Chris Annunziata of the “Metal Teddy Bear Experience” show, which airs on the New Jersey radio station WMSC 90.3 Montclair State University, recently conducted an interview with MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below. A couple of excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the writing and recording process for MEGADETH’s new album, “Dystopia”:
“It was about a year of writing. Some of it started while we were still on the ‘Super Collider’ tour last year, but the thrust of it — laying down the ideas and kicking it into high gear — started probably really around the first of the year, as we turned into 2015, we’d turned up the flame on it. And I think that’s where a lot of the aggression and the really aggressive riffing and a lot of really getting progressive again started to come back into it. And it’s a process. You know, these songs don’t just fall out on the floor and suddenly they’re born. We sort of start ‘em, we fine-tune ‘em, we trim ‘em, we cut ‘em, we slice ‘em, we add more to ‘em, we stir ‘em around in a pot… They really go through a pretty lengthy process before we finalize ‘em on tape.”
On whether the rest of “Dystopia” is similar to the first songs that have been released so far, “Fatal Illusion” and “The Threat Is Real”:
“Yeah, the sound of the record is very much like that, for sure. There are a couple of other things in there that are really cool. You know, MEGADETH never really does a ballad, so to speak, but there is a track on there that I think people are really, really gonna dig. And then there’s another thing that’s… It’s pretty widespread. I mean, there’s some really fast, ripping thrash; there’s something that’s very haunting and daunting and melancholy and heavy, and then there’s everything in between. I think fans, they’re gonna be stoked; they’re gonna really be happy about it.”
On whether the addition of drummer Chris Adler (LAMB OF GOD) and guitarist Kiko Loureiro (ANGRA) has injected a “new MEGADETH sound” to “Dystopia”:
“I don’t think it’s so much a ‘new’ MEGADETH sound. I mean, I think the MEGADETH sound is… The die has been cast from years back. But to that end, certainly Kiko and Chris have brought their musicality to it. There’s a personality of MEGADETH that just kind of is, and a lot of that, of course, is Dave’s [Mustaine] writing, it’s his rhythm guitar sound, and certainly with me there, my bass sound within the mix of how Dave and I work together that I think is very familiar to our fans. I think probably what Kiko and Chris brought to it is that they’re both incredibly phenomenal musicians. And Chris is, I think, certainly top of the heap of thrash metal drummers. He didn’t bring Chris from LAMB OF GOD into the band; he brought Chris Adler, the maestro drummer, into the band. And the same with Kiko. He brought all of his musicality and his skill and his expertise into it. And you definitely hear that. Their voice is on it, but it definitely is a voice within the MEGADETH sound.”
On Kiko’s addition to MEGADETH:
“The thing about Kiko is… I’ve watched musicians — as we were all growing up together over the last three, going on four, decades now — you see guys who try to… ‘Well, I’m gonna try to play some acoustic guitar,’ ‘I’m gonna venture over to try to play the piano.’ And they’re really heavy metal shredder guitar players trying to do something else. And you can hear it, because their skill level isn’t quite there. You know, we spend most of our days really honing our craft with the instrument that we’re known for. What’s different about Kiko, and I think it’s because of where he grew up down in Brazil, and he just had different influences growing up. You know, he didn’t just have American or British rock and roll to listen to. He had a lot of Brazilian jazz around him, he had nylon-string classical music… you know, just a different musical influence of his Brazilian lifestyle. And you can tell that that really has had an impact on his playing. And it’s one of the things that… I know when Dave called me, and he said, he goes, ‘Man, I think I found our new guitar player,’ and he told me that he had his eye on Kiko… I actually knew Kiko and I had just played with him late last year, in 2014, on a couple of shows in South America, so it was an easy call for me to make to him and invite him to the gig. But having played with him, especially playing with him South America, I could sense his musicality and just how tied into the culture that he is down there. And that’s a nice addition for MEGADETH, ‘cause we’re a global band. As much as we’re an American band, at this point in our lives, we’re very much a band of the people, by the people, for the people, for the entire heavy metal world as a collective.”
“Dystopia” will be released on January 22, 2016. The follow-up to 2013’s “Super Collider” was recorded earlier in the year in Nashville, Tennessee and was produced by MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine. The CD was mixed by Josh Wilbur, who has previously worked with LAMB OF GOD, ALL THAT REMAINS and GOJIRA.