Metal Army's Victor M. Ruiz recently conducted an interview with vocalist Chris Barnes of Florida-based death metal veterans SIX FEET UNDER. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Army: The word "pioneer" is associated to so many people, but it's obvious that thousands of singers have and will continue to emulate a style you helped make popular decades ago. Did you ever think what you were doing would be so influential?
Barnes: No, I don't even think of it now. When you say that, it makes me cringe a little bit. [laughs] I don't really think about things like that. I don't think I'm really responsible for that, but if people want to associate me with that, I'm OK with it. I'm just glad people enjoy it.
Metal Army: A lot of the topics covered on the new album, "Undead", are not new to the band. How much of a challenge is to take some of these themes and make them new again?
Barnes: It's not that difficult. There's millions of ways to kill people. I haven't written a million, but I've written maybe a couple of hundred. It's pretty much infinite. When I sit and write lyrics, I just take it as if it is the first song I've ever written. I really listen to the music, because I write to the music; it really takes me on a journey and speaks to me. What it's saying to me, I really look into that, and bring out the story, following the vibe of the actual music.
Metal Army: Given some of these themes, does it surprise you when people can't differentiate between Chris Barnes the entertainer and Chris Barnes the person? Do they expect you to only talk about death and murder all of the time?
Barnes: [laughs] I don't know, I guess some people are surprised when they meet me, and sit down and actually talk to me. Yeah, you know, it's not all I really talk and dwell on. That's my secret life that I give you guys, that I let you into. It's the calm normal guy next door that you have to watch out for. Sometimes I feel that there is some disappointment with some fans, you know faces [they make] when they meet me, and we hang out, they expect something other than what they get, and I can't be anyone else than the person I am. It is what it is, and I just try to have fun no matter the situation.
Metal Army: With the last album you self-produced it, with "Undead" you went with Mark Lewis and Jason Suecof to help steer certain aspects of the album. How important was their contribution to the album?
Barnes: They're just as important as everyone else on this album. We went outside of the band and tried to do things a little different. Even with the production, we did things differently, with as much care as everything else that we concentrated on with this release. They're both good friends of ours, and I've worked with Mark on previous releases that he's mixed for us. He's just a great guy, I love his way of handling things; it's just great. And Jason, he really came into this thing, and did the mix on the record, and just understood exactly what myself and Rob Arnold needed from this production, and pulled all of these elements together, with everyone's tastes and likes and made sure they were incorporated in the album. I couldn't be happier with the production, it is the best production we've ever had on an album.
Read the entire interview from Metal Army.