Recently Sevendust released their ninth studio album titled Black Out the Sun. You can check out our review of the album here. The band has been a staple in the metal scene for roughly 16 years and are showing no signs of slowing down. Their first single is “Decay” and the band is currently on a co-headlining tour with Coal Chamber with Lacuna Coil as support. I had the privilege of speaking with Morgan Rose about the new album and all things Sevendust. Below is our conversation.
You can listen to the entire Morgan Rose interview below:
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Today, I’m welcoming Morgan Rose to the Unsung Melody family. Morgan is one of the best drummers on the planet in my opinion and sits behind the kit of the mighty Sevendust. First off, thanks so much taking the time to speak with us today.
Appreciate the compliments.
You guys released your new album on March 26th, it’s titled Blackout the Sun. The reactions have been overwhelmingly positive so far it seems.
Yeah. It’s been great from the outset. First with the single and then with the record coming out. Everybody’s been really positive about this album. So we’re excited.
I saw a lot of bands out there showing you guys some love as well. (Pop Evil, Nonpoint, Digital Summer) I think that’s a testament to just how humble and hardworking you guys are.
Yeah we love all this bands. We work really close with all of them. We’ve toured with all of them and I’m sure we’ll be doing more shows with them as well.
You just released a pretty dark video for the first single “Decay“. Tell us a bit about who you worked with on that and where the idea came from.
That track was actually written for Cold Day Memory, but it didn’t make the record. Our producer at the time felt that our other tracks were stronger. We went ahead and bagged that song.
Then when we were getting near the end of Black Out The Sun sessions, we had a little extra time, so we decided to go back into the vault. We listened to a few riffs that we had from before to see if anything caught out ear.
That particular riff, that song was the closest to being done. So, initially we were just tracking it, thinking it would be a B-side or just something to have in the tank. Of course when you don’t have any expectations, then the label listens to it and that ended up being the first. It never fails. We might feel like we know what we’re doing, but when you’re in the middle of it, being so close to the record, you get some tunnel vision on what you think should be the single or what you think is the best song on the record. Then the powers that be get involved and they tell you what they think and that’s their forte, so we just let them run with it.
You seemed to have the most fun out of everyone in the video. (laughter)
Well, I’m the only single one. I had gone through a breakup middle to late last year, so I was the one to be a available to be the hooker. (Laughter) I didn’t complain a whole lot. It is a little nerve wracking, having a bunch of people watching you do all that, but it was fun.
I mentioned it being a dark video, the tone of the album seems too be a bit darker than previous records. Was that an intended result or was it just a result of the writing process?
We tend to be a little but on the darker side. We write all these songs that are on the record, from the cuff. There was nothing that was written when we went in to do the album, so it kind of started to take on a tone. We were all buying into that vibe. It wasn’t really a conscious effort to do that, but that’s how it came out.
My personal favorite track is “Murder Bar“. It has every element Sevendust brings to the table and it’s brutal. If you would, give us a little insight into that song.
That was one of the earlier tracks that we actually wrote for the record. That one probably got a little bit of extra attention as well. We pulled stuff out of that song and added different things. It used to because little bit heavier actually.
The title Murder Bar was actually just a working title for a while. We had toyed around with the idea of maybe calling the record Murder Bar. That was just this local watering hole that was across the street from the hotel that we would frequent after tracking all day. We nicknamed the place the Murder Bar. So, when we didn’t call the record Murder Bar, we knew we had to stick that title somewhere, so that’s where it landed.
You have been working with Arkitekt Studios for a bit now. Clint and yourself recorded the Call Me No One record there, you played the drums on one of our Unsung Artists album in Annandale and that’s where you guys recorded this record. What has drawn you into the fold there at Arkitekt?
It’s like a diamond in the rough. It’s a bunch of guys that graduated from Seton Hall University. They just came up with a really cool little concept. They have the studio. Then inside that place, they have a ton of teacher rooms and stuff. Where they teach a ton of kids everything from vocals, piano, drums, guitar, bass, just everything. They also have a live room, where once a week they have bands come in and play there.
It was really weird how we met them. Clint was looking for some studio monitors and he tweeted about it and one of the owners actually responded to the tweet and said that he had some speakers and he would give them to him. That’s how they began talking. They talked for a while and then Clint was doing the Hello Demons EP, he needed some programming and one of the other owners there was a programmer. So, he went ahead and worked on Clint’s EP and then when me and Clint were going to do the Call Me No One record, we started talking about it. Thinking about where we wanted to track it. They made us a deal that we couldn’t refuse to do it there. So, we did it and we had such a great experience doing it there, that when it came time to do the Sevendust record, we went ahead and asked the guys if they wouldn’t mind giving it a shot over there. They all agreed and it ended up being fantastic. It’s a great little studio. It’s in a small town in New Jersey. There’s not a whole lot of bad stuff to get into and you can concentrate on the record. We love those guys up there. George Roskos and Curt, Mike Ferretti and all those guys up there. Everybody up there, they’re all just great people and really determined. I think they are going to be successful for sure.
Let me preface this question by saying, I hope this happens really far into the future. Is producing where you want to be after Sevendust?
Yeah. I’ve been doing a lot of producing lately and I’ve been dipping my hands into a lot of different stuff. Working with a record label and producing bands, writing with bands and doing stuff like that. So, I’ve just stayed busy and more than anything, I’m scratching around and seeing what I like most because at some point, we’ll hang it up. It isn’t going to be for a while, but you never know. Right now, we have no plans to stop for a while.
That’s music to my ears for sure. Well, you’ve been out on tour for a bit now and it’s continuing for quite some time in support of the new record. You’re doing a co-headlining run with Coal Chamber and Lacuna Coil as support. How many new songs have crept their way into the set?
We started with two, because the record wasn’t out. We didn’t want to bombard people with a bunch of songs that they hadn’t heard. Then Clint had to go home because he had the birth of his second child, so we actually backed it off to just one. Just playing Decay. We’re only playing for a little over an hour. At some point, Clint comes back in the 16th, (This interview was conducted the week prior to this posting) then we’ll start adding them in slowly from there. I would probably guess that we’ll probably end up with at least four songs.
Clint is sitting out a portion of this tour, Troy McLawhorn has been filling in. He’s a member of Evanescence, but he has a long history with Clint. So, it made sense to me when I saw him filling in. Was that an easy transition for the band?
Yeah, that was completely painless. I don’t even think we practiced. We’ve known Troy as long as we’ve known Clint, so it’s been since we were kids. It was just an easy move. It was just really lucky that he was available, because he can be very busy. So, when we saw that he was available and he said he would do it, we knew we were going to have no sweat with it.
Alright, I always end on a random question. So, you can’t escape it I suppose. You guys had a twitter chat a few days back, so it got me thinking…Other than this one, what’s the strangest question anyone has ever asked you?
Oh God. (Laughter) I’ve had some interesting ones that I can’t even repeat. I don’t know. The one that, it’s not really that strange, but the one that really gets under my skin more than anything is when somebody asks me where we got the name from. (Laughter) It’s like, we’ve been around for 16 years and I know that I’ve answered that question over 1,000 times. I did it 16 years ago, 15, 14, 13 and then all of a sudden you get into 9 records and somebody goes, where’d you get the name from. And I just want to freak out. I can’t think of anything except the ones that I can’t repeat. (Laughter)
Sounds like a fair trade-off. The site and myself we wish you guys absolutely nothing but the best and hopefully we can get caught up at a show sometime soon. You guys be safe out there on the road.
Preview or purchase Black Out the Sun below:
Check out the video for Decay below: