Cold just wrapped up their Broken Human tour in support of their new album The Things We Can’t Stop (order here), which was released on September 13th via Napalm Records. We caught up with the group’s mastermind Scooter Ward to discuss the new album, getting over writer’s block with a little help from Nick Cave, covering Snow Patrol’s “Run,” signing to Napalm and more.
How has the journey been between 2011’s Super fiction, to the new album, The Things We Can’t Stop?
The journey after Super fiction, we had toured a while. I took some time off to be with my family and to spend time with my kids while they were going through their teens. I spent some time with my sister. She was sick again. I wanted to do this for her throughout the entire process, not regardless of what was the outcome. She got better again, so that was nice.
Then I moved out to California to be with my family. Napalm Records contacted us and kept talking about doing another record, which I didn’t know if I wanted to do another album. However, I’m a musician at heart, and all I can do is write. So that’s what I do. We wanted to tour Europe more. We signed with Napalm. Figured that’d be a good idea, and it’s been okay. They started diversifying their roster a little bit. They have The Smashing Pumpkins and a few other bands. It’s working out, and they seem like a great company if everything works out, all in all.
What was the recording process like for the new album?
It was strange. We did the drums in Phoenix, and I had everything mapped out and written, and then at the end, when I started doing vocals, it didn’t feel important enough to me. Even though it was good, it wasn’t tragic enough, and I wanted to go way deeper than we have on other records. Kind of like A Different Kind of Pain was, so I need to go back there. When I did that, I fucked up, and I got writer’s block. It was awful. I’ve never had that since I was 12 years old. It scared the shit out of me. And I thought, not to be poetic, but not that I believe in God, but I was like, well, God took this away from me. What is going to happen? This is how I take care of my family, right? So I couldn’t come up with a melody. I couldn’t come up with anything, I can come up with music, but the melodies and lyrics were not a thing. It was about six months.
I went through a depression and got bad thoughts and all kinds of things going on. It was tragic. I found Nick Cave’s documentary One More Time with Feeling. I saw it on iTunes one night. I’m like, “Great. I’m going to goddamn watch this so I can write.” He created some documentary of him creating a record, a block away from where his son fell from the bridge. It’s longer, so he did a studio. He built a studio around there, started recording. From the beginning of the movie, the cadence of his voice, his accent, everything was just so beautifully shot and beautifully done and beautifully worded. It just wrapped me up in it, and I watched that thing about 20 times. Just seeing him, his perseverance to be able to create with something that tragic to happen a block away from where he’s at, he gave me hope that I could still do this.
I put it on every night before bed, watch the whole thing, and fell asleep. There’s just something about it that has helped me every day. I started writing more every day. Finally, the walls came down, and everything came back.
Can you talk more about covering Snow Patrol’s “Run?”
Yeah. That song was a big deal for me. I think everything I’m answering is emotional.
Yeah. When I was a kid, well not kid, when I was younger and my kids, whenever I had to leave my kids for touring or my family or making records for long periods. I’m so emo. I’d listen to sad songs when I was driving away or something, and fall to my emo-ness on that. And so, “Run” was always one of those songs. When me and Nick were going through the record, we were almost to the end of the album I was like, “Man, you know, I really don’t like doing covers, but there’s this one song just keeps popping up at me,” and I go, “You know, I always loved Snow Patrol’s version of it.”
That is the most beautiful song ever. But I always add harmony. So I was like, “I always liked to do that song with harmonies just to see what it sounded like.” So I told Nick, “Let’s try it.” We did, and it ended up sounding really good. Not only did we not want to make it like a B side, but we wanted to add it to the album, and I think it worked out.
I enjoyed it. There have been a few covers of it, and when I heard your version, I said, “wait, this sounds familiar.” It didn’t hit me at first because I was surprised to listen to a cover track on the album.
I know some artists get upset if other artists cover their stuff, and they don’t deviate from the actual song. My thing, I wanted to stick to the form with that song. I didn’t want to change it or try and make a different version of it. All I wanted to do was add harmonies. So I hope that they’re not offended. And I hope they end up liking it at one point if they ever heard it.
You guys blew up back with your 1998 self-titled debut album and your second album, 2000’s 13 Ways to Bleed on Stage. I remember back then; everyone always said, “You gotta check out Cold, this awesome new band.” With that being said, how have you personally evolved as an artist, and did you ever expect that those albums would bring you to where you are now?
You know it was a lot of hard work. Even though those albums were good and well accepted, we had a bunch of things that we got off of those records. But I think, being out on tour for 23 months at one time when we first started, and not wanting to be home and just connecting with fans and stuff was more important. Because even though we have no radio success, a little minute amount of real success, it never translated to the bigger shows and big venues and stuff like that. We just busted our ass and kept playing. I think that’s how we were able to do it.
Is there anything else you want to say or add about the album or have any plans for later this year?
We have big plans for next year. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say it yet because it’s still in the works in the studio. Great things recorded. I just wanted to thank our fan base for being loyal to us all of these years. Thanks for coming to these shows and making it a very emotional experience for both of us. It’s a very nice and very beautiful experience. It’s different than what we’ve experienced before with touring. I don’t know what’s happening right now. It seems like a magical thing during shows, and it’s awesome. Thank you.