PropertyOfZack is extremely excited to be releasing our new interview with Cone of Sum 41. Cone and I discussed the band’s new album, Screaming Bloody Murder, issues with Island Records, and touring, among a bunch of other great topics. Read up and enjoy the interview below!
For the record, could you state your name and role in Sum 41?
My name’s Cone, and I play bass in Sum 41.
So just to start things off, Deryck has been through quite a lot in the past six months dating back to the incident in Japan and of course now the severe pneumonia. How is he doing?
He’s doing good. The whole band and our crew are in Perth right now, but he’s back in Sydney. He got out of the hospital two days ago, so he’s kind of hanging out in a hotel room with his cousin on a bunch of antibiotics. He said he’s feeling really good. He said he’s feeling way better. We have to give him a lot of time though. He’s feeling better though.
Were the Soundwave Festival dates that the band was able to perform a success?
Yeah, we did Brisbane and Sydney and then we cancelled the rest. We fly to Spain today and hopefully he’ll be able to play on Saturday when we have a show.
What was the set like? How many new songs are being worked into the mix in the live show?
We’ve been playing two so far and a little snippet of a third one. We’ve been playing “Screaming Bloody Murder” and a song called “Scumfuck” that was leaked probably four or five months ago. And then a little riff from another song called “Back Where I Belong.” We don’t want to play too many new songs because people don’t know them, especially when you’re playing festivals like this. You’re getting fans, but you’re also getting people that are just around to check you out. You want to kind of give them the old songs that they all know. We throw in the two new songs more when we’re doing our own shows. We just do a set that we want to go see. I just saw Iron Maiden playing on the festival, and I’d say 80% of the set was new stuff. They played maybe four old songs. It was a little bit of a bummer because you want to hear the old stuff, which they never played.
How has the reception to the newer songs been live?
Good. It feels like they’re old songs when we play them now because all the kids already know them. That’s the beauty of the internet; they can listen to them before we have a chance to play them. It’s kind of good that way.
Two songs have been released off of Screaming Bloody Murder; the title track and “Blood In My Eyes.” How has the reaction been so far?
All of our fans love the harder, heavier side of us. That’s what we found out over the past five years. Everyone’s really into it. “Blood In My Eyes” is a little heavier than the single, but everyone’s into that too. We gauge it by our shows, and people seem to sing along and beat the crap out of each other. I guess that means it’s good.
Could we see a music video for any of the songs?
We haven’t filmed a video for our single yet, which is strange. We’ve never been in a situation where we’ve had a single out with no video. I think we’re going to try to film something in March. There will definitely be more tour updates. We do a tour update once a week. There will be more of those.
The band started pre-production 2009 for this record and there were reports that it was going to be released at the end of August in 2010. Can you walk us through the countless delays?
We kind of wanted to say it was done when it was done. We didn’t really give ourselves a deadline, that’s why it took so long. We didn’t listen to any outside people who said we needed it out by the summer. I think the whole summer release thing came from the label wanting to release it during the summer. We were on Warped Tour, so it was probably good timing, but the album just wasn’t done. When we sat back and listened to it it just wasn’t complete. Deryck had a few more songs that he really liked and we ended up recording them and they made the album. Without those songs I don’t think it’d be the same kind of album. We just took our time and did things on our own. It wouldn’t have been complete if it came out in August.
Gill Norton was originally supposed to produce and record the album, but he was dismissed within the first week I believe. Why did the band decide not to work with Gill?
We interviewed a lot of producers and Gill seemed to fit. He’s done a lot of good stuff. That’s kind of why we chose him, but I guess it was probably our fault. We’ve been recording together for eleven years now and have our own process. He has his own process as well and they didn’t go together. Not that his was wrong, but it was just different than ours. We like to work in a certain way and he likes to work in a certain way. It just didn’t work.
Deryck ended up producing the record as he did with Underclass Hero. Did you guys take different approaches in terms of recording than on the previous record?
