Seether Talks New Album ‘Isolate and Medicate,’ Band Camaraderie and Touring
Seether recently announced that the band’s sixth studio album, ‘Isolate and Medicate,’ will arrive on July 1. And shortly after making the announcement, frontman Shaun Morgan, bassist Dale Stewart and drummer John Humphrey spoke with ‘Loudwire Nights’ host Full Metal Jackie about the new disc. Check out the chat below.
Loudwire Nights, Full Metal Jackie. On the show with us tonight, Shaun, Dale and John from Seether. How are you guys doing?
We finally have the details on Seether’s sixth album, ‘Isolate and Medicate’ coming out on July 1. The band is on tour now and we’ve heard this brand new songs ‘Words as Weapons,’ a great new tune. Guys, Seether have always been regarded for its high caliber songwriting. How has the way you go about songwriting changed over the years? What, if anything, was different about the way you wrote these new songs?
Shaun Morgan: Most of the songs come about with me tooling around in my little office/studio but this time we worked at least a third of the songs in a room together as a band. We went to Oklahoma. It was right before Christmastime, it was freezing. Who wants to be in Oklahoma right before Christmas time when it’s freezing?
Dale Stewart: Not me, because I’ll fall and crack my skull open on the floor.
SM: Yeah, Dale left a piece of his face behind in Oklahoma. Dale suffers for his art actually, but no, we just went in and jammed. We saw how it went and within a week we had written four songs that are on the album now and it was really cool. It was quick and cohesive and creative. Most of all, it was fun to do. We don’t really have a process to write, most of it is just — when we finish touring, we all go home and we take some time to decompress and then I start working, I get bored. I start writing music and just start messing around with ideas and then when I have a good collection of stuff I start sending it out. Then we start thinking about whether it’s time to start talking about recording or not.
This time the process took about 10 months from January or February of last year until I guess December. We were in the studio in January and we finished the album in about 15/16 days. It was a pretty quick painless process.
Tell me about the song ‘Words as Weapons.’
John Humphrey: That was a song we had recorded and intended to add to the “greatest hits” last year — the ‘Seether 2002-2013.’ It turned out really good so we decided to hold off and wait, and add it to this next release. So, we’ve had the song for some time. It was done in a session of June of last year and it was sort of a great, benchmark for what the rest of the album needed to be, or be as strong as. It kind of set the tone and gave us a mission statement, if you will. It set the bar for how the album and the material we needed to subsequently write and put together. And so it’s found it’s way to be the first single.
‘Isolate and Medicate’ is going to be out on July 1. The album was recorded in just 16 days. Is it a point of pride for all of you that these songs are so good that there’s no need to spend a lot of time fine tuning anything?
SM: I’d like to think that we’ve gotten better at what we do with each album and are more efficient in the studio. Technology certainly helps. Pro-tools definitely helps. Pro-tools is kind of a double-edged sword. It was be bad, or make a band sound terrible if it’s abused. It’s like anything. Like CGI, it can be cool in a movie unless it’s overdone and just looks fake. Pro-tools can make something sound fake, but you can also make something sound really good.
Also, computers these days you get great sounds out of rigs. You can emulate analog sounds now. I know we can get into arguments with people about that all day, but that was the point. A lot of studio sound is quite digital these days because of that system and being the industry standard. Brendan [O'Brien] and his team have got that system down where it sounds like you actually went into a tape machine. I think what they do is great and it sounds great. I think they’re also a very efficient team, and we went in knowing our songs backwards. So, because we knew what we needed to do, it wasn’t a question of doing 4-5 takes of everything. I think John did one or two takes at most of his drum parts. Dale had to learn the songs before he did his bass parts. But, when he got them down it was a 1-2 take bass guys. These are songs that we’ve lived with for a long time too, so by the time we get in, you know what your part is and what your role is. So you get in and knock it out.
When people listen to ‘Isolate and Medicate,’ what will fans notice most that makes it stand apart from other Seether albums?
DS: I think it shows growth and maturity for the band. I think each album picks up where the last one left off. I think it’s kind of an evolution, if you will. That’s the natural thing with bands. We’ve never wanted to be a band who kind of had success with one album and then set out to make something that sounds exactly the same because we know that sort of formula works. We’ve always wanted something to be a little different, keep it interesting, keep people guessing and keep it fun for us to play these songs live every night for the fans to have to listen to these songs. We’re very proud of it and hopefully people like it.
What about each other musically and otherwise makes you really appreciate being in this band?
JH: It’s the greatest job in the world, it really is. I’ve been with these guys for 11 years now and Shaun and Dale being from South Africa and a guy being from Oklahoma, I don’t know why it comes together and works, but it does work. We have the same musical inspiration, love. There’s a chemistry there. We can get together, the three of us very quickly kind of expand on an idea and come together with songs. I think that comes from years of touring, knowing each other, spending more time with each other than our own families. We’ve been doing this so long.
SM: I think a mutual musical respect. I don’t think anyone is out here being the weak link in the chain. Creatively, everyone together brings their parts and adds their own flavor to their own song and performance. I think that’s important. You need to have three different personalities that can work together. Basically It’s a marriage. You’re on a bus, you spend more time with each other than you do your own families. That’s difficult to do. We didn’t all grow up with each other. We can’t say we went to school together, we went to little league together and all that kind of stuff. We met on the road. In that sense, we struck gold. We found three people that are compatible enough to be able to do this, like John said, for now 11 years, and still be going strong. It’s great.
Tell us about your upcoming tour plans. I know you’ve got some festivals and you’re playing some dates with Black Stone Cherry.
SM: Yeah, we’ll do that for another couple of weeks, a lot of festivals in there as well, all over. Those are always fun, you get to see old friends. You get to see bands that you like, bands you’re a fan of, you want to watch. So far the tours been great. When this is done we’ll take a short break and and head over to Europe and play for them over there. Then we’re still trying to come up with a game plan for the rest of the year. We’ll definitely be touring, that’s all we know. But the exact specifics of it, we’re still trying to figure out exactly what we’re going to do. I think we’ll be out for, if it’s shorter than two years I’ll be quite surprised.
Looking forward to the new record. ‘Isolate and Medicate’ coming out July 1. See Seether on the road. Shaun, Dale and John really appreciate you being on the show. Thank you.
ALL: Thanks for having us.
Thanks to Seether for the interview! Pre-order info for the ‘Isolate and Medicate’ album can be found here. Seether currently have dates in North America and around the world booked into September. See where they’re playing at this location. You can listen to ‘Loudwire Nights’ with host Full Metal Jackie Monday through Friday at 7PM through Midnight on more than 20 stations across America. To find out where you can hear ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.
Listen to Seether’s New Single ‘Words As Weapons’