MetalSucks conducted an interview with ARSIS bassist Noah Martin after the band's February 4 concert at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York City with EXODUS, GOATWHORE and WARBRINGER. An excerpt from the chat follows:
MetalSucks: When you guys go in to write an album, do you have a specific vision in mind? Do you all sit down and say "this is how we want it to go," or does it naturally work itself out?
Martin: Well, on "United" ["United In Regret", 2006] I was just a session player, and this is the first album where I was actually there for the writing process. In the past Jim [Malone, guitars/vocals] has pretty much handled everything from writing drum parts to recording bass, and with the exception of "United", writing everything. This album the backup vocals are Darren [Cesca, drums], and Ryan [Knight, guitar] and Jim split all the leads. So this is kind of an experiment as far as albums go. But everything was written on the Internet. And Jim… I suppose he had an idea of what he wanted. Ryan wrote three songs, Jim wrote the other seven, and it just kind of came together.
MetalSucks: So you guys wrote it all over the Internet… you guys were exchanging ideas over email?
Martin: Yeah. Ryan would write a song and would send it to Darren, and Darren would write his parts over it and send it back to Jim. Jim would be like, "Oh, that's awesome, we should use that." So pretty much everyone got together once or twice. Everything got done pretty quickly. We had all these ideas, and as soon as we got home [from touring] everyone was working on their songs and they just came together.
MetalSucks: How did that translate to the road? How do you guys assemble a setlist, and do you have to sort of adapt songs for the live setting?
Martin: Well, yeah, like "A Diamond for Disease", of course, we're not gonna play the full 14 minutes. So as far as this tour's gone, we've only played two songs off the new album; we haven't really pushed it yet. But when it comes a little closer to the release date we'll probably slide a couple more songs in. But as far as the older material, gearing towards the live setting is [changing] how every song begins and ends.
MetalSucks: What about the recording process — was it laid back, was it incredibly intense, were you just fuckin' dying to get out of there and back on the road?
Martin: Well, we recorded with Zeuss, he's done SHADOWS FALL. He's fuckin' awesome, the coolest dude ever. Of course, we had the guest house to ourselves living together for a month. I'd never lived with a band for a month. (laughs) Oh my god, being on the road's enough. Fuck! So yeah… you get in the studio and you're just like, "Uh, can you just not talk while I'm tracking? Thanks for that." But yeah, it was cool. Darren got his drum parts finished pretty quickly. It was pretty laid back at times, you know, there's time for work and time for fucking around and drinking and getting trashed.
MetalSucks: Is Zeuss a slave-driver, like "do a million takes," or is he just like…
Martin: He's uh…. He's uh… no comment! (laughs) But I will tell you that he's the coolest dude, the fairest dude, and he'll do anything it takes to make your album sound amazing. And he does. He just makes you do it over and over again. Until it's right.
So check this out. Alright, every single lyric put on the album was done while Jim was just completely trashed. So he'd be downstairs in the vocal booth with a big bottle of wine. Oh, we were drinking boxed wine! Franzia, and I don't remember the other one. So, oh man… so we were totally on the box. So Jim's downstairs with a big glass of wine, pounding it, pounding it. Meanwhile after a few hours you're pretty sloshed and you can't sing. So we've got this footage of Jim just… belting out this pile of slop. It's so funny.
MetalSucks: So where's that footage gonna end up, is there a DVD in the future?
Martin: We're putting together a DVD in the future. Probably, well, not really a digipak…but something that's an accompaniment to the album.
MetalSucks: So what's next for you guys?
Martin: This tour goes for another couple of weeks. Then we're doing headlining dates all the way back to the East Coast, I think with SKELETONWITCH. They're rad dudes. And then after that I don't know. We'll go where the wind takes us. Gotta talk to our booking agent first.
MetalSucks: Any funny stories from the road so far?
Martin: Well, Jim fell off the stage tonight, that's funny! (laughs)
Read the full interview at www.metalsucks.net.