Four Stroke Baron’s new album, Data Diamond, originally envisioned as two separate EPs, – one electronic (Data) and one heavy (Diamond), was released on May 31st. The concept evolved, bringing the group’s creative process to the forefront, resulting in one unique and powerful release. Metal Insider caught up with the group to learn more about the record and overall approach by incorporating different styles.

Can you describe the creative process behind merging two separate EPs into the new album Data Diamond?

Each EP was completed on their own without the others in mind, and once we realized we wanted to combine them we had to make some creative decisions to make it seamless and cohesive. In this case we shelved some songs (that will be released later) and then we expanded on some smaller ideas to turn them into larger songs. It might be evident where this happens throughout the album, with certain electronic interludes or choruses that are noticeably heavy or electronic. It was a cool way to build an album, a lot of the fun we have making music is connecting ideas and having two seemingly unrelated ideas connect without being jarring or thrown together.

What inspired the decision to create one electronic EP with Data and one heavy EP Diamond, initially?

When we finished Classics, we still wanted to write and record but weren’t thinking about a typical FSB album. So we started making some electronic songs for fun, and they turned out to be some of our favorite things we’ve written. That formed into 4-5 electronic songs that we thought would make a cool EP (Data). That idea expanded into going the opposite direction and also making a ridiculously heavy EP (Diamond), which Monday was the first song we wrote for Diamond. Once the additional heavy songs started to form, we realized all of the stuff we were sitting on was too good to just leak out as an EP. Hence Data Diamond was born.

What was it like collaborating with Paul Masvidal from Cynic and Adam Janzi from Vola for the title track?

I helped Paul Masvidal program the Cynic live set for their Re-Focus tour, since I have plenty of experience manipulating vocals live, which obviously Cynic uses quite a bit of vocal effects. I got along great with Paul, and we planned a weekend to just hang out and write music. At the time the only part of the song Data Diamond I had was the piano part, so we rolled with that key and tempo, and he came up with the chorus. With Adam Janzi, we met him when we toured with VOLA in 2022. We all got along great, and decided it would be cool to have Adam Janzi do a drum solo for the song Data Diamond. That turned into us having him drum for the entire song, which was awesome to hear our sound with a different drumming style. Since Matt’s drums are such a large part of our music, we were cautiously excited to see how our song would sound with someone else taking the helm, but Adam Janzi is such an amazing player that it turned out even better than we could have hoped. He is capable of playing extremely locked in and behind the beat, but as you can hear on the drum solo he has is capable of an extremely chaotic and expressive style when he unleashes his chops. We had a blast mixing that track and building layers based on his grooves.

What songs were more challenging to write?

Cyborg 3 was a bit of a challenge, it started out as a totally different idea at first. And for some reason we kept hitting a road block and wondering if we should shelve the song, at the time it was just a couple of riffs. Then once we wrote the chorus and realized it might be cool to write a part 3 to Cyborg, the song instantly started to flood in. 1000 Threads was also a challenge, the song at one point was almost 7 minutes with an entirely different middle section. Getting ideas out is easy, but sometimes you reach a point where you realize an idea needs to be shortened or rearranged. Which if a part is cool, it sucks to get rid of it. But once you finalize the decision to get rid of a part the song is always better for it.

Can you talk more about the themes surrounding the subjects of a Radio Shack CEO, a cyborg, and a death cult leader?

When writing lyrics we always start with a story, it gives you words and themes to latch onto rather than just sitting there going “what do I feel today???” And then the lyrics form their own metaphors and associations, which even if they aren’t 100% on purpose you can find them emerge in the lyrics. For example Monday, the lyrics are (literally) self destructive. Cyborg Pt. 3 is about technology destroying everything, People In My Image is basically a manic episode.

What are your favorite tracks on the album and why?

My favorite is Data Diamond, I love the way it’s structured and how it feels nostalgic with some unexpected turns that aren’t shoehorned in. Monday is also one of my favorites, I feel like that captures the aggression and heaviness we have while keeping it melodic. Some people say it’s cacophonous or purposely ridiculous, but every part of that track is super deliberate and thought out. And it follows a pretty basic and logical structure, I think you need to get used to it before you listen and assume we’re trying to only make something absurd.

How do you envision performing Data Diamond live?

The songs are deceptively easy to pull of live, under all of the effects everything is performed live with basic guitar, bass, and drum tones. With the vocals, I have a vocal effects unit that I automate all of the effects, so every robot voice and vocoder is doable. A track like Monday would be a bit harder, because there is a ton of purposely chopped up rhythms and guitar glitches. When it comes to parts like that, we’ll change it up a bit live so we can avoid doing something lame like having guitars come through the PA. We’d rather the live show come across slightly different in a specific part than try to recreate the album 1:1.

Is there anything else you want to say or add about the new album?

So far it’s been the most polarizing which is a good thing, haven’t seen a mediocre review yet. Decibel magazine said “don’t fucking listen to this.” And then another review said it was the pinnacle of human expression. We think metal and progressive metal is in a pretty stale and boring place right now, we want to bring back excitement. The internet has made a lot of musicians latch onto certain styles while trying to perfect them, and almost censor their own creativity in fear of turning fans off or not getting the approval of others in the scene. Our only goal is to make catchy music, make it exciting and impossible for others to reproduce.