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Detailing how Metallica have gone about writing throughout the pandemic, James explains that he "started doing a weekly Zoom with those guys, just to check in".
"And then I just told them one time, 'Hey, I'm gonna write something. I'm just gonna play something and send it to you guys. You do whatever you want with it and see what happens and layer on to it.' So that's how we did a version of Blackened 2020. I just basically played something. They hadn't heard it before. They played on it. Then it kind of got layered together.
"Then we started experimenting with writing on Zoom," he continues. "Lars and I would get together, or Kirk [Hammett, guitar] and Lars, and we would get little bits of time here and there writing. It was difficult because of the delay in the sound, so we couldn't actually play together, but we would play to a click track and watch each other play.
"We had our producer, who was running my computer while I was playing. He was running my computer from LA, and I'm in Vail [Colorado]. And then Lars had an assistant running his computer from LA – he's up here in San Francisco – and we were playing together, and it was pretty bizarre. We started writing. We got about – I don't know – over 10 songs going that way. And then we finally got together. There's only so much you can do on Zoom."
Check out the full interview below: