Metal Mark of SkullsNBones.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist Jeff Loomis of Seattle metallers NEVERMORE. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
SkullsNBones.com: "The Obsidian Conspiracy" has only been out in the United States for a week, but the rest of the world has had the album a little longer, and the fans are really loving this record. How happy are you with the response so far?
Loomis: It's been pretty cool, man. Obviously, this is a different NEVERMORE album, from our point of view. The music is a little less complex, the songs are more structured, the choruses come in quicker. I mean, it's a more straight-forward album than we've ever done. But yeah, the response has been amazing. It's still a little early to see, but we can't complain so far with what we are hearing. We have been playing festivals in Europe recently, and we've already seen fans singing every word to the new stuff, so that's pretty nuts.
SkullsNBones.com: In a lot of people's minds, "This Godless Endeavor" was the defining NEVERMORE album. After the success with that album, and the five-year absence, did you feel any added pressure in writing this album?
Loomis: A little bit, honestly. That was an awesome record, and we could have easily done a "Godless Endeavor II", but as an artist, you always want to do something different. Especially with NEVERMORE, each record we've done has been something different. But yeah, it was a little bit crazy. I didn't really know which approach I wanted to take, and I was having a bit of writer's block in 2009. Honestly, I just said "Fuck it," and I sat down at my studio and just wrote whatever came out of me. I played from my heart and soul, and whatever came out is what I recorded. That is all I could really do, and now it's the new album, so that's pretty crazy.
SkullsNBones.com: Like you said earlier, this record has more groovy parts and it's not as insanely complex as previous albums. For me, it seems more fit for Warrel's [Dane] vocals to take charge more than any album has before. Was this something you set out for musically or did it just happen?
Loomis: It just happened, man. Previously, we would enter the studio and I would have these 7-8-minute-long songs, and Andy Sneap would say "OK, let's record it and see what happens." With this record, I had the 7-8-minute pieces again, but Peter Wichers would look at them and say, "Let's chop these up a bit. Let's make this a more structured piece of music." So he was very involved in helping me with the arrangements of a lot of these songs. It was more like cutting out the fat, and making the songs more catchier and hookier. So I had a lot to do with it, but Peter also had a major part in the songwriting as well.
SkullsNBones.com: You mentioned Andy Sneap, and you've worked with him numerous times in the past. What is it about Andy that you guys enjoy so much, that keeps you coming back to work with him?
Loomis: He is pretty much the sixth member of NEVERMORE in a sense. He is just always able to get the sound in the final mix that the band is looking for in a record. He is able to get the separation that is necessary to the NEVERMORE sound. I play seven string guitars, and it's a very low, muddy sound, so the separation that he creates is just amazing and crucial to our overall sound. Once you work with such a great guy, it's hard to go anywhere else. He is simply one of the best metal producers out there.
Read the entire interview at SkullsNBones.com.