With the release of one of this year's best new albums entitled "Alien", Strapping Young Lad are definitely back. Devin and the gang have hit the road with the Sounds of the Underground tour among others this summer. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to catch up with guitarist Jed Simon and ask him a couple of questions about the album and touring among others.
Cuchulainn: First off, thank you to Strapping Young Lad for the interview. Now I'll just get right to it. With the release of "Alien", do you guys feel that this is a good follow-up to the self-titled album released 2 years ago?
Jed: Yeah, this was exactly what we needed
it wasnt thought out that way, it just came out the way it did, and were all very happy with the result.
Cuchulainn: What elements of SYL's sound were you trying to change or expand on in between the past two albums?
Jed: We didnt set out to do anything in a certain way
what we do represents where we are at at that moment in time, ya know? We were angry last time, (and every other time, haha!), this time, it was a reality check
no standard ranting, just life.
Cuchulainn: I saw the interview on Headbanger's Ball with Devin; he described "Love?" as a culmination of a lot of things that happened in his personal life in the past year. With other titles including "Shitstorm" and "Zen", would you all describe the entire album as a reflection of all of your lives in that same timeframe?
Jed: Like I said above, yeah, a real take on life from our personal perspectives right now.
Cuchulainn: From your standpoint, what is your favorite track on the new album and why?
Ide have to go with my heart here
because its my song! Yeah, I know!!! Im biased!!! I just like the fact that me and Dev got to rip up some solos!!
Cuchulainn: With the numerous side-projects that the band members have going on and the six year lay off between "City" and "Strapping Young Lad", do you feel that SYL have reached a point where this band is the main focus for all parties? Also can we expect more albums in the future?
Jed: This band has always been the main focus, but we love our side projects, and they are a great way to de-stress from the SYL stuff.
Cuchulainn: I just got done reading Gene's journal entry on your website from November of 2004. In effect, he describes the songwriting process as "letting it flow" and "no rules". Personally, I view SYL as one of the pioneers of modern metal. With Alien's release, do you feel that SYL have broken down barriers for upcoming artists to expand their sound without being the "only one's to try" a new sound close to SYL?
Jed: I dont know, I dont get all wrapped up in look at what we are doing now kind of thing, we do what we do, and we do it VERY well
if that inspires others, wow, what a compliment!
Cuchulainn: Along with the numerous side projects that the band members individually have going on, Devin is also becoming a highly sought after producer in the metal business. He is currently producing "The Undoing Ruin" for Darkest Hour which is being billed by Victory as the "Record of the Decade" and also produced Lamb of God "As The Palaces Burn" which put Lamb of God on the map. Is this the record that will result in Darkest Hour blowing up to headliner status? Is "The Undoing Ruin" being billed correctly or is Victory stretching with the nature of the endorsement?
Jed: I hope they do well, they are good people, and deserve the break. Record of the decade? Probably not.
Question for Devin: Production questions for you in particular: Who is the most technical band you've produced? Who is the most chaotic band you've produced? And who would you really want to produce if they came calling?
Jed: Ill answer that for him
Zimmers Hole, Zimmers Hole, and, yes
Cuchulainn: What do you guys feel about the state of metal today?
Jed: It needs a serious shot in the ass. Too many posers, the swoopy doos, and the droopy drawers need to take a seat. I dont care about your fucking hair products or your over the top image
.like Alice Cooper said
Wheres the song?
Cuchulainn: What are the guys in SYL listening to right now?
Jed: Im listening to Domination(Morbid Angel), the new Hate Eternal, and lots of Exodus and AC/DC.
Cuchulainn: SYL are playing the "Gods of Metal" tour in Europe with Slayer, Megadeth,Iron Maiden, BLS, etc. And then you guys come back to the States for "SOTU" featuring the new breed of metal including Lamb of God, Unearth, Chimaira, All That Remains, etc. Where does SYL fit from your point of view? How excited are you for both of those festivals?
Jed: VERY excited
the Gods of Metal festival was killer, and the Sounds tour is going to be an awesome time
some good friends and some great bands
cant fucking wait to see Opeth and Chimaira every day
Cuchulainn: You guys already kind of are but can the fans expect the same kind of relentless touring we saw out of SYL after the self-titled release in 2003, after the festivals subside?
Jed: Not quite as intense, that last round of touring really burnt us out
but well be in your face a lot in the next while!
Cuchulainn: Thank you all very much for the interview. We at 666metal.com wish you all the best for "Alien" and on all of your touring from this point on. Can't wait to see you guys in Cleveland, thanks again.
Jed: Cleveland rocks!! Thanks!