Only in the way of where and how it was recorded. We rented a house out this time and there was a guest house that the owner had transformed into a studio. So we basically lived at this house together and at any point during the night or day we’d walk across the lawn and throw down the idea at any point. In the past we’d have our hotel rooms and we’d go home at midnight and wouldn’t see each other anymore. If you had an idea you’d have to wait until the next day. This process made us live the album; we were there all the time and we lived together.
POZ: Is that style of recording something you’d do again?
Cone: Yeah, I loved it. It was great. We had friends over and parties at the house all the time, and it wasn’t our house [Laughs]. So we’d have raging parties. It’s kind of recording an album in a chaotic atmosphere, which I think added energy to the album.
It’s been four years since Underclass Hero was released. All this time later, are you personally happy with the album and happy with the reception towards it?
Yeah, it’s definitely different. I like the sound of the new one better. I like heavier and harder stuff. Underclass is on more of the poppy side, but it still has great melodies. I don’t really not like any of our albums all that much because I play them every day.
Was the shift in sound on this record back to sounds like those on Does This Look Infected? and Chuck a purposeful shift?
Not really. We didn’t have a sit down and talk about that. These are the kind of songs that reflect what was going on in Deryck’s life at the time. We never really talked about it. Whatever came out came out. These are the kind of songs he was writing. Nothing had a thought process behind it on this album. We made the songs the best we could be. We recorded it in chunks.
Rumors have gone around that Sum 41 wanted to record two extra songs that Island Records refused to fund and that you guys took money out of your own pockets to create. Is that true?
Yeah, after the summer the label really wanted to release the album as it was, and like I said before, we just didn’t think it was done yet. There were still two more songs that we really liked that he had just written. I think he wrote them right after Warped, but the label said that the album was definitely done and that they weren’t giving us any more money. We said screw it and that we’d pay for it. That’s what we did.
POZ: Has that created a divide between you guys and Island?
Cone: I don’t know. The only involvement they’ve had in this album is wanting to put it out. [Laughs]. They’d call Deryck a lot and ask him when it was getting done weekly. You just have to learn to shut stuff like that out. I don’t know if there’s a divide between us and Island, it’s just how it is now. Labels pipe up if they need to, but the only real thing they wanted to do with this album was to release it. We’ve kind of been doing our own thing and have been touring a lot since April while recording this album. I don’t know if there’s a rift between us and then.
The record does include fourteen songs, which is generally long for a record released now-a-days. How would you say the rest of the tracks that have yet to be heard reflect the band and prior material?
I think it’s an extension of the fact that everything is single driven right now, but we listen to albums. We love full albums. That’s what we do in our dressing rooms before shows, we listen to albums. We just wanted to make an album. This new album is very much something that can be listened to from first to last. Somebody asked me what my favorite song was and I can’t pick one. It’s so new. It’s this journey and it takes you on a little ride. When we had all the songs we organized them in a way that you could do that.
Would you say the theme of the record reflects a darker time?
This album is probably the darkest and heaviest thing we’ve ever done. We wanted to make the inlay and album cover reflect the album. We were kind of going more for a film noir kind of theme.
There are a few more legs on the Screaming Bloody Murder tour throughout North America, Asia, and Europe. Will we see a lot more new songs get worked into the mix one the record is released?
Yeah, we’re already playing the longest sets we’ve ever played. We’re playing an hour and a half right now, which is crazy. We used to go out and play fifty minutes. We’ll be adding a lot more new songs while keeping the old ones, so we’ll probably be up around two hours. That’s cool. We don’t mind, but we’ll be tired.
There’s a gap between the Asia dates in May and the European dates in July. Could we see anymore US dates on the east coast around then?
Slowly are schedule is filling out. We’re formulating a little bit of a plan with where we want to be. US stuff is looking more likely at the end of the summer after the European stuff. Nothing is booked, but that’s what we have set out in our schedule.
Is there a possibility that more dates may be added to the European tour?
Oh yeah, there will be a lot more. In Europe they do festivals all summer long, so we’re just getting in offers now. We’ll probably be in Europe for five weeks.
Thanks so much for your time, is there anything else that you would like to add or that we should be on the lookout for?
Not really. The new album comes out on the 29th and we’ll be out on a world tour. That’s about it.