Sum 41 On New Material: 'It's A Really Heavily Aggressive Album'

Sum 41 bassist Cone McCaslin sat down with Joe Matera to discuss the new album.

Sum 41 On New Material: 'It's A Really Heavily Aggressive Album'
0
After spending nearly all of last year on the road, including their 4th headlining run on the 2010 Vans Warped Tour, Sum 41 are preparing to release their most long-awaited new studio album of their career Screaming Bloody Murder.The new album, which opens up a second decade for Sum 41, marks the first album to be fully self-produced by Sum 41's Deryck Whibley.The two-time JUNO Award-winning Canadian band also recently officially added guitarist Tom Thacker to the band's lineup. Screaming Bloody Murder follows 2007's Underclass Hero, and is a return to the group's more aggressive, heavier roots of their earlier albums. While the group were in Australia recently for the annual Soundwave festival (which saw the group cancel several shows due to Whibley falling ill), Sum 41 bassist Cone McCaslin sat down with Joe Matera to discuss the new album. UG: The new album is a lot heavier and darker than the previous record and there is a certain aggression permeating it. Did that stem a lot from Deryck having gone through the pain of divorce in his personal life? Cone McCaslin: I don't know how he got to that place, but maybe it was from what was going on in his life as it was a dark period for him. Was it a conscious effort to mine those darker elements during the songwriting process? It was never premeditated as to what, if any, direction we were going to go for this album. It is literally what came out of us. It is very much a guitar driven album. But I think its natural, as we didn't really think about it much or sat down to decide that we needed to make a heavier album or a darker album. It was just that these are really natural songs that came out of Deryck. You mentioned its very guitar driven, which I agree, and to me it really has a lot of those elements found on Chuck. Yeah it's a really heavily aggressive album, a lot more aggressive than the last album for sure. I think our fans will really like it as they like that kind of stuff. Over the past four years, we've been noticing all our hardcore fans are really into Chuck and Does This Look Infected? and all those things on the heavier side. So I think it is good that we went this way cause they really like it. Gil Norton produced the early sessions but then Deryck took over the production reigns? Yeah we interviewed so many different producers as we really wanted a producer on this album, but it was just that a lot of them weren't going to work out, or schedule wise, it wasn't going to work out. Gil, we really liked, but the thing about our band is, and it's bad to say this, but we're stuck in our own process of doing things now that we've been recording for so long. Gil has his own process and he has done a lot of great records, which was why we wanted him in the first place, as we loved all the stuff he has done. But the two processes sort of collided and so it didn't work together. We did pre-production with him as well as the drums and then Deryck took over and finished the rest of the album.

"This album is literally what came out of us. It is very much a guitar driven album. But I think its natural."

When we last spoke, you mentioned you had about six songs left over from the last record Underclass Hero, were they used for this record? Not really. The only thing that came from other sessions was the drum intro on the first track Reason To Believe' - that is actually a drum beat that we had from Chuck and that is really the only thing. There are a lot of songs on this album. There were so many songs that we had for this new album, that the ones that didn't get used, we would pull parts from and stick them in songs on this album. Like a cool riff or something. For example the track, Blood In My Eyes', the little bass thing that happens in the middle, we took that from another song and put it in that one. With so much material, are you planning to maybe using them for a bonus EP or something in future? Yeah and we did record extra songs. Like for countries outside of the US and Canada, there are going to be bonus tracks on the albums. And you always have to have stuff available in case someone needs a track for a soundtrack or something. So we have songs like that kicking around. Let's chat about the bass gear you used on this album? I used the same bass that I have used since the beginning, which is a 1962 reissue Fender Precision that I bought in 2000 when we were doing All Killer, No Filler with Jerry Finn, who got me to buy it as he had one and was like, you've got to buy one'. It's a cool bass and I used it on the road for about two years but I loved it so much and the sound of it that I took it off the road, and now it is strictly used for the studio. Both Deryck and I have these awesome tube D-I boxes called the Evil Twins which were only made for a few years by this guy in California, he made like about 1500 of