Jenna Williams (a.k.a. “The Scream Queen”) of TheScreamQueen.com 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.
TheScreamQueen.com: I read that [SIX FEET UNDER is] working on a new album…
TheScreamQueen.com: What is going on with that?
Chris: (laughs) It’s the best album I’ve written in a long time. So, I’m really excited about it. Yeah, Rob Arnold [SIX FEET UNDER guitarist] is writing some songs, got Ben [Savage] from WHITECHAPEL writing some songs. I’ve got Jari [Laine] from TORTURE KILLER writing some songs and Steve [Swanson, SIX FEET UNDER lead guitarist]. So we’re really happy with it. It’s really good stuff.
TheScreamQueen.com: How do you feel you’re connecting to it more so than you did with “Death Rituals” so far?
Chris: Hmm… Good question. I think that each album’s a different journey for me, you know? The music speaks to me, so I kind of write from what it tells me and this album’s been such a pleasure to be involved with because it’s so interesting and it’s given me more options to do different things or do things I haven’t done in a while, so it’s a lot of fun on that level…
TheScreamQueen.com: Music itself is a journey, every time you make an album or go on tour. What have been some of the best parts of the journey you’ve taken thus far?
Chris: Just the exploration of the music and finding how it speaks to me. I think that to me, when I write and stuff, and I listen to the music first to get my lyrics from; just that is so exciting to me. It’s a puzzle, you know? It’s like a puzzle to me. Like a fourth dimensional puzzle; and it comes from nowhere but it ends up somewhere. And that to me is like pulling something that didn’t exist before and then all of a sudden it’s beautiful, you know? To me it is…It’s a weird-beautiful.
TheScreamQueen.com: You just said you find how the music speaks to you…. How do you let it speak to you?
Chris: Well, I’ll go into a “meditational” type of trance smoking a lot of weed and that helps me to focus on that — whatever this plane is or something that I’m hearing, it’s very spiritual to me… So, I think that it’s not really me that writes those things, it’s something else out there that kind of goes through [me].
TheScreamQueen.com: When you’re writing songs, like even for this new album, and for your past ones, how have you brought your songs to life?
Chris: They just tell me what to do when I hear the riff, I just concentrate on them. I hear something in the music, it keeps repeating to me and I just have to keep listening to it over and over again until I hear it. So, like, I keep going back and hearing the thirty-second part of the song, and I just keep replaying it, and eventually it tells me what it should be, what I need to write. So, now that I’ve written so many songs and stuff, I’ve kind of like let myself go and let that happen. So, when I try to force something, I just put it down and just wait, and come back to it. Certain songs, like on this album, I just couldn’t write at one time, but they just kind of want to be written.
TheScreamQueen.com: How would you say you take the visions of what you see while you’re writing and translate them into words?
Chris: Again, it’s really how that song speaks to me and I think it just kind of… Sometimes I’ll have an idea, like a song title or maybe one word, like maybe I’ll have it written down on a piece of paper somewhere, and I’ll come back to it, and I’ll be listening to the music, and I’ll look through stuff, and something catches my eye, and from that moment, it… Or I’ll write; I’ll be writing and nothing’s really clicking, I don’t know where it’s going. It just comes together by itself. It’s very strange now. I used to have a really clear idea of things, but now I kind of let it all flow through me…
TheScreamQueen.com: When you’re recording, how do you try to take that feeling of the energy you get while you’re on stage and translate it into an album while in the studio?
Chris: Well, a studio is different, it’s a whole other animal, you know? You have lots and lots of takes to do to make things perfect and stuff, you know, you piece things together and make things interesting and more dynamic and a little more tight. I just really want, when I’m in the studio, I really concentrate on that, I worry on the live situation later. (laughs) If I can write it, I can perform it. (laughs) You know, it’s pretty simple. I guess it’s hard to see from the outside how it all comes together, but it’s really, it is a little magical sometimes…
Read the entire interview from TheScreamQueen.com.