HELLYEAH Guitarist: ‘We Really Wanted To Get A Lot Darker And Heavier With This Next Record’

Brendan Crabb of Australia’s Loud magazine recently conducted an interview with HELLYEAH guitarist Tom Maxwell. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Loud: I believe the new HELLYEAH album is close to completion.

Tom: Yeah, it’s recorded, Chad [Gray, vocals] has a few little things he needs to finish, just some little stuff, and then we go into mix mode I think this weekend, or next week, they start mixing out in Vegas. So yeah, it’s almost done man, we’re really excited.

Loud: How does it compare to previous albums?

Tom: I think it’s much bigger-sounding. We worked with a different engineer and I think we’ve definitely captured a much bigger, brighter, cleaner sound than the previous records. I think songwriting wise, for the first two records, we were just kinda going for it, just having fun and just playing really hard. I think we really dug into our roots on this album; we evolved our songwriting.

Loud: What is the band’s songwriting process like — do you all work together on the songs, present ideas individually, split into groups, etc.?

Tom: It’s mainly, what happens is that myself and our guitar player Greg [Tribbett, guitar] and Vinnie [Paul Abbott, drums] all sit in a room together, just the three of us and kind of pound out all these songs and arrange everything. We just demo it real quick and then get back into it once we have a song solidified. For the main part, musically it’s just me, Greg and Vinnie and Chad comes in afterwards and does his vocal parts. The lyrics are pretty much Chad‘s deal, he writes all the lyrics and comes up with all the content as far as the ideas for the song, whatever he’s writing about. That’s his thing and he’s really good at it. (laughs) I’m not very good at writing lyrics anyway, I just like writing music. But it’s kind of his thing.

Loud: Can you reveal any more details regarding the new record, such as the album title, song titles or a release date?

Tom: Well, we haven’t solidified an album title yet. We’ve got a few that we’re kinda juggling around. We have a couple (song)titles; “War in Me” is one, “Drink, Drank, Drunk” is another one. “Call It Like I See It” is another one. But I’m not sure, I think Chad‘s going to rearrange or rename some titles, some may just be working titles and aren’t solidified yet.

Loud: “Stampede” was released less than two years ago, so the turnaround in writing and recording this album was shorter than the gap between that album and your debut. What was the motivation for getting back into the studio so quickly?

Tom: Well, I don’t know what the whole MUDVAYNE situation is. It comes up in conversations every once in a while, but I don’t know what their intention is in the future. I know for now, they’re pretty much on indefinite hiatus until they circle back around, or even if they decide to do that down the road, I don’t know. But we came off the last cycle still hungry; we were going through a transition, we were leaving the label we were on at the time, plus (making) a transition to new management. So we really wanted to keep the window open and not step away from it and just wait it out. We really wanted to take the summer and focus in on the next HELLYEAH record while the engines were still warm and we were still in that mind-frame of just going out there and kickin’ ass. It took a lot longer for this record, for us to make it. Before we would do things in little increments, and we kinda did that with this record, but we just kept going back and back and back, and some songs just needed tweaking and stuff like that. But we didn’t want to wait; we didn’t want to put everything on hold. Those guys didn’t have a commitment to go back to; after the first HELLYEAH record, Chad and Greg still had commitments they had to do with MUDVAYNE. There wasn’t even a question whether they could or not, they had to, so that was pretty much the big contributing factor why it took a year and a half to two years between the first and second record. This one, we came off the road and nobody had any commitments, and we were still really hungry to get new music out there. We were talking about it at the end of the last cycle, how we really wanted to get a lot darker and heavier with this next record and I think it excited us to do that. The first few records have plenty of elements of heaviness, but we really wanted to bring power into this next record and we jumped at the chance. We took probably about a month off and then went to Texas and just started pounding it out.

Read the entire interview from Loud magazine.

SkullsNBones.com‘s Sam Roon sat down at Eleven Seven Music‘s New York City offices with Jason Lekberg to get an exclusive preview of HELLYEAH‘s third album, which is tentatively due late spring/early summer.

A five-minute video clip of the session, which includes audio samples of several of the new HELLYEAH tracks, can be seen below.