them. You can find them on EBay every once in awhile, and that is where we found ours. I also used a SansAmp and a SVT Ampeg, the anniversary edition. I also used different basses for different parts, like I recorded a whole song on the '62 but then for a breakdown like in Holy Image Of Lies', I used a Hofner. What about live? Live, I actually use a 1959 reissue Fender Precision. I find that the difference between the '59 and '62 is that the '59 is a little bit more, grittier. It gives me that top end grit which I like live, while the '62 is not as grittier, but it's little more rounded and bigger sounding, with much more low end. You're back to being a four piece again having brought in Tom Thacker on guitar. How did Tom come to be in Sum 41? Tom is from a band - and still is - called Gob who are from Canada too. They brought us on tour in 1998 and then once we got signed, and went on to become a bit more successful, we took them on tour with us in the States. So we have known the guys for a long time now. When Dave quit, we were auditioning some guitar players and we thought of Tom. And he is also a lead singer of his band so he and Deryck both sing well. Tom didn't actually play on this new album, as Deryck did all the guitars on this album, but Tom was there for pre-production and co-wrote the lead off single, Screaming Bloody Murder'. So what's it like to be a fully functional four piece again? It feels good, but we've always been a four piece, like on the last album we may have been a three piece, but live we're a four piece band really. Tom is more involved now, like he does interviews with us, and he is in our videos, so it's all good. And he is a really good musician. A lot of fans have their doubts because of Dave having been this metal guy, a total shredder, but Tom is actually a shredder too. He used to play metal when he was a teenager and so he can play all that stuff as well. You have a side project The Operation M.D which recently released a new album. Yeah the album is available on i-tunes. That project is something that I do with my friend Todd [Morse] who is in the band H2O. It started about eight years ago, though we only have made two albums so far. We just do it whenever our schedules allow it and have time to do it. We just write songs over the course of years and then get together in once in awhile, and we write it together and produce it ourselves. I have always written songs for Sum 41 but when they're finished, they never sound like Sum 41 songs. So I have this catalog of songs and when Todd and I decide to do the project, we certainly have tons of material. And he even has lots of material too as well.

"We did record extra songs. Like for countries outside of the US and Canada, there are going to be bonus tracks on the albums."

You have also branched out into producing, so did you also lend a hand to Deryck when it came to this new record? I didn't want too many people in there doing the producing so once Gil was leaving, Deryck decided he could do it on his own production wise. I just really just had to play bass on the album and then I went home, Deryck did the guitars and the vocals. Deryck is well capable of doing that on his own. I really just like to produce in my spare time. Do you see yourself in future taking that production route more? I like to do more of it as that's what I kind of like to do on my off time. And that kind of thing keeps falling into my lap. Like the last thing I did, I was ready to come out on tour but went and saw this seven piece bluegrass band that featured banjoes and violins and it was just like, I have to do this'. The songs were so good but I wasn't really looking for it, it just fell into my lap. So yes in the future, I'd probably get into it a lot more. Have you got a home studio? Yeah I have got a studio, enough to do guitars, bass and vocals but as for drums, I have to go somewhere else. Do you see much of Dave Baksh since he left the band? Yes but not often, he has another band right now and does his own thing, but I like to text him at least twice a year and we're friendly. If I see him it is like hey, hi Dave', there is no issues with him with anybody in the band, but we don't really hang out. Even when he was in the band, especially the last couple of years, it was kind of like that too. What has the rest of 2011 got in store for Sum 41? The album is out March 25th but we've been touring it since April last year really because it was supposed to come out at the end of summer but it just got pushed back, as we wanted to do more songs. And once it is out, we're doing our world tour. And now that we had to cancel some of these Australian shows due to Deryck getting ill, we'll definitely be back here as well. Interview by Joe Matera Ultimate-Guitar.Com 2011

61 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    guitarist41
    Most anticipated album of my life, I think. 'Underclass Hero' was a let-down, but it wasn't that bad. Some songs on it do have amazing parts. Sum 41 are a closet Metal band, I think.
