Lars Ulrich talked about Metallica‘s latest album “Hardwired… To Self-Destruct” being the band’s first studio effort since the “demise of the music business,” telling OMR:
“This was the first record we put out since what I would call demise of the music business, or the music world as we know it. So to me and to everybody on our team it’s very much the wild west. There’s no right way, there’s no wrong way, there’s only the way that works for you and what you think is the right way to navigate through all this stuff.
“10 years ago or 20 years ago, when you put a record out in the music business it was very specific. You do this, then you do this, then you do this, and then this is gonna happen. Now it’s fucking totally crazy and nobody really knows. But what we wanted to do and what we always try to do is – Metallica-size how do we make something as much of our own thing? How do we put the Metallica imprint on it? How do we find the right balances?
“To be honest with you, the whole campaign for the record a year and a half ago – what I loved about it was that there was this creative energy, a creative kind of undertone to it. That was kind of cool because we were making it up as we went along. And I love that kind of thing, rather than, like I said, 20 years ago everything was embedded in stone about how you were supposed to do it.
“For instance, we were in Germany and we had a campaign called ‘The Four Horsemen’ where the four members of Metallica were in four different German cities. And we had partners on Facebook and we did different things with communicating and doing Q&As with fans all over Germany. But it was really putting four members of Metallica in four different physical places in Germany, but at the same time doing an all-German campaign. And some of that stuff was really fun. And sort of satisfying when you feel you’re doing new things that not only we haven’t done before but nobody else in rock.
“We premiered the first track off the new cycle of the new album on our own website, which is the first time we did that. We premiered it without any warning. I was doing an interview with a radio station in Minneapolis, Minnesota and he was asking me about the new record. And I said, ‘Do you want to hear one of the new songs?’ And we literally played it on the radio without the DJ knowing that it was coming. And two days later we filmed the video for the track in the high-school gymnasium next to Metallica’s HQ, and we premiered it on our own website within 24 hours, which is the first time we’ve ever done that.
“So I love the energy of these instant-grat things and throwing stuff out there. And the feedback that comes from people when they don’t know that it’s coming. How they get caught off guard and you really hear their impulsive and momentary reactions to something. So that was a great start to the campaign.
“And we did a lot what in our world is called ‘underplays.’ We played a very small show in New York City, we played a small show in London the day the album came out, in-store appearances in London, lots of partnering with YouTube and doing different events… So we’re trying to get as many different things with as many partners as possible but sort of put the Metallica imprint on them as much as possible.”