No Doubt — Minus Gwen — In Early Stages Of New Album

'We're easing into it,' bassist Tony Kanal says.

No Doubt have babies on the brain — and it’s not just because Gwen Stefani is expecting a little one. The band hopes to create its own baby — a new album — and has started sowing the seeds in the studio, bassist Tony Kanal revealed.

“I wouldn’t even say this album is in its infancy,” he said. “Its conception, if anything. … It’s so super-early on.”

Kanal, guitarist Tom Dumont and drummer Adrian Young have regrouped to work on demos together, while Stefani sits out until she gives birth (“She’s due pretty soon,” Kanal said; see “Gwen Stefani Confirms Pregnancy While Onstage In Florida” ). But Kanal’s hesitant even to call the new material “songs,” since some of the tunes are just in the idea stage. “We’re easing into it,” he said. “We’re taking it very slowly, kind of just going in and writing here and there.”

But as laid-back as that sounds, the excitement is in the air, since the band’s latest collection of new material, Rock Steady, was released way back in 2001. (No Doubt’s last offering was a cover of Talk Talk’s “It’s My Life” for a greatest-hits album). “Right now, it’s all about the music and being as creative as possible,” Kanal said.

So what do the new songs sound like? Kanal said it’s too early to tell. And besides, the bandmembers aren’t about to map out a destination point just yet — they’d rather just explore all the back roads, shortcuts and scenic views while they can.

“We’ve been doing this so long that if we try to set a place to go to, we’ll never get there,” Kanal said. “So we’re letting that road unfold in front of us. I’m sure we’ll have the same influences, all the reggae and rock stuff we grew up on, and a bunch more, so we can go in a different direction as well.”

One of those different directions could stem from the experience Kanal had executive producing Elan’s forthcoming reggae debut, Together as One, an album Stefani also contributed to with the song “All Nighter” (see “No Doubt’s Tony Kanal Spends Band’s Hiatus Producing Reggae LP, Remixing Gwen” ). “It’s always a learning process, every time you work with someone,” Kanal said. “You take a bit of what their history is and hopefully you give a little back.”