    MAXPAYNE4664
    For those that aren't aware, the picture with Cone in the glasses is from his side project band, Operation M.D.
    neversleeps84
    MC Lukesta wrote: Smokinjoerules1 wrote: I'm not even a sum41 fan but that album title is dreadful... Maybe because it's blatantly copying Scream Bloody Gore by Death.
    Or maybe it's because Screaming Bloody Murder is an old saying used to describe someone who was really screaming their heads off.
    dikkgozinya
    Reading some of these comments always makes me wonder about some people and how boring their lives must be at times, most times
    Firebreather01
    I'm really looking forward to this. The two songs I've heard are amazing, and one of them (Skumf-- is the best song they've written imho. If the rest of the album is in the same vein as those two, I'll definitely buy it
    ubertone
    I dunno, honestly I've always had a lot of respect for their cover of Master of Puppets. They play it at the right tempo, they man up and play the full interlude and solo, the vocals "work", they down pick, I dunno, it's pretty badass and not something I would have originally pegged as "up their alley" after being a fan of their early work more than a decade ago. If they went full on metal I think they'd really score a lot of fans.
    Kenjisan231
    Amaseng wrote: This band is terrible
    This statement is an un-supported argument that will make any future troll-like response automatically void. But I suppose this isn't the first time you have randomly bashed anything that has ever existed and are rearing with a cracker jack response, I am ecstatic to say the least. Anyway, on an actual article related comment. I am excited for this new album, i have always enjoyed their work. As a side note, this genre argument is pointless as the only thing anyone can ever agree on is that breathing keeps you alive (and im sure you will find some counterpoints), the only thing that is certain is they have guitars, a drum set, and a bass player. They also use distortion, just for kicks.
    MAXPAYNE4664
    Looking forward to the album. Sum 41 always struck me as a pop punk band with metal influences.
    MH400
    Pan-Tallica wrote: ^ lol @ 'SUM $!' fail
    hahahah Also: Fuck yes. I love this band.
    Haanz
    spiff-corgi wrote: It's weird that when old bands like Blink and Sum 41 produced poppy rock albums it was fine: "it's not a musical masterpiece but it's catchy so I like it". But if any new bands do the same thing (i.e. Paramore) they are immediately written off by the UG Community. Priorities are needed.
    What? People have always disdained those bands for being childish "gateway punk" bands. I guarantee if you visit the punk forum, you'll find most people disdain Sum 41 and Blink-182 as much as Paramore. I also guarantee you'll find people that like them elsewhere, and people that'll remember them from their childhoods nostalgically. I think you're generalising a bit. Comments on articles don't represent scenes, just individuals opinions.
    stndrdprcdre
    Don't know much about this band but it seems like this guy is pretty honest about their music and goals. So often it seems like people try to say things like "the album is so DARK and AGRESSIVE because (insert name here) went through so much pain, heartache, etc." But this guy basically just says that what you hear on the record is just what they were feeling musically when they got together to write songs. You don't usually see that kind of candidness with musicians these days. Everything has to be motivated by some bull**** outside source now adays. Perfect example of this is how supposedly John Mayer had a fling with Taylor Swift and then blew her off so she wrote a song about it and put it on her album. It's complete bull**** made up to generate public interest. /end rant.
    WCPhils
    Ah, a new Rise Against, Green Day's live album, and then this. It's gonna be a good three weeks
    WCPhils
    Shepler2222 wrote: Heavily Aggressive Album and sum 41 don't belong in the same sentence...
    Why not? Have you listened to Chuck? That album was pretty heavy for what people call a pop-punk band
    Momentosis
    Really love the 3 songs that've leaked out already. The new guitarist is showing that he can do the whole metal influenced sound easy and it's not like Deryck can't play metalish stuff either.
    Seth Shadows
    Aggressive. Singing about lost love, immigrants and god knows what else over power chords and palm mutes at a mere 100 bpm is definitely Aggressive. Try again, Sum41.
