Shortly before their stupendous Main Stage performance at Download Festival, Shinedown’s Brent Smith and Eric Bass spoke to Planet Rock backstage.
The band’s inaugural UK show of the year at Download took place just over a month after the release of Shinedown’s Top 10 sixth studio album ‘Attention Attention’ and for bassist Eric Bass, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
“(I’m feeling) really great seeing the reaction and the comments, the things we’ve read from the fans,” Eric said.
“We really wanted to make a record that our fans would latch onto and love for different reasons so that’s been huge. We’re still nervous about it continuing to do well, it does well when it first came out, let’s keep it going.”
Brent added: “The big word that we keep at the forefront, from management to the label to the band, everybody involved in this project especially with this album because we did it in house; the fact that Eric mixed the album and produced it, we had a lot invested in this but the word is always ‘momentum.’
“It’s interesting because the shift in the music industry changes very very quickly now more than ever and there’s just a lot of music out there and a lot of ways to hear it, we did something that in 2018 isn’t necessarily quote on quote ‘the thing to do’ – we made a real album.
“Because it is a story album… I’m very proud of it because of the depth of the record. It was interesting two weeks into the release of the album to watch certain individuals online talk about the record in the way of how we wanted it to be listened to and perceived.
Shinedown at Download Festival © Darren Griffiths
“We really kind of pushed ourselves in a different direction to really write a story and to have a very specific message in the substance of what’s going on here, because it is a very psychological and emotion and even physical journey.
“The interesting thing is that we don’t look at our albums like a sprint, it’s a marathon and what and where we’ll be six months from now, we look at that as a part of the journey. There’s some pretty amazing things on the horizon man in regards to this band and this album.”
Asked by Wyatt whether Eric was the headteacher in the band in the studio, Eric responded: “It was really interested because before we started the record I had a conversation with the three of them and I said ‘I’ve been asked to do this, I’m going to produce this record, understand that if I ask you to do something or tell you to play something again or it wasn’t tight enough or good enough that’s not an opinion on your ability as musicians, that’s just me hearing what I want to hear.’
“We’ve been through this before, I produced ‘Diamond Eyes’, I produced ‘Cut The Cord’, I’ve produced songs for the band before but not a full record. I’m pretty light in the studio when I’m dealing with other musicians, I don’t rule through fear or try to intimidate or anything. I’m very much positive reinforcement, I put all of that stuff on myself and really for me… when I was done with the tracking of the record, and I call it my producer time, I just sent everyone away – Brent stayed around as I needed him for vocal things when I would hear them – but just me kind of locking myself away in a dungeon so to speak, I kind of became detached from a lot of things in that time.
“I didn’t come up for air or have a single day off until the record was done. My brain wouldn’t allow me to do that.”
Brent: “He was mixing on Christmas day.”
Eric: “There are two moments on this record that I would tweak but nothing that would make me cringe at. When it was done – and we all were – I was extremely proud of it.”
Brent: “Another thing about him too was his time management. Like once it was all four of us in the room, he never ever went into the room with this like blank look on his face like ‘what should we do next? I don’t know what do you think?’ It wasn’t ever like that, he had a very clear focus every single day of what needed to be accomplished. Whatever he needed that day because we had so much respect for him, we did exactly what he asked.”
Watch the full interview below where Brent and Eric also talk religion and answer whether they will be performing in the UK again in 2018.