Lamb Of God’s Mark Morton: How Livestreaming Is Changing The Way Bands Think
This weekend will be the first of two rather special Lamb Of God livestreams. On Saturday (September 18) the Virginia metallers will perform their new self-titled album in full, and one week later (September 25) they’ll play their landmark 2004 album Ashes Of The Wake in its entirety. And while these shows won’t quite capture the intensity and ferocity of a LOG live show, they will still provide a unique experience, and the chance to see tracks from their new album performed live for the very first time.
Here we catch up with guitarist Mark Morton to discuss what goes into LOG’s livestreams and how the pandemic has forced bands to think outside of the box, which he says is no bad thing…
So, Mark, tell us what’s up your sleeve for these livestreams…
“I don’t wanna give too much away, but it’s gonna be a smaller thing. It’s not gonna be a big, empty arena or anything like that. It’s gonna be a different kind of look from how people have maybe seen us in recent years, playing some songs that we haven’t played in a long time.”
You must be looking forward to getting back out onstage, right?
“Yeah. It’s funny, because when you’ve been touring for so long, and you’re used to the grind of tour, it’s hard work out there and you can’t wait to get home, you miss your family. And all that’s true. But to have that part of what we do taken away from us not on our own terms sits kinda weird. And then it’s gone on for so long, too. So it’s certainly exciting to be able to make some noise again. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to interact with fans again, even though it’s in a different way. And I think it is an opportunity for bands, across the board, to evolve a little bit and to respond to a changing environment – to make opportunities out of challenges. I think for me that’s been the biggest take away from this whole thing; in the context of my career in the band, I’ve learned that we’ve got to be able to evolve and to adapt. So we have to re-tool and reinvent the ways in which we present ourselves and our music to people. So, this is an opportunity to do that, it’s also just an opportunity to get together and make some noise.”
Did you see Behemoth’s In Absentia Dei stream?
“I saw some clips from that, and it looked pretty intense, which is what you come to expect from those guys. Everything they do is extreme, what a talented group of guys – they always come full guns blazing.
“It’s occurred to me that, even if things to get back to some kind of normal in terms of our ability to play live shows and have actual fans there in actual venues, this element won’t necessarily have to go away. We’re all starting to wrap our heads around how to do this and how to navigate it and make our own version of the streaming concert thing, and that doesn’t necessarily have to expire once we’re able to go out and play live shows again. It’s exciting.”
You must be pretty stoked to get to play the stuff off your self-titled album that came out this year.
“Yeah! It’s a cool opportunity, because I don’t know if we would have played the full album if we’d been on normal touring. So this is almost like a live presentation of the whole new album, which is really exciting. It’s something we haven’t done since the days when we only had one album! So that’s cool. And it’s a strong album, in my opinion, so I’m excited to see how that goes down.”
How did it feel getting back together and seeing the others?
“Good. It’s quite a bit of work that goes into a project like this. And it’s just fun, man. I have fun with these guys. The relationships in the band – and the morale in spite of all the challenges everyone’s facing with COVID – are good. Just to be around each other and have a goal and work to do in terms of making music again, it’s really just fun. I’m really fortunate because I’m at a place in my life where I really love what I do, and I really love the people I get to do it with, and I have to say, that’s a pretty good place to be. I’m certainly enjoying putting it together.”
Do you see streaming as a viable thing for bands to do, now that people are starting to see what can be done with it?
“Yeah, and I think part of that is, like, ‘What else are we gonna do?’ We can’t just, like, go away! We have to use the avenues we have available to us. I mean, it doesn’t look like there’s gonna be any big live shows in the immediate future, so we’ve got to adapt. And like I say, I think it’s fun to try to figure that out and put your own stamp on that and to make the platform your own. It’s gonna be cool seeing everyone figuring that out. It’s innovative, in a sense – we’re being forced to innovate. And it seems to be working. And it’s not the same, but we have the technology and the ideas to make it work – there’s a spontaneity to it, a uniqueness, and that’s part of the excitement.”
Lamb Of God will be performing their new self-titled album and Ashes Of The Wake in full on September 18 and 25 respectively. Tickets and merch bundles are available now.
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