Dimitris Kontogeorgakos of Metal Kaoz recently conducted an interview with drummer Dave McClain of San Francisco Bay Area metallers MACHINE HEAD. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Kaoz: MACHINE HEAD are working on a DVD release. Is that correct?
Dave: Obviously, you are talking about the DVD that we were planning to release after “The Blackening” tour. That tour was extremely long and lasted three years, so after getting off the tour, we were ready and anxious to start working on the new album so we kind left all the DVD plans behind us. I am not sure whether this will come out in the future. We had come to a point that we needed to work on making music.
Metal Kaoz: In a recent interview, Phil [Demmel, guitar] talked about some problems the band had during “The Blackening” tour and he actually said that MACHINE HEAD almost broke up. So, what did happen?
Dave: Yeah, there was one time in particular in Paris during the SLIPKNOT tour; Robb [Flynn, guitar/vocals] and Adam [Duce, bass] had some pretty serious problems and after we got off stage that night, Robb was ready to call it a day and just end everything right there. But he and Adam did some therapy together and kind of worked things out.
Metal Kaoz: Did you think that getting into a long tour like you did would probably take a toll on the band?
Dave: Well, we did not know that the tour would stretch out for that long. And then album snowballed into a big thing, something that all of the bands hope for, so we did not think that it would cause a problem. When we went on the road with METALLICA, the tour [lasted] an additional year, but to tell you the truth, it wasn’t that hard, since we had two weeks on the road and two weeks off; so there was time to take a break and get back home. After all, the band was not constantly on the road for the entire period of time.
Metal Kaoz: How long did it take you to write the music for “Unto The Locust”?
Dave: I think we started in May 2010 when me and Robb got together [to begin putting song ideas together] and finally we entered the studio in April 2011 [to start recording the album]; so, I’d say it probably took us 10 months to have all the songs for the album completed or I’d say almost completed; since a song is not completed until the last day just before it gets recorded. Robb always changes lyrics or adds new melodies so we are constantly working on different arrangements or trying new ideas. Even if we have the basic structure of a song, there will be changes in the last moment, before getting in the studio to commence the recording sessions.
Metal Kaoz: How can you be sure when to stop working on a song and start recording it?
Dave: It kind of depends on the situation; some songs come together really fast and it seems like they write themselves. And then you have other songs where, something does not feel right and we have to try to find the missing piece. In the end, it is just a feeling that tells you that song is ready. Still, Robb is a guy who constantly has new ideas and always thinks how to make a song better. To really understand what I am saying, I will tell you that he was changing vocal melodies while the album was being mastered and mixed. Thank god that you cannot change something that is already done because probably he would be changing stuff to make things better after the album had been released… (laughs)
Metal Kaoz: Does this also mean that you have a lot of stuff that you had to leave out of the album?
Dave: We have actually two songs that didn’t make the album, even though musically they were done. But Robb was not happy with the lyrics and some of the vocal melodies. Maybe these songs will be released at some time in the future and I really hope they will. There is one that I wrote the music for and has Robb on the piano and some of the orchestra stuff that was on the album.
Metal Kaoz: Do you think that those songs will be out as part of a special edition, as a single or in the next MACHINE HEAD album?
Dave: I really don’t know. I would really like to see the song with the piano be on an album instead of coming out in a special edition. The second one is a heavy song and can be a bonus track. But the first one is really special for me; I wrote the music some days after my mom had passed away, so it has a special meaning for me.
Read the entire interview from Metal Kaoz.