Currently on a headlining tour working its way across the country, and with their 7th full length album Poison the Parish launching today, we caught up with Shaun Morgan of Seether at this year’s Carolina Rebellion to talk about how they’ve grown, what to expect from their latest release, and what it was like to self-produce the latest album themselves.
What kind of feelings do you run through when announcing, promoting and releasing a new album?
It’s always nerve wrecking man, and this last week is just so busy, that I really don’t have time to have feelings. We’re just going from sleep, back to doing something, back to sleep. I’m excited, I’m really proud of this album. I produced it, and these are the songs that are really the kind of music I want to be writing. I spent a few albums trying to figure it out. It’s heavy, it’s calm, it’s sort of like the earlier stuff used to be, and it helped me re-discover my passion for music. There was a time where I was thinking about just throwing it all in and doing something else for a living.
So, it was either release an album, or make subs at Jimmy John’s? That must have been a hard decision.
Yeah I know, huh? But really, this album made me feel like a kid in a garage again. Just banging out music and having fun! And that’s kind of what this is all about. I look forward to it coming out so I can stop stressing about it.
What can we expect from Poison the Parish?
It’s riffy, and heavy, its raw, it goes back to the first two albums sound. It’s riffs, rock, and melodies. It’s not trying to be forced into an alternative-leaning direction by the label, because that was their whole deal on the last record. They wanted us to try and compete with the alternative stations, because alternative stations just basically turned their backs on rock bands. So, we lose all these stations, like ‘fuck – you guys suck!’ But we don’t sound like 21 Pilots or Lorde or you know, whatever those bands are. They’re all good in their own right, but how can you be a rock station just playing that stuff, to not playing anything with a guitar in it? We’re a rock band, we’re a guitar band, so I figured we should just embrace that and stop pretending to be something else.
Looking back to Disclaimer, how have you guys evolved as artists?
I think we’ve devolved! I think we’ve gone Cro-Magnon. But I think what it is, is that those songs on Disclaimer I wrote when I was 15 or 16 up to 21 right? So, you have six or seven years to write that stuff. Then you get onto the next album and you’re like “Bam!” You have to bang it out in six months. Hell, not even! You have three months to come off the road, do the album and then go back out. What I’ve learned is you take your time, and when the album is ready, it’s ready. You don’t want to rush art. I think we’ve done that as well, like with the last album. We only had 8 songs written before we went into the studio. We were missing five songs, and that’s kind of a stupid way to do it. This time we had about forty songs, and we cut it down to fifteen, and we knew all the parts and everything. So, it’s different, and that really the main thing. And really our music is simple rock stuff, there’s not much to it. Maybe lyrically, but musically you can just pick up a guitar and rock that stuff.
Now, a band going into the studio, normally says “Oh, the producer really helped us become this, and that.” Producing your own album, how did that effect the outcome?
Hmm, the thing is, I’ve worked with four producers since this whole thing started across six albums and I learned from all the guys what I liked, and what I didn’t like. You know, when you sit in the studio everyone just assumes you’re this meat-head that is like “Duuuuuuhhhh, must play guitar!” You watch these guys, and you hear what they’re doing, and what they bring in. Brandon was a real song structure guy mostly and the first album we did with him, he made some arrangements changes. On the second, he didn’t. So that made me think, if I could have him be happy with the structures then surely we’re good, right? Because a guy like Brandon has a good barometer for where you’re at song writing wise, so it was nerve wrecking going in and doing it. I write these songs a certain way because that’s how I want them to sound, and I don’t want them to be changed. Now, I know that sounds like whiney, toddler bullshit…
You’re like, “it’s my song!”
Ya, like don’t touch it! (Laughter) Actually I think producers play a role, I just don’t think we needed one this time.
So, you’re currently on tour for the Poison the Parish album, and what do you look forward to most?
Going home! You know it’s that same thing again. Clint Lowery is playing with us now, and he’s from Sevendust, as you know. He brings so much to the table, that its really fun to play again. That really helps us, because when you bring in a new guy, you never really know. It’s like ‘let’s roll the dice and see what happens,’ but he brings great vocals, and great guitar playing. He’s just awesome, and that just gives me a whole new aspect of playing again. Everything’s great right now. Ask me again in six months, I might tell you to fuck off. (laughs)
Let’s say you’re out in the crowd at a festival. Are you offended if no one recognizes you, or upset if they do?
I don’t give a shit! I really don’t man. Like I know some guys get super pissed off if they walk into a room and no one’s like “oh my god” or the room doesn’t gasp. But I don’t give a shit about that stuff.
You come out after the show, and the tour bus is gone. You get an iPod with one album on it to listen to while you walk to the next city. What do you pick?
Jesus… if that happened, I’m going to have to say Slipknot’s first album, because I’d be pissed! Or, if I was sad, Alanis Morissette. So I could get my cry on while I walked.
Anything you’d like to shamelessly plug?
Just the new album! Check out Poison the Parish!