"This is going to be a landmark album" – hmv.com talks to Black Stone Cherry
Black Stone Cherry have never been fashionable. Arriving in 2006 with a debut album that was schooled in the Southern rock of Lynrd Skynrd and The Eagles, mixed with a hard, radio-friendly edge, they seemed completely and joyfully out of step.
Quickly though they struck a chord with a devoted fanbase and are now preparing for the release of their fourth studio album Magic Mountain.
We called up guitarist Ben Wells to find out all about it…
So Magic Mountain is now just days away from release, how are you feeling ahead of it coming out?
"I'm not so much nervous, more excited, very excited for people to hear it. I think this is going to be a landmark album for us, I'm sure of it. We finished it back in October, so we've been waiting a little while to put it out so we're more than ready."
Last time out you worked with Howard Benson as your producer, this time you've gone with Joe Barresi, why did you decide to make the change?
"We wanted a producer with a different outlook on things. When we first started talking about who to work with, we knew we needed someone who could capture the rawness and the energy we have when we play live."
It's a rawer album then?
"We didn't want it to be flawless, we wanted to make an album that was true to ourselves and who we are as a band."
You've said in interviews that it's a more confident record and you felt very free working on it…
"We did, the label trusted us and told us to be ourselves and express ourselves as songwriters. We wanted to become more accomplished as songwriters, but to make sure we kept things heavy. We know our fans pretty well, we know what they like, we kept that in mind throughout."
How do you think this album moves on from Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea?
"This album is a little more live and rambunctious, it's more riff heavy, it's still commercial viable though, we know how important radio is, but we just wanted to make an album that would sound great live."
By the end of your last tour you were playing to some pretty big crowds, did that change how you wrote songs?
"Whenever we write, we always picture people going crazy live, it's what we want to achieve every time. Each song has to add something to our live performance."
What kind of album is it lyrically?
"It's pretty fun, there's some shitty stuff on it too, obviously as bands we go through a lot, but it's pretty positive record, there are some real party jams on there. There's enough hate and garbage out there, we wanted something positive people can relate to."
Why did you decide to call the record Magic Mountain?
"We had the song first and we just thought it was a cool title and summed up the album mystically and artistically."
It's a lot shorter than the last album title…
"Yeah, there's that too."
After the record has come out, what's your touring schedule look like?
"We'll start touring the album in May, we'll be across the States and then in Europe to play some festivals and then we've got a big arena tour in the UK after that."
That's right, you're playing a UK arena tour in October, were you surprised that you're looking at venues that size?
"We wanted to do it. We feel very humbled and very excited at the thought of playing to that many people. We're so psyched for it."
Are you going to pull out all the stops with your live show? Will things be exploding?
"We're still planning that, we’ll make it memorable for sure, you'll have to come see it…"
Black Stone Cherry's new album Magic Mountain is due for release on Monday May 5th and is available to pre-order in hmv stores now.