311 want to show they're down with a softer sound, too.
That's why the hip-hop reggae rockers, currently recording their sixth studio LP, recently switched gears from "bludgeoning" to "uplifting and transcendent" on the as-yet-untitled project.
"When we first started making the new album, we wanted to make hard-ass songs to mosh to fast tempos, rapping, big guitars," singer Nick Hexum said on 311's official Web site.
"That style will definitely make up a large portion of the new album, but at one point a couple of months ago we had a revelation. We realized that creating beautiful sounds and melodies was at least half of the reason that we love being in this band," the post, verified by 311's management as Hexum's, said. "Rocking hard and yelling is fun, but everyone is doing it lately.
"All the 'harder than thou' bands of today are destined to be viewed as the hair-metal bands of yesterday," Hexum continued. "It takes a band with a full emotional range and great melodies to last forever. Awesome bands like Deftones and Incubus have the ability to save rock and roll."
311 are recording the new album with producer Ron Saint Germain (Creed, Soundgarden, Tool), who also produced the band's 1995 self-titled breakthrough, featuring the hit single "Down." Though now working in their own Hive Studio in Los Angeles, 311 spent their first two weeks of recording at nearby Sound City Studios in the same room where Nirvana recorded Nevermind.
"The room seemed to have a lot of magic, and 311 were definitely feeling the good vibes," Hexum said.
The band is expected to wrap up recording by mid-March. Current song titles include "Full Ride," "Sick Tight," "You Wouldn't Believe," "From Chaos," "Bomb the Town," "Uncalm," "We Do It Like This," "Champagne," "I'll Be Here Awhile," "Hostile Apostle" and "Amber."
Rappers Will.I.Am of Black Eyed Peas and Tre "Slimkid" Hardson of the Pharcyde joined the Omaha, Nebraska, natives on a track tentatively titled "Slappy," although 311's manager said the song is unlikely to appear on the album.
Though 311 expect a summer release for the record, the band has yet to finalize a deal with Volcano Records, which recently purchased Capricorn Records, the band's former label it was suiting for allegedly failing to properly promote them (see "311 Prep New Songs Despite Label Battle"). A spokesperson for Volcano said the label has not set release dates for any of Capricorn's former artists, including the New York hip-hop rock crew 2 Skinnee J's, whose Volumizer was originally scheduled to hit shelves last fall.
311 Hexum, rapper/turntablist S.A. Martinez, guitarist Tim Mahoney, bassist P-Nut and drummer Chad Sexton plan to promote their next album with summer and fall tours. The group supported 1999's Soundsystem by spending much of their time on the road last year with Zebrahead and Incubus.