Monday, June 20, 2011

Soundgarden: New album update

Soundgarden are getting set for their month-long North American summer tour, which kicks off July 2 in Toronto.

The live dates give the band a break from the studio, as the reunited unit continues work on new music.

“We’re recording. We’re kind of doing it in stages,” guitarist Kim Thayil tells Stereogum. “We have about 14 songs in various stages of completion. Previously, we’d just block out a bunch of time and go and track everything at once, but we can’t really do that right now. Matt [Cameron] has commitments to Pearl Jam, Chris [Cornell] has a solo tour happening and Soundgarden is touring in July. So we do the studio thing around those other engagements, which actually is turning out to be a lot better for us. It takes the pressure off in some ways. It’s not like, OK you’ve got three weeks and everything needs to get done in those three weeks. We can work at our own pace right night and take things one step at a time. We’re really enjoying it. We don’t have a record company or management pressuring us to hurry up, so we can really savor the process this time.”

It’s still early in the project, but Thayil shares his thoughts on the new material.

“The vibe of the songs is definitely very heavy,” says the guitarist. “We’ve always tried to explore how to make this really heavy, aggressive music without sounding like a bunch of knuckle-dragging meatheads. I think these songs are kind of exploring that idea. Ways of emoting aggression and anger and hostility in ways that feel new. You know, we never were really chipper guys. We were never the party band, or even a particularly social band. We were always really just hard workers and a kind of musician’s band. That’s what we wanted to be that. We wanted to play for an audience that reminded us of ourselves back when we were young, I always liked the idea that our fans were that guy or girl who collected records and wanted to start a band of their own and play good music. I always imagined we were the band that made the party end. Like, ok guys it’s time to leave now, someone just put on Superunknown! I always felt like we made music that was good for driving, good for listening to really loud. The new songs sound really heavy. I’ll just say that.”

What’s ahead for Soundgarden in 2011?

“Touring next month, finishing our record sooner rather than later,” Kim explains. “You know, it just feels good to be doing this stuff. I like the idea that we’ve all come back together to tie up the loose ends and sort of attend to our legacy, such as it is. We want to see that our back catalog is treated with care, that our fans aren’t ripped off, and we want to make really vital, creative, excellent new music together.”

“Also, as the sort of unofficial custodian of the Soundgarden archives, I want to make sure that our unreleased material is handled in the right way,”
adds Thayil. “It really bums me out to think about all the material that never got released by Nirvana. They were one of my favorite bands ever — a band that felt like our little brothers and were simultaneously our peers and also an incredible influence on us. To think that there was all this unfinished work that can’t be shared and people will never hear, it’s just a shame. It really makes me want to do the right thing with Soundgarden. It makes me thankful to be in a band. For a long time I just didn’t want to think about record contracts and managers and publishing—I just wanted to jam with my friends and drink some beer and enjoy my life. But it feels good to be doing this again. I think we all feel that way.”

Soundgarden Soundgarden

Soundgarden – Rusty Cage
Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL – August 8, 2010

See also:

VIDEO: Chris Cornell rocks Bob Marley classic on Jimmy Fallon
Soundgarden announce remaining summer tour dates
Soundgarden announce first dates for summer tour
Soundgarden: Preview ‘Live On I-5’
Chris Cornell: Soundgarden start recording next week
Soundgarden talk live album, new music
Soundgarden planning new album in 2011