    TheVoid
    Yeah, I really don't feel like wading through some of this crap again to grab the quotes but... Everyone's got their thing. If he wants to wear glasses, then let him. Just because you don't personally agree with it doesn't mean its wrong. And yes, this is the internet and Interwebz=Moron^2 But... I want to find at least one good bloody music website that isn't about people's DEATHCORESTREAMHELLMETAL!! Bands and how they are the only good music and that if you don't agree with it your stupid. Holy Hell People! Learn to expand a bit, linear thought says this, Jazz music is the root of all rock. All Rock is the Root of all punk.Punk is the root of all metal. So yeah, there cannot be one without the other sort of deals. I only truly and with all my heart despise 2 'Musics' Glee and Nickleback. I might not like the rest or respect them, but they made it, they must've done something right. That was my Moronic Rant of the day, Have a Nice day, and try not to hurt yourselves.
    JJ1990
    I found Chuck one of their best albums. Their first album was kinda catchy but I liked the more dark side on Chuck. Looking forward to this one.
    nasedase
    Hell yes. They have a 12 minute song on this record. I just wish Dave was back. He was one of my idols and last time I heard he was working as a guitar technician at a music store. At least release some more brown brigade.
    Bag'ed
    metallica-#1 wrote: neversleeps84 wrote: MC Lukesta wrote: Smokinjoerules1 wrote: I'm not even a sum41 fan but that album title is dreadful... Maybe because it's blatantly copying Scream Bloody Gore by Death. Or maybe it's because Screaming Bloody Murder is an old saying used to describe someone who was really screaming their heads off. "Tear me open, I believe God will set you up to bleed And no one can deceive What is meant to be And 'bloody murder' we will scream" they're just lyrics that they came up with for the title track, calm down ya butt-hurt Death fan, there's no connection between the two songs
    I reckon thats wrong man. They're a punk band, they probably listen to punk.. Listen to Bodies by The Sex Pistols. I HOPE thats where they got the title from, Bodies is a ****ing hilarious song.
    Henkdemachtige
    BassDudeHT wrote: Henkdemachtige wrote: BassDudeHT wrote: Get rid of those stupid fake glasses then you can call yourselfs 'agressive'... What? The call themselves aggresive? Theyre not violent or anything idiot. Its their music that might be a aggresive and that is if you listen to the vocals, a bit raw and angry and the guitars. Glasses have nothing to do with aggresive moron. The fact that the glasses don't have any LENSES in it means that they're purely for show, therefore he's acting like a poser. I'm not saying that their music isn't aggressive (oh wait, yeah I am!), I'm just saying that they don't have to dress like popstar wannabe's and have to pose in ridiculous faces during photos. Their suppose to be rockstars for God's sake..
    Ok my bad on the glasses part. But if they (he) wants to wear glassless glasses you shouldnt even give a shit with to begin with since you obviously dont like them. And they never said they are/wanna be/will become rockstars, so using that as argument is lame.
    BassDudeHT
    Henkdemachtige wrote: BassDudeHT wrote: Get rid of those stupid fake glasses then you can call yourselfs 'agressive'... What? The call themselves aggresive? Theyre not violent or anything idiot. Its their music that might be a aggresive and that is if you listen to the vocals, a bit raw and angry and the guitars. Glasses have nothing to do with aggresive moron.
    The fact that the glasses don't have any LENSES in it means that they're purely for show, therefore he's acting like a poser. I'm not saying that their music isn't aggressive (oh wait, yeah I am!), I'm just saying that they don't have to dress like popstar wannabe's and have to pose in ridiculous faces during photos. Their suppose to be rockstars for God's sake..
    pineaple expres
    BassDudeHT wrote: Henkdemachtige wrote: BassDudeHT wrote: Get rid of those stupid fake glasses then you can call yourselfs 'agressive'... What? The call themselves aggresive? Theyre not violent or anything idiot. Its their music that might be a aggresive and that is if you listen to the vocals, a bit raw and angry and the guitars. Glasses have nothing to do with aggresive moron. The fact that the glasses don't have any LENSES in it means that they're purely for show, therefore he's acting like a poser. I'm not saying that their music isn't aggressive (oh wait, yeah I am!), I'm just saying that they don't have to dress like popstar wannabe's and have to pose in ridiculous faces during photos. Their suppose to be rockstars for God's sake..
