On July 17, John Doan of MusicFrenzy.net conducted an interview with SLAYER drummer Paul Bostaph at the Camden, New Jersey stop of this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. You can now listen to the chat in the YouTube clip below. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow.
On the writing process for SLAYER’s new album, “Repentless”, which will be released on September 11 via Nuclear Blast:
“Kerry [King, SLAYER guitarist] and I worked on the album… Kerry had some material… There were some pre-existing songs that were… that Kerry had before I rejoined the band, and some of those he actually worked on with [original SLAYER drummer] Dave [Lombardo]. And then the majority of the record is all me… all me and Kerry.”
“The whole album, except for one song, was built around Kerry’s riffs and Kerry’s ideas. Kerry, when he comes in with a song, he has a very strong idea of what the structure is gonna be, for the entire song. Because, like, when you write a song, as the visionary of the song, you have an idea of what you want the song to do when you’re writing a riff. Or even as a drummer, if I’m writing guitar riffs, I’ll know what the drum beat is gonna be, or I’ll start with a drum beat and go the other way. So I understand what it’s like for songwriters to write songs. So Kerry had a really strong vision of the whole album. He worked his ass off on this record. I think a lot of people need to know that.”
On how long it took to record “Repentless”:
“We weren’t recording and writing the album for two years. We went in the studio and I think the drum tracks were done in, like, a week and a half for the majority of the record. Then when we went on tour and came back and there were some other songs they wanted to do, so we went ahead and did a few more songs as well. I mean, we probably… I think we did over fifteen songs for this record… maybe more. The recording process for this record was different than any I’ve ever had before, because I had my recording kit with all the microphones on it, then I had another drum set set up — it was a rehearsal kit — and I had a practice kit in the main room. ‘Cause some of these ideas were ideas I hadn’t played before. So we’d come in, and Kerry would show me the song, and we’d jam it out, and I’d learn the arrangement, take it to the recording kit, record it, take it home, come back the next day, we’d rehearse it a little more and then record it. There were some songs on this record, I think, we probably only rehearsed maybe ten times. Not the whole record… The majority of the record, Kerry and I, we had it hammered out pretty well.”
On having EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt in SLAYER as the replacement for original SLAYER axeman Jeff Hanneman, who passed away in 2013:
“Its’ freakin’ awesome. I mean, when I was a kid, I’d go see EXODUS shows. So I’ve always known that EXODUS was killer, and I toured with EXODUS when I was in FORBIDDEN back in the day, and I had the honor of playing on [EXODUS’s] ‘Shovel Headed Kill Machine’ and touring behind that record with Gary as well. I mean, I know Gary — I know what kind of guitar player he is and what kind of person he is. It wasn’t like when I rejoined the band, there was Kerry and Tom [Araya, bass/vocals], and, unfortunately, Jeff not being with us, and then some guy I didn’t know. It was, like, we had all played together, so we were more of a band from the get-go than ever.
“Gary had Jeff’s blessing when he was filling in for him; they were friends. Gary’s family. And it’s a really important thing to this band.”
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