Spiritech of PyroMusic.net recently conducted an interview with bassist John Campbell of Richmond, Virginia metallers LAMB OF GOD. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
PyroMusic.net: The band seemed to opt for a rawer, more aggressive sound on "Wrath". Was this a response to the more polished production of "Sacrament"?
John Campbell: Yeah, absolutely, that's exactly what it was. We had pushed really hard to make "Sacrament" a really produced, pretty thing and listening to that we kinda missed some of the raw energy. So we very purposefully went for that on this record. When we recorded "Sacrament", if there was any sort of mistake in there it would be cleaned up and polished up and with "Wrath", little mistakes were let through to make it sound more organic. To me, it sounds like a band with mic's above their amps playing metal. I think, for us, we kind of pushed that envelope and I think retracted a little bit from pushing in that direction with "Wrath" and now we'll see where the next one takes us.
PyroMusic.net: The track "Reclamation" was something a little unexpected from LAMB OF GOD. Is this something we can expect more of in the future or just a one-off?
John Campbell: No, it's the sort of thing that could be seen (again) in the future. I wouldn't expect an album full of songs like "Reclamation", but it definitely was... we really push ourselves when we write a record to not make the same record. We want to push in directions that we haven't before and I think a song like "Reclamation" definitely did that. That being said, I think it's a pretty cool thing with the same... I don't want to say format, but the same ideas... to do something in that vein, but not do something (exactly) the same, because we don't do the same record twice.
PyroMusic.net: What's your role in the songwriting process and did it differ at all on this album when compared to previous releases?
John Campbell: It was pretty much what we've done over the last few records, we just put even more time into the pre-production. We had the producer, Josh (Wilbur), come down to our practice space as we were finishing up the writing of the songs to get them recorded. (We had) these little files on these computers that you can then step back and (listen) objectively (and) be able to make arrangement changes very quickly, listen to them and see what you think about that. Just kind of finishing up the writing process and finalizing what the songs are going to be... and then you get into the studio to knock out the recordings. I'm not the main riff-writer, but sometimes I'll throw out ideas for arrangements. But, really, I've been slugging it out learning how to play these songs and be able to talk about how the songs worked and how the flow worked.
PyroMusic.net: Is the writing process in LAMB OF GOD a democratic one?
John Campbell: Yeah, there's definitely a democracy. We are all encouraged to put in our opinions on things as they come together and I know that the other dudes would be real stoked if I showed up with a song. But that hasn't been my role; I wrote the very first song for BURN THE PRIEST with Chris (Adler, drums) and that was actually before anyone was in the band but Chris and I. But since then I haven't written other stuff.
PyroMusic.net: The band has sold plenty of albums, especially in the U.S., even in the wake of mass downloading. Does it ever bother the band that instead of selling 200,000 or 300,000 copies of an album, if downloading wasn't so widespread you might be achieving gold or platinum status?
John Campbell: I think we just do what we do anyway. Because when we first started this band back in 1994, being a heavy metal band was not what you did to be commercially successful. I think what's happened is that heavy metal has always been a strongly... the fan base for heavy metal is not just pop kids that go after whatever's popular and it's a lifestyle thing. I'm not a statistician by any means, but I bet if you looked at a graph of record sales since they've dropped off from mainstream marketed music, then you watch that same graph for heavy metal, heavy metal has dropped off way less dramatically and it's topped out at a spot where true fans will really support the bands and the music that they love. Whereas people in the pop world don't have the same connection. So I think that commercially, heavy metal, its fans are truly fanatics and will support the bands they love.
Read the entire interview from PyroMusic.net.