by Deb Rao
– Senior Columnist –
Sevendust is getting ready to unleash one of their most captivating albums to date, Black Out The Sun, on March 26 on 7Bros Label. Black Out The Sun illustrates the diversity of the band, featuring songs that span from hard rock, industrial, to southern rock. Sevendust raise the bar high with the soaring vocals of Lajon Witherspoon, to the diverse guitar progressions and up-tempo drum rhythms. Black Out The Sun speaks to the legion of fans with its blue-collar heartfelt lyrics.
Drummer Morgan Rose speaks to Hardrock Haven in-depth regarding the making of Black Out The Sun and also unveils an exclusive track by track breakdown of each song. Morgan Rose comments, “Sevendust is totally built off of pride which is a dangerous thing. Pride is a dangerous thing. That is just the way we have been. We handle our business that way; we handle our band that way when it comes to writing songs We refuse to sell ourselves short. There is just not going to be any lyrics out there that are going to be cliché, We do the best that we can do to keep them from being cliché. A lot of the people out there in metal and punk rock are really a blue-collar style of music. A lot of them like that. They like simplicity like that.”
Sevendust perform in Vegas at The Railhead on March 23rd.
HRH: Morgan, I listened to your album last night. It totally rocks. I love the diversity of it. The vocals, your drumming, the guitar work is superb. It kind of has an apocalyptic feel to it?
Morgan: It’s funny that the thing we keep hearing and we kind of giggle at it is we like to use the term Epic a lot. When we are writing a song we say it sounds like such an epic feel right there. That is what we are hearing a lot of. The songs have an epic feel to them. Not to be corny or anything. It feels a lot of times during recording there is a journey through these songs. We had a really good time with it.
HRH: The sound goes from hard rock to industrial to southern rock. It is amazing. Tell us about the writing process for the album.
Morgan: There was no writing process. That was the beauty of it. It was really us going in the room and we will write this together as a band. When we were kids and we got signed because of the way we did things. We all sat in a room, and we all played. Somebody might be sitting in the living room when somebody was working or writing a riff. We wrote these songs as a band. So we just went in there and we were winging it. We knew that we were on a timetable. We had deadlines that had to be met. But we kept calm and just came in everyday and put in a full day. We didn’t over think too many things. We wrote an entire record from scratch basically.
HRH: How did you come up with the title Black Out The Sun?
Morgan: We usually start when it gets to album titles time, we start looking at song titles obviously. A lot of times we don’t put a whole a lot of thought into it. We name songs that have nothing to do with the songs because we need a working title to be able to help us remember what the heck we did. Black Out The Sun, we got a little bit more mature with that. Black Out The Sun is a song that Clint has written for his father that passed away. We went and back with a few different titles for the record. Then when we got to Black Out The Sun it just felt like we liked the way it sounded and it had a strong meaning to it.
HRH: Also you picked the first single to be “Decay.” Why did you pick that song?
Morgan: We didn’t pick it actually. I was very surprised that they picked it. It felt like I was walking on glass to get out of the room. I didn’t want anything else to crack. We figured they were going to go with something a little bit more commercial and easier on the ears. But they decided to go with that which was more of a driving heavy track.
HRH: How do you feel Black Out The Sun compares to your previous release Cold Day Memory?
Morgan: I love Cold Day Memory. And I love the new record. It is two totally different animals. Cold Day Memory was Clint’s first record back. I love both of the records. I think that this record is a lot less produced. This record is a little bit more real for us. Like I said we went into the studio and there wasn’t time to be haggling over each little part. That is something that we have been guilty of before. Let’s try this part and see how many times we come back to it. Seventy-five percent of the time we ended up doing the things we did first. Let’s go ahead and do it. It sounds good and feels good, and the other four guys in the band would say that feels good let’s move on. So that was the difference. Less produced and a lot less time to screw around, a lot less time to second-guess everything.
HRH: What new songs are performing on this tour?
Morgan: The only new ones we are playing now are “Till Death” and “Decay.” Those are probably the two heavier ones off of the record.
HRH: Now this record also a Southern appeal to it. Would you influenced by Lynyrd Skynyrd a lot?
Morgan: Yes, we are big Lynryd Skynyrd fans.
HRH: How is the tour going so far?
