Metal Exhumator conducted an interview with frontman Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth of New Jersey thrash veterans OVERKILL prior to the band's September 15 concert at Le Metronum in Toulouse, France. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On what OVERKILL's "next steps" are after the release of this year's "The Wings Of War" studio album:
Bobby: "We had just a different chemistry. I think that's what is portrayed on this record, and that obviously is Jason [Bittner, drums] and what he brought into the band. We're not the kind of people who are going to say, 'Do it this way.' We wanted to see what he had. I think that I don't know if it's a step, but I do think that we got different results with pretty much the same formula, then add Jason. What's going to happen next? I couldn't even tell you. I think the fun part of doing this is that there is a surprise still. I think this record is a surprise. It's full of melody, but it's full of a certain kind of committed brutality that has melody injected into it. I think they were the good results we got out of it with Jason."
On whether it was important for OVERKILL to inject new blood into the band:
Bobby: "It never hurts. To have new chemistry, you need to have fresh blood. You can't have new chemistry with the same old members. By having somebody like Jason come in, it just changes everything instantly. We think differently. We play differently. The old songs are a little bit different. Things that we take for granted are no longer there. It keeps your game sharp. It keeps the whole thinking about, it's not just another day, but it's another situation by having a new member. New blood can be good sometimes."
On the new song "Distortion":
Bobby: "When I first heard the main riff, I knew there was something special. I think although the band excels at speed, one of our hidden talents is the mid-tempo songs. The mid-tempos are the ones that can be the ones that are the most gratifying because they're harder to put together and still get the same kind of an impact than you would get with speed. So, when I heard this as being the dynamic on the record or one of the dynamics or changes, it was obviously exciting. As it grew, for instance, the introduction, for instance, the chorus being, and making it simple and not overthinking it. It's probably one of the more simple songs on the record. I think it gave us the opportunity to, let's say, re-inject the old days of 'Horrorscope', or something like that, but with a modern twist to it, with 2019 in mind, and with Jason Bittner in mind. It's one of the standout songs based on its contrast to what's the norm for us."
On whether he discusses songwriting ideas with bassist D.D. Verni while on tour:
Bobby: "We just sat down and talked about starting to write in the spring. Maybe late spring, early summer, just say maybe we should just schedule some time to do it. But there's been no ideas with regard to where it's going to go. I think the fun part is that it's kind of a surprise. We know what it's going to be. To us, each record is very different. I think to a lot of people, they say, 'Oh, they never change.' To me, it's always, 'Every record feels different.' You could have never found 'Distortion' on [1994's] 'W.F.O.'. You could have never of found 'Last Man Standing' or '[Welcome To The] Garden State' on 'The Electric Age' . You can't. It's whatever comes of that era. I think that's the fun thing about still making records, is that it's a representation of what we are at the time when we're writing it. Not about all this thought that goes into it. It's more about action versus reaction: 'That's a great riff. Let me hear that vocal line again.' It's real creation. It's not, 'Okay, here's the plan and here's the map.' It's not that. It just happens. I think that's the most natural way to get the best results."
"The Wings Of War" was released in February via Nuclear Blast.