When Atlanta's Sevendust began toiling away on their fifth disc, Next, more than a year ago, the recording process was unlike anything they'd ever experienced.
For starters, Sevendust were on its own. With no label support whatsoever, the quartet was left to either fund the entire record itself, or wait around for a label to do it. The band chose the first option, and to help keep costs at a minimum, Sevendust not only decided to self-produce Next, but record it in a house instead of a studio. That decision turned out to be the best thing the band could've done, according to drummer Morgan Rose.
"There was no one really to tell us what to do — and over the past few records, there had been a lot of opinions from a lot of people on a lot of different aspects of the records," he said. "We pretty much had the reins to do what we wanted on this record, so we really were able to not worry about any outside influences. I don't want to sound too cliché, but we went back to our roots, because we were able to do some stuff that hadn't been accepted very readily over the last few records."
Rose said Sevendust were pressured by their former label, TVT, into softening their sound, when all the band wanted to do was optimize the heaviness.
"Over the last few records, the powers that be were telling us that we didn't need to be doing what we were doing," Rose explained. "We were told, 'You need to be listening to the White Stripes and the Strokes' — we were told, point blank, to go buy White Stripes and Strokes records to see what they sound like. I almost fell out of my chair when I heard that. It was like, 'Houston, there's a major f---ing problem here.' "
Which might explain the ferociousness of some of Next's 11 tracks, which include "Hero," "The Last Song," "Desertion" and "Pieces," the latter of which is described by Rose as "the heaviest song we've ever done, by far."
Yet some of the material is also lighter: The album's first single, "Ugly," is a mixed bag with a "huge chorus, broken-down verses and really heavy bridges," Rose said, and "Shadows in Red" shows Sevendust's softer side, and even features a viola.
"It's definitely a hybrid of heavy stuff and melodic stuff, but we don't leave much room for interpretation," he said. "It's a straightforward record."
Along with label woes, Rose is also leaving behind his feud with former Coal Chamber frontman Dez Fafara. "Enemy," one of the tracks on Seasons, lambasted Fafara for "f---ing over" Rose's wife, ex-Chamber bassist Rayna Foss-Rose (see "Rock And Roll Beef: Sevendust Rip Into Ex-Coal Chamber Frontman On 'Enemy' "). The track fueled a very public feud between the two dudes, one Rose regrets.
"I made a judgment call to acknowledge that I had been influenced to write a song about somebody, it was one of the most foolish things I've ever done," he said. "It didn't do any good. The whole mudslinging thing Dez and I did, I'll take a lot of the blame for that. I mean, I didn't want it to be out there, in the public, and there were people on the outside saying, 'This is good — it's controversy.' But ... I don't want to lay out a public apology, but I definitely should have thought twice about that. It was a pretty stupid thing to do."
Rose said Sevendust plan to tour extensively this fall, and will even make it over to Europe for the first time in the band's nine-year career, although none of those plans have been nailed down yet. The band's new label, the Universal-affiliated WineDark Records, will release Next on October 11.
"We're all excited," the drummer said. "This is the first record where we can really say, 'This is ours.' "