the album entertaining to perform, so we made 'em all high-energy songs. And once we got about two thirds done with the record, we realized that if we didn't put some dynamics in the record, no matter how heavy you make it, it's not going to make it's not going to be as good as a record. That's when we switched gears.
IHeartGuitarBlog.com: So you actually had a plan, rather than just all these heavy riffs coming together?
Tremonti: Me and Myles get together and we play each other all of our favourite ideas and we piece our ideas together to get a broad outline of what the record's going to look like, and then we get together with Brian [Marshall] and Scott [Phillips] and piece together a closer arrangement. Once we had about 14 or 15 songs, we went into pre-production and that's when we take our arrangements and challenge them as much as we can. We tore them apart many, many times to get them where they are now. We didn't want people to be able to guess where the song was going. We wanted to catch them by surprise.
IHeartGuitarBlog.com: I wanted to ask you about the arrangements because there's some really intricate stuff here, and each time you listen you'll hear different details.
Tremonti: A lot of it, especially in "Cry Of Achilles" or "Fortress" where we really threw everything we had at it, we'd just sit there throwing ideas back and forth: let's change a time signature here, change a key here, completely change the vibe of the song here and try to get back on our feet in the next section. And a lot of the time, it gets frustrating because sometimes you think you're onto something good, but you can't get out of it and then you have to start over again. But we just didn't want to rest on our laurels and think that our arrangements were fine. We wanted to put every effort into it, and we spent about three times longer on pre-production for this record than we ever spent on a record before. We go into the studio with a good picture of what we want, and then when we got to the preproduction that's when we made what we wanted a little better.
Read the entire interview at IHeartGuitarBlog.com.