Morgan: The tour is going amazing. We are sold out every night. We got a nice bill out here. Lacuna Coil is amazing really cool people.
HRH: Sevendust just keeps getting better and better. What is the secret to your longevity?
Morgan: Sevendust is totally built off of pride, which is a dangerous thing. Pride is a dangerous thing. That is just the way we have been. We handle our business that way; we handle our band that way when it comes to writing songs We refuse to sell ourselves short. There is just not going to be any lyrics out there that are going to be cliché’, We do the best that we can do to keep them from being cliché. A lot of the people out there in metal and punk rock are really a blue-collar style of music. A lot of them like that. They like simplicity like that.
HRH: I have to commend your on your work with Candlelight Red. You are doing a great job producing the record for these guys. I saw them a few weeks back at the Hard Rock
Morgan: I appreciate it. These guys are like my babies now. I have enjoyed working with them. They are really cool guys. I expect them to do really big things this year. Their new record is coming out later this year. I think it will probably be out mid March.
HRH: Do you have time to do a quick track by track for us?
Morgan: I’ll do the best I can.
Black Out The Sun Track By Track with Morgan Rose:
l. “Memory” – “That was actually Clint was screwing around with an acoustic part for something us. There is actually video if it on the web that we did in the studio on you tube. There is this part you can hear me describing it to Clint because he went in there and was doing something else. That riff was something he was screwing around with me in the room. When we were playing it back I loved that progression. I want to build something around that. It ended up being the intro to the record. And it ended up being the middle section of “Faithless” the first track off of the record.”
2. “Faithless” – “It is one of my favorite tracks on the album. I think this is the biggest song as far as that Epic term that we have been using.”
3. “Till Death” – “That is my favorite.”
4. “Mountain” – “It has a little bit more of a southern vibe to it. There are a few songs on this record that showcase the fact that the band came from the South. It definitely has a Southern feel to it.”
5. “Cold As War” – “That is John’s favorite I think. We had Joey Belladona come into the studio I actually saw Joey Belladonna start to cry while that song was playing. Which was totally flipped me out. I adore Joey Belladonna. He is a really close friend of ours. It was like this guy a really close friend of ours just got overwhelmed. It is not a ballad it is a rock song. He was overwhelmed by it. That is one of the funner tracks for me. There are not a whole lot of drums going on in that track so I can sit back and watch everyone else work. ”
6. “Black Out The Sun” – “That is a song written about Clint’s Father who passed away. Another interesting takes off of something. Usually when there is a Tribute when someone has passed on it is usually in ballad form. So Clint came in with this. I thought it was real clever and it was a beautiful Tribute to his Dad. The lyrics are extremely strong. It is a really cool song.”
7. “Nobody Wants It” – “That groove started from let’s say we needed a drum beat. John and I are exhausting guitar parts here to. Write these songs from scratch Morgan play a drumbeat. I wasn’t even on the drums. I was sitting at a keyboard. I starting mounting it and we set up a keyboard where I could just hand tap the drum part and put it into pro-tools. I did it and there was a riff built off of that.”
8. “Dead Roses” – “I don’t remember much about. John said the label is talking about this being the next single.”
9. “Decay” – “This song was written for the last record. It doesn’t make the last record, it is the last song written for this one. It is the fastest moving song we ever agreed on. ”
10. “Dark A.M.” – “This is pretty cool song with slow drumming. All these songs have strong lyrics. That is something that has been an attraction to a lot of people.”
11. “Picture Perfect” – “This is another one of my favorites. I think it has one of the best guitar parts on the record. When Lajon was singing that line a picture perfect point of view, I just heard him singing that particular line over and over. When it came to that chorus Lajon was in there scatting that melody and that line. It is another strong lyrical song. At the time it meant to me for sure.”
12. “Got A Feeling” – “That song is brutal. That song is probably going to break me down when we play it live. Lyrically it is one of the deepest things that we ever done. ”
13. “Murder Bar” – “Is a heavy song. For a while we thought it was actually going to be the title for the record. That was the bar across the street from the hotel that we were at. We were making jokes saying you can’t go into that place you will be killed. So we started walking around a little. Hey are you going to the Murder Bar tonight? (Laughter) We got really close to the people over there. We probably spent at least four or five days a week at that bar. We had a blast.”
Visit Sevendust online here.