Spark TV, which is part of the Czech monthly magazine Spark, recently conducted an interview with ICED EARTH guitarist and main songwriter Jon Schaffer. You can now watch the chat below.
ICED EARTH will enter the studio in January to begin recording its new album, "Incorruptible" (formerly "The Judas Goat") for a tentative May 2017 release. Songtitles set to appear on the CD include "Trail Of Tears", "Clear The Way", "Black Flag", "The Great Heathen Army", "Raven Wing" and "Seven-Headed Whore".
Schaffer recently announced that the band's new studio and headquarters, Independence Hall, was nearing completion, after he sold some of his equipment to fund its development.
"I have a pretty huge guitar collection, so I sold some stuff to help pay for the headquarters building and to be able to do all the construction and invest in new gear and all that kind of stuff," he told Spark TV.
Asked why it was important for ICED EARTH to build its own headquarters in Indiana, Schaffer said: "Ultimately, it's just another step towards independence and being able to have everything under control in one building — a place where the band can rehearse, where we can run our business from, where we can warehouse all of our equipment, where we can store the archives. Where we can kind of have everything and the recording studio, so it makes life easier."
He continued: "It's difficult when the band is international. It already makes it more challenging, because it's not easy just to get together and rehearse. But when we launch a tour in North America, we'll meet at Indendence Hall and we'll all stay there and then we'll rehearse and get the pre-production ready for the tour. The same thing goes for when we do the records and everything."
Schaffer added: "I spend the bulk of the time — months and thousands of hours — by myself working on the arrangements and everything. It can be that Luke [Appleton, bass] can send me an idea, or in the future Jake [Dreyer, guitar] will, or whatever, and then I'll be there arranging and assembling the songs, [and] then I send the demos to the guys. I do very detailed drum programming and everything, and we send all the ideas out. Then the guys, when we get together and we play through the songs, we discuss the parts. Brent [Smedley, drums] may say, 'I'd like to play this kind of a drum part here,' and then we talk about it and see if it's gonna work for what my vision is for the long… 'Cause I have the vision for the end, and a lot of times they don't see that until it's actually mixed and mastered and everything's done. But that's the way the process is, and just having the headquarters building makes everything easier for us to function as a band."
ICED EARTH took a break from touring in 2015, primarily due to Schaffer's second cervical fusion surgery.
Longtime ICED EARTH drummer Brent Smedley returned to the band for the current recording and touring cycle. Smedley had to step down due to personal family reasons in 2013 shortly before the recording of "Plagues Of Babylon".
"Plagues Of Babylon" sold around 6,300 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 49 on The Billboard 200 chart.