    the glasses have nothing to do with the music. a lot of hardcore bands wear stupid crap on stage. look at chiodos. they went out in boxers. a day to remember wore rly short bright colored gym shorts. likes like saying having long hair makes you emo. look at kirk hammett, john lennon. look has nothing to do with musical taste. theres lots of preppy girls that listen to hardcore stuf like attack attack. way to stereotype.
    metallica-#1
    BassDudeHT wrote: Henkdemachtige wrote: BassDudeHT wrote: Get rid of those stupid fake glasses then you can call yourselfs 'agressive'... What? The call themselves aggresive? Theyre not violent or anything idiot. Its their music that might be a aggresive and that is if you listen to the vocals, a bit raw and angry and the guitars. Glasses have nothing to do with aggresive moron. The fact that the glasses don't have any LENSES in it means that they're purely for show, therefore he's acting like a poser. I'm not saying that their music isn't aggressive (oh wait, yeah I am!), I'm just saying that they don't have to dress like popstar wannabe's and have to pose in ridiculous faces during photos. Their suppose to be rockstars for God's sake..
    get a sense of humor, music isnt a ****ing business, they shouldnt have to dress up in suits and ties and act serious all the time just to please the likes of you. if they want to act goofy and dress weird, thats their business, not yours. and the whole cliche rockstar image is a little silly, but if you want to blindly follow it to "The Bitter End" then its your loss kid, image does not make a musician, you dont have to dress in leather and spikes with hair down to your ass to be in a metal band, so get off your soap box and shove it up your **** but how does it feel knowing that theres people wearing "stupid fake glasses purely for show" and you're the one acting immature?
    metallica-#1
    neversleeps84 wrote: MC Lukesta wrote: Smokinjoerules1 wrote: I'm not even a sum41 fan but that album title is dreadful... Maybe because it's blatantly copying Scream Bloody Gore by Death. Or maybe it's because Screaming Bloody Murder is an old saying used to describe someone who was really screaming their heads off.
    "Tear me open, I believe God will set you up to bleed And no one can deceive What is meant to be And 'bloody murder' we will scream" they're just lyrics that they came up with for the title track, calm down ya butt-hurt Death fan, there's no connection between the two songs
    Henkdemachtige
    BassDudeHT wrote: Get rid of those stupid fake glasses then you can call yourselfs 'agressive'...
    What? The call themselves aggresive? Theyre not violent or anything idiot. Its their music that might be a aggresive and that is if you listen to the vocals, a bit raw and angry and the guitars. Glasses have nothing to do with aggresive moron.
    Lost Dog
    I liked All Killer No Filler and Chuck. Hopefully the new album sounds like that
    awisinger
    Shorun wrote: I really dig their more Hardcore-ish stuff and their new album. They've always been good for heavy party music. You know, songs that rock really hard, but also are mainstream-able. I don't know why people bash on Sum 41. Sure, they aren't something new, they didn't reinvent the genre, but they are good at what they do - not like Blink 182.
    When was blink mentioned? Plus I think blink did a good job for their style of music. They had their immature songs for their target fans, then they've matured with them. Kudos to that, its a hard feat to accomplish especially since most of their songs were about sex, incest, creeping, blowjobs, etc. to now songs about lost loves, the difficulties of adulthood, etc. I don't know many bands that can pull that one off. Stoked for the new Sum 41 album though, I like the sound and agree that Chuck was way better than Underclass Hero! Here is to the great albums of Rise Against, Sum 41, and Foo Fighters gracing our ears soon!
    182below0
    Shorun wrote: I really dig their more Hardcore-ish stuff and their new album. They've always been good for heavy party music. You know, songs that rock really hard, but also are mainstream-able. I don't know why people bash on Sum 41. Sure, they aren't something new, they didn't reinvent the genre, but they are good at what they do - not like Blink 182.
