Andy Whittle of U.K.'s Noise Addiction recently conducted an interview with SOULFLY bassist Bobby Burns. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Noise Addiction: Max recruited a new line-up including you at the end of 2003. Do you all get on as a band?
Bobby: SOULFLY is its own monster. We actually did our very first interview with the four of us in the same room in New York City on the last tour; we didn't even realize this. The radio DJ was like, "You know, I asked for all four of you and I got all four of you. But I wanna tell you something: this is the first time that the four band members of SOULFLY, the longest band of SOULFLY, have been in the same room at the same time". I mean, I don't know if that's a bad thing, it's just the way we've always been. I do my thing all day long, and then I see the guys on stage. I take it that they do the same thing.
Noise Addiction: Do you have much creative input in the writing process yourself, or is it something that's mainly left to Max?
Bobby: Yes. We'll always meet up at the studio with Max. We never practice or jam or anything; we fly out to Europe or America or wherever and start to tour. We make a record the same way. We meet up at the studio, Max will come in with about 4-5 CDs of jams and rough demos of songs and we'll go through them and be like, "Yeah, that one's cool, this one's cool, we'll do that there," and we all just start jamming in a room. We all have the freedom to do our own thing; Marc [Rizzo] gets to play his guitar parts, I get to play my bass parts.
Noise Addiction: Do you feel that makes things a little more raw and authentic?
Bobby: I definitely think it makes it SOULFLY. I don't think that kind of recording process could really work for a lot of bands. I used to be all about practicing, and I won't even practice with my other projects now. I don't know if I've gotten lazy or old; but it's one of the two. (laughs)
Noise Addiction: How do you describe the sound of the new album? Is it a natural progression from previous material or is it completely different?
Bobby: It's definitely a natural thing. It blows my mind, I think "us" as a band finally came into form on the "Dark Ages" record, because at the end of "Prophecy" we were touring a lot and still getting to know each other. When we went in to do the "Dark Ages" record, we kind of took off with songs like "Frontlines" with some faster and heavier and grooves with less experimental bongo playing and shit. I think over the years that we've played together; it's now just one of those things where we nod at each other and just "get it."
Noise Addiction: You're playing some of the biggest festivals in the heavy metal scene this year. Do you think it's a peak for the band?
Bobby: You know, I heard the other day about a festival we're doing where it's AEROSMITH headlining Friday, SOULFLY headlining Saturday and KISS headlining Sunday. I was like, "What the fuck?", you know, and "How the fuck do we get Saturday?" That kind of fucked me up because it made me think, "Maybe this IS the top," you know? AEROSMITH last night and KISS tomorrow. I was like, "Wow."
Noise Addiction: There's been quite an evolution in the sound of SOULFLY, starting off nu-metal and got a bit more experimental with the groove metal sound. Now it seems to have returned to a kind of old-school thrash/heavier sound. Has it been a conscious change or just something that's happened naturally?
Bobby: It's one of those weird fuckin' things, man. Like I said, we don't talk about it. When we play it's like "That's it." The first couple of songs we wrote for this record I was like "That's it? We're not gonna do some crazy thing right now?" and Max was like, "I don't think so," and I was like "Fuck! That's badass!" It's just one of those things. It's SOULFLY, that's the only thing I can say; the only way I can put it. I don't know if any of these records would turn out would have turned out any differently if we took a member out of the equation, if it would change the sound too much. I don't know. Maybe it's us, maybe anybody could do it.
Noise Addiction: Do you think it's the kind of sound you'll continue or is that just something that only time will tell?
Bobby: You never can tell. I would love to keep the shorter songs and stuff, man. The main reason, like I said, we never practice or jam. When you're getting ready to start your first show in Europe and it's a fuckin' festival like we did in Switzerland the other day after having not played together, it's weird to remember some of the songs. Sometimes it's got like 15 fuckin' changes or something. The simple songs are WAY easier; we just go there and belt them out.
Read the entire interview from Noise Addiction.