K! Exclusive: Alice In Chains Discuss Their First New Music In Five Years
Alice In Chains have released a brand new song titled The One You Know, their first in five years. It’s available to stream today. Check out the video below.
The track, taken from their as-yet-untitled follow-up to 2013’s The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, which will be released later this year.
The album – once again with producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Ghost, Rush) at the helm – marks frontman William DuVall’s third outing with the Seattle-based grunge quartet, who made his recording debut with the band on the 2009 album Black Gives Way To Blue.
We caught up with the vocalist as the band were in the early stages of their current U.S. tour to find out more, and why a Kerrang! Live review from 2009 means so much to him…
TELL US ABOUT THE NEW SINGLE, THE ONE YOU KNOW.
Oh you know, it’s just another new tune (laughs). It’s about how things aren’t always what they seem. We’re hoping to play it live in the next couple of days. It should be good; we’ve been playing it at soundcheck and during rehearsals.
IT’S YOUR THIRD ALBUM FRONTING ALICE IN CHAINS. WHAT’S THE TYPICAL WRITING PROCESS LIKE? IS IT STRESS-FREE OR WRACKED WITH TENSION?
It can run the gamut. You put pressure upon yourself and write in the studio and pull something out of the air before the sun comes up. You know what you basically want to say but not quite find the way in which to say it; it can be highly stressful but it can also be a healthy thing. You’re like, ‘I have to figure this out right now.’ That forcing of the hand can be good as well.
WHEN DID THE WRITING FOR THE NEW ALBUM TAKE PLACE?
Some ideas were worked on before we’d even got together. You have a storehouse of ideas by the time you convene, and a lot happens in the studio. Completely new ideas happen, ideas get transformed; all of that happened in this case.
WHERE WAS THE NEW ALBUM RECORDED?
We recorded in two different locations; Seattle [Studio X] and then Franklin, Tennessee just outside of Nashville. Both of those environments can bring out different things. It’s natural that you’re affected by your surroundings, like you can be affected by the season or whatever is going on in your life.
DID ANY OF THE SONGS DRASTICALLY CHANGE ONCE THEY BEGAN TO TAKE SHAPE IN THE STUDIO?
Yeah, there are definitely at least a couple of songs that went from being, let’s say nearly non-existent, to being on this album. Every song that did make this particular record has a higher degree of importance.
NICK RASKULINECZ PRODUCED THE PREVIOUS TWO ALBUMS. WHAT IS IT ABOUT HIS METHODS THAT LED TO YOU WORKING WITH HIM ON THIS RELEASE?
I think our degree of familiarity definitely played a role. By the third album, there’s a bit of ESP that goes on and a little bit of the ‘one you know’ (laughs). I think along with that comes a shorthand and an honesty that can be very helpful to the process. On the first one [Black Gives Way To Blue] and even to some degree on the second [The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here], there’s a little bit of feeling out and a little of the superficial politeness that goes on with that. By the third one, it’s very much like, ‘I know you, you know me.’ He knows all our tricks and was like, ‘We’re going to get real about this’ and I think he felt much more licensed to be very vocal on some of our ways of working and some of our preconceived notions about the way a tune should go, the process itself. That was good and it really benefited the record.
WHAT INFORMED YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE RECORD?
Well, certainly everything that happens in your life informs your work; between the last album and this one, there have been a lot of losses - personal and artistic - and those have sometimes overlapped. I feel like a lot has happened in the world in the past five years. That’s found its way on there.
YOU PERFORMED YOUR FIRST SHOW IN 18 MONTHS JUST DAYS AGO. HOW ARE THE U.S. SHOWS GOING SO FAR?
They’re starting to heat up! Last night in Toronto, it felt like, ‘I remember this! This is what we do…’ They’ve all been good and hasn’t dipped below a certain standard or threshold. I think last night felt like, ‘Here we go!’
YOU’RE PLAYING SHOWS IN LEEDS AND LONDON IN THE UK IN JUNE – DO YOU THINK SOME OF THE NEW SONGS MIGHT HAVE CREPT INTO THE SET BY THEN?
I think whatever is out by then will be liable for the setlist. I’d say that’s how it’s going to work and we’ll probably throw them in there. We’re looking forward to it. The audiences have always been very good to us and we have always appreciated the reception there.
WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER OF YOUR FIRST LONDON SHOW IN 2009 WITH ALICE IN CHAINS AT THE SCALA?
It was quite memorable. There’s parts of it I recall. Some specifics have faded, but the general emotional memory is quite vivid. I remember it being a high energy show, very good, and I remember the review that came out in Kerrang! shortly thereafter. I was back in the States, living in Los Angeles and a friend of mine had visited a newsstand nearby and they were like, ‘You’ve got to see the new issue of Kerrang!, you’ve got to read it.’ So I walked to the newsstand, picked it up and saw it received five Ks. I don’t often get this revealing about the press, but I have to tell you that was… it’s hard to convey how much I appreciated that. That was a major, major event for me. The review was very validating.
The One You Know is out now on BMG. Check it out via the stream below.
Photo: Pamela Littky