SLAYER Frontman Talks 'World Painted Blood'

1:53 PM / Posted by metallic sucker and moslem militan /

Arielle Castillo of Miami New Times recently conducted an interview with SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

Miami New Times: Your new album was "executive produced" by Rick Rubin. What does that mean? How involved was he in the actual recording process?

Tom Araya: He oversees what we're doing and he says "Yeah" or "Nay." He mostly left this one up to Greg Fidelman, who's doing an amazing job as producer. We mostly worked everything out in the studio, and once we finished in the studio, we'd get a really good mix and send it to Rubin just so he could hear it, not really for an opinion.

Miami New Times: How did you choose to work with Greg Fidelman as the actual producer of the record?

Tom Araya: He kind of found us. He found out we were working on a record, and we said okay! [Laughs.] That's about how we usually end up with producers, because they're eager to work with us. And Rubin said, "Hey, this guy's great, work with him. He's awesome, he's well-organized and knows his shit." And he does. He knows how to get everything together and get what we want out of the band. He got classic SLAYER out of us, and it sounds amazing.

Miami New Times: You've said that usually, you start the recording with your songs already written, but this time you spent a lot of time on pre-production in the studio. Why the change?

Tom Araya: We actually started recording in October of last year — Jeff [Hanneman, SLAYER guitarist] had three songs. We recorded the three songs, and it kind of just fell together real quick. We were supposed to do a North American tour in January, but we didn't, because everybody felt really good in the studio with Greg. We figured, "Alright, once we get our European tour out of the way, we'll come home and start recording."

Then when we got back to the studio, Jeff and Kerry [King, SLAYER guitarist] both came in with a good four or five songs each, and just started putting together new songs in the studio. It would be like, while we were working on the drums, Jeff went home and worked on new stuff, while the rest of us were finishing up what was already started. It was the same with Kerry. When he was done with his parts, he would head home and work on new material, then come back and play it to Dave [Lombardo, SLAYER drummer]. A lot of the songs, we learned them and put them together in the studio, as opposed to rehearsing them first after coming in.

Miami New Times: You've also said the writing process was more collaborative this time around.

Tom Araya: It was, actually. Music-wise, it was, between the three of them [Hanneman, King, and Lombardo]. Then I got an input as far as guitar parts and stuff. But usually we all sit there and say, "Wow, that sounds great," or "We don't like it." We usually all agree to either like it or dislike it, and then move on.

But this time I had ideas that I kind of passed along to Jeff, and Jeff put them into the songs. We were all giving our two cents. I think it was the fact that we went into the studio less prepared, know what I mean? We needed to get into the studio right away, record right away, to get something done by the summer.

Miami New Times: So when did you finally finish all these sessions?

Tom Araya: We finished right before we took off for the five shows we did in Canada with MEGADETH, a week before that. Then we spent a week rehearsing. Now we're out here with MANSON on the Mayhem tour.

Miami New Times: The new tracks kind of go back to your '80s feel, as you said, almost with a punk rock energy. Where did this come from, now?

Tom Araya: Our inner soul! That's about it! [Laughs.] We don't set out to say, "This record's gonna be like this, our songs are gonna be like that." We just kind of write songs, and that's about it. There are no plans; we just kind of do it, and then how it comes out is how it comes out. We just take it day by day.

Miami New Times: How do you decide when it's time for a new album?

Tom Araya: We don't! [Laughs.] On this one, Jeff happened to have three songs he was playing for everybody, and our manager said, "Shit, why don't we go ahead and record an album if these songs are coming this quick." So it's usually [our management] going, "Are you guys ready to record an album?" That's basically been our recording career!

Miami New Times: What are your favorite tracks on the album?

Tom Araya: Kerry's written some really good ones. I'm more biased, I lean towards Jeff! [Laughs.] Jeff's got some really great writing skills, at least music-wise. He's got some really great songs on this one. They're songs that are slightly different from what we've done, but they're still SLAYER, know what I mean? They've got melody, they have huge dynamics in the songs. The songs take you on a roller coaster ride, which is really great.

But the overall record is really good, and whenever we do a record, that's what we strive for — that every song matters, not just one.

Read the entire interview from Miami New Times.

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