Did anything come out of you guys while making the record that really surprised you?
Yeah, I think even being able to get to the point to do this record surprised me. When I started out I didn’t know what I wanted to do; I just wanted to do something that would be more impressive to me, that I would be proud of. But I didn’t know what that meant. For a long time I didn’t know if I would be able to figure it out. So when it was done I had a way bigger feeling of accomplishment.
How long did you spend writing the album?
About a year.
I started writing at the end of 2005, I think. I was pretty much writing the whole year. We went into the studio in November. So from January to November I was pretty much writing five days a week. I took the weekends off.
How do you keep that from feeling like a job?
Because it’s something you love. It’s fun. I always get scared that I don’t know how to write songs anymore. Every album I get scared I’ve lost [it]. And it always comes back. I always think I’m getting nowhere and then one day all of a sudden it’s done. Like the song is never going to be completed and I’ve had it for six months, and then it slowly gets more finished and then it’s done.
Is there a distinct moment when you know a song is finished?
Pretty much. It’s always different. You can always keep adding. You just know, I guess.
Did you ever get writer’s block?
Yeah. That happens all the time.
Do you have techniques for coping with that?
There’s two things I did this time. I’m really into buying guitars and gear and stuff so when I really had bad writer’s block I would go down and buy an old guitar or something. Then I would get really excited and want to play it and then I’d start writing again. It’s a very expensive habit because old guitars are not cheap. The other thing I would do if I was really kinda stuck, I would go have a drink. Not get drunk, but have a Jack and Seven. It’s always that first drink. Whenever anyone has their first drink of the day, they’re not drunk yet, but for whatever reason they’re acting a little different and they have a different attitude; not attitude in a bad way, but confidence or something. A lot of times I would have my one drink and then get a whole different idea for something. Those are the only two things I ever did and they’re both really not good.
What inspired you to produce this record yourself?
There wasn’t really any. I didn’t even really want to do it. We were trying to get somebody and there are only a few producers I really think are any good. We talked to a few of them and there were maybe one or two guys we wanted, but it didn’t work out. But I’m glad it worked out that way.
What’s been the fan reaction so far?
Everybody that hears it says it’s our best record. That’s a good feeling.
Sum 41 will be performing at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ, on Sept. 20. For more info visit islandrecords.com/sum41
Photo Credit: Jonathan Mannion