Loudwire: Is the plan now to finish out this tour, go home for the holidays and relax a bit and then get back into writing new material?
M. Shadows: We probably won't write for awhile. We still have to go to Southeast Asia. I know we have to go to Bangkok, Singapore, Indonesia and we're going back to Japan. We're trying to go to China, so right now they're working on a whole Southeast Asia tour with Japan, as well. So, that will probably be, like, four months after Christmas. We'll probably take the four months off, do that tour, and then we'll start talking about the next record after that.
"Nightmare" has been called your most personal album and one that would take fans on a very dark journey. How would you describe the journey you took on the album?
I was introduced to anxiety during this album; I had never had anything like that. I'm kind of a slave-driver during the process, I keep pushing the guys to write more and more and more, and I'll throw out songs that people think are good. That's kind of the process we had for writing the music when [late Avenged Sevenfold drummer] Jimmy ["The Rev" Sullivan] was around. We got to the point where we were really happy with the music and I was going to start writing the lyrics and then Jimmy passed away. I had a lot of anxiety and all these crazy things that I've never experienced before, and just trying to figure out what the perfect words was to say. We were in the studio with [producer] Mike Elizondo and everybody - brilliant artists and brilliant producers - but it was just kind of a crazy. It was a confined space and I just felt like we were in this hole, trying to dig ourselves out. When it was all said and done, it was definitely something we were all really proud of. I think on a musical level, I was happy with it, but not only that, I was happy with it on a sonic level, I think Mike did an amazing job and Andy Wallace did an amazing job [mixing the CD], and when I got to sit back and listen to it all, I was just really proud of it. I was proud of all the work and struggle that we went through to get it done, I think it shows. It's definitely my favorite record, sonically and emotionally, that we've ever done.
I have to ask about Arin [Ilejay]. He's been playing drums live with you for a bit now, but he's not a permanent member of the band. Are you going to visit that possibility in the future?
It's all about the writing process. We have our reservations about people coming in and how they'll fit into the writing process and how dedicated they're going to be and how much they can bring to the table. It's not necessarily about him; it's just based on our experiences. We like the way we work and we like the way we write and it's a little bit out there, a little more over the top or cutting edge than we want, but then when the record comes out, it feels normal for us. We need somebody that's going to be along for the ride, so we need to go through that process again with him before we can say he's a bandmember and then he doesn't know what he got himself into. Writing, for us, is a completely different beast, and we know he's a great touring drummer, he's great at playing the parts, but we want to make sure that he's great at creating his own parts as well. That's going to be the final test for him, and then he needs to decide if this is even what he wants to do. He's toured now for a year and a half, and this is our life. We're going to be doing this for the next 10 or 20 years and there's a lot of things you give up along the way. You miss holidays with your family, you don't really have a normal family situation, and he has to make sure it's what he wants, too.
Read the entire interview from Loudwire.