    Actually I think blink 182 were very good at writing catchy songs, they weren't technical by any stretch of the imagination, but they wrote fun songs. Sum 41 on the other hand comes across as derivative of blink 182, they may be better at their instruments, but a lot of their early stuff sounded like blink wannabes and Underclass Hero sounded like a Green Day wannabe. They're still fun to listen to, but they aren't as original as blink or Green Day. IMO.
    TheVoid
    Xomar wrote: All this talk about hardcore, darker, and heavier haha. I don't think you guys understand where to use these adjectives.
    Gonna start with you. Music a while back had very different standards as to what was "Dark" and "Hardcore". So basically, you have no clue what they mean. Sum 41 is a more modern band and while they might not be on the same "Hardcore" level as whatever new, screaming doom death technical melodic power hell metal, with no disrespect to musicians who actually can play well within the Afore mentioned genre... They in relative to their own music and music of their "Genre" might be 'Hardcore', and 'Dark' As for my own nostalgic comment... I still love All Killer, No Filler. Honestly that album was great, maybe not a great, artistic master piece of virtuoso intrumentalism and refined singing and lyrics, but it was a good album, with catchy songs. I really want to re-steal that from my brother to put on my iPod. Have a nice Day, try not to hurt yourselves.
    jethrotullfan
    TheVoid wrote: I really want to re-steal that from my brother to put on my iPod.
    You know you could just download it like most people
    arjun22
    Yeah, screw the haters...certainly not as heavy as dozens of other bands but i for one enjoy sum41 for their moderate amounts of heaviness and i enjoy super heavy music for their liberal amounts of heaviness.
    Xomar
    All this talk about hardcore, darker, and heavier haha. I don't think you guys understand where to use these adjectives.
    skippy_moogoose
    Seems a cool guy,may look into this new album,but Underclass Hero was pretty lame imo...but a return to Chuck/DTLI sounds promising
    Shorun
    I really dig their more Hardcore-ish stuff and their new album. They've always been good for heavy party music. You know, songs that rock really hard, but also are mainstream-able. I don't know why people bash on Sum 41. Sure, they aren't something new, they didn't reinvent the genre, but they are good at what they do - not like Blink 182.
    NoInnerKind
    rattleurhead wrote: hahahahaha Sum 41 and aggressive shouldn't be in the same sentence
    You obviously haven't listened to Infected and Chuck.
    SkepsisMetal
    TheVoid wrote: Xomar wrote: All this talk about hardcore, darker, and heavier haha. I don't think you guys understand where to use these adjectives. Gonna start with you. Music a while back had very different standards as to what was "Dark" and "Hardcore". So basically, you have no clue what they mean. Sum 41 is a more modern band and while they might not be on the same "Hardcore" level as whatever new, screaming doom death technical melodic power hell metal, with no disrespect to musicians who actually can play well within the Afore mentioned genre... They in relative to their own music and music of their "Genre" might be 'Hardcore', and 'Dark'
    What he said ^ Sum41 are an awesome band. They know exactly what they're doing, and aren't holding back while doing it. I also had no idea they were as young as they are. Realised I never knew their ages the other day and wiki'd them and they're all about 30/31. Thought they were closer to Green Day or Blink's ages. Anyway, definately stoked for this release. The single is sounding promising.
    Zell182
    Well I don't think they had it in them to write anymore pop punk that was actually any good so I'll be happy with a return to a Chuck-like sound (although I doubt we'll get any sick guitar-work like on The Bitter End).
    CydoniaKnight95
    Interesting Sum41's one of the 3 punk bands I don't absolutely hate so I might catch this when it comes out
    guitarist41
    Zell182 wrote: Well I don't think they had it in them to write anymore pop punk that was actually any good so I'll be happy with a return to a Chuck-like sound (although I doubt we'll get any sick guitar-work like on The Bitter End).
    There's actually a video on YouTube with Deryck playing the solo from that song. Plus their new guitar player is really great, so... it might.