Metallica’s James Hetfield talked to SoWhat! (band fanzine), where he talked about the band’s new album “72 Seasons”, saying how it was a genuine group effort, and how having every member involved in the creative process improved the band’s inner dynamic.
“We opened up. I was much more ready to open my heart to everyone in the band: lyrically, emotionally, and creatively. I was really an advocate, going out of my way to say, ‘Send in your riffs. We need stuff, c’mon,’ you know?’ […]
“I don’t want to sit there with [only] Lars and create the songs anymore. I want everyone to be a part of it and be in it. Can we all show up? Can we all be in the studio together? Can we jam on these things together? Can you speak up and say what you think might be great and not so great? Really wanting to open it up, and there were challenges in that. But I think we got through most of ’em, you know?”
Asked how Lars adapted to the situation of Metallica having “four chiefs instead of just two”, Hetfield answered:
“Well, I think we all have fear of change. We all have fear of change or, ‘Wait, this is working, let’s just keep going with it,’ you know? But as an artist, as someone who’s creative, I like those challenges. I don’t like them out in the regular life very much; I don’t like changes and challenges.
”But in the studio, I feel comfortable with it, and I think Lars eventually understood why and where I was trying to go with it. And even if there wasn’t input from others, just having that white space for input was great.
“You know, there would be times when all four would be in the studio, and Lars would be looking at me [asking], ‘What do you feel the next part is?’ And I would just be quiet. Just say, ‘What do you guys think? What are you guys feeling?’
“It felt really free to kind of just sit back and let the process happen more. And yeah, it did take longer, and we might’ve gone through ten ideas that didn’t work to get to one that did, but if you’re not out there mining for gold, you’re not gonna find any. So there were nuggets that came out of it that were just amazing.”