ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino recently conducted an interview with SOUNDGARDEN singer Chris Cornell. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
ARTISTdirect.com: What sparks your writing?
Cornell: Lately, I decide to write and I have an overall mood in mind that has nothing to do with words. It’s just a mood. The words come out. Some amount of them comes out immediately. There’s some little part of that which is the song, and I can see it. That’s easy to recognize. I take that out and start building the song on that. Most of the time, that’s how it goes for me, lately. The other way is I’ll read something which gets me thinking and flowing lyrically. That doesn’t necessarily work right away. I’ll read for a little bit and start writing, and it all opens up. Writing periods for me, I’m not someone who walks around with a notebook my whole life and every time I see something I write it down or think about it. I don’t really do that. I’m writing and playing music a lot. I’ll tend to read when I’m not writing. If an idea strikes me, I’ll write it down. I never actually write out whole lyrics until it’s time to write lyrics or I’m writing a whole album usually. The reason why is I get into flow, and it’s like opening some radio frequency. It takes me a little time to dial in clearly. Once it’s in clearly, I can do a lot. If I stop for a week, it gets fuzzy. It takes a lot of concentration to keep that going.
ARTISTdirect.com: Has that been the process for the new SOUNDGARDEN album?
Cornell: Definitely, it’s been a pretty good time. I suppose the actual writing has taken place over the course of a couple years. Initially, we wrote a handful of songs early on in the process. Then, we went on tour a few times. I went on tour. Matt went on tour with PEARL JAM. Ben was working on a solo record. We would take breaks and come back. That was actually good. Otherwise, I have to force myself to take a break for a minute which is usually after beating my head against a wall if I’m having trouble with something. If something doesn’t immediately work and the melodies and lyrics don’t coexist with the music perfectly, then I can go away from it and come back a couple months later. Then, the problem seems to have solved itself. Having this amount of time to make this record hasn’t hurt us. It’s been good — especially for the first record back. To not have a ton of pressure put on it with scheduling, release date, and touring is great.
ARTISTdirect.com: You have the space to be creative.
Cornell: Yeah, if you consider the time we took off as time when we’re doing other things, you condense the amount of time we spent actually working on the record, we probably spent less time working on this record than other records. However, it feels a lot more relaxed.
Read the entire interview from ARTISTdirect.com.