The sixth album from Shinedown comes out the first week of May and it’s called ATTENTION ATTENTION. The album has Brent Smith and his group trying to do something new and innovative. They did their best to make this record intense. They wanted to make the new album heavy; both lyrically and sonically. The album is also a concept album, something that Shinedown had yet to tackle before it too. Alternative Addiction recently talked with Brent Smith, the charismatic frontman of Shinedown, about the band’s new album and the concept behind it.
“Honestly one of the first steps was in 2016,” Smith began explaining during the Alternative Addiction interview. “We were on a co-headlining tour with Five Finger Death Punch. When we were touring with them, our bass player Eric Bass was going stir-crazy. So, he brought one of his smaller Pro Tools rigs on tour with him. Every show day he would go into the arena and find a room and he had the mindset that he was going to write a composition. He told himself he was going to do that every day. By the end of the year he had about 22 compositions. After we got off the road for a minute and I was able to take it all in, I listened to it. Eric played me one of these amazing pieces of music and that gave me the idea to create a conceptual record. I thought that was the universe’s way of telling us something.”
The odd thing about those initial compositions from Bass is that the band didn’t use them for the new record. Still, they served a purpose as the spark of the idea of making the concept record, a record that Bass would still go on to engineer and produce.
“We wrote everything from the ground up. We didn’t really talk about producers doing the record either. The good thing about our career is that we’ve had the honor of working with a lot of talented engineers and producers over the years. We’ve always kept our eyes and ears open in the studio. It was apparent to us that Eric was the right guy to produce the record. He had produced songs for us over the years, but he’d never tackled a whole album. He said it best, he said we’d rather drive ourselves crazy making this than watch somebody else go crazy trying to make it. He was very focused and we all knew the mission statement for this album. I really think it’s the best work we’ve done in over a decade,” added Smith.
Even though Bass has produced a song here and there over the years for Shinedown, this is the first time having him produce and engineer the whole record. So, that’s something new, but that’s not the only thing different that Shinedown did for this record.
Smith ran through another significant difference:
“We did do some things specifically different for this record. Normally, we’ll finish a touring cycle and we’ll take a year and make the next record. We got the opportunity in 2016 to open for Iron Maiden in 2017 for their UK tour. Going back to last year, we started the initial writing and demoing process for the record at the beginning of the year. Then, we left the studio and went and played with Iron Maiden. We also did the month of July and we headlined some festivals at that time. We played a few festivals at the end of the year too. Ultimately, that was something we did on purpose, so we could get perspective on everything. Sometimes when you’re in the studio for a year straight you lose a bit of the artistry of what you had intended to do in the first place. It was good to leave the studio and be able to come back and see where we were at. We started in January of last year and we had it finished in January of this year.”
Read Part Two