Brendan Crabb of Australia’s Loud magazine recently conducted an interview with vocalist Chuck Billy of San Francisco Bay Area metallers TESTAMENT. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Loud: The further your career progresses, the more beloved many of those staples become to the long-time fans. How difficult is it to compose new material that can sit alongside the usual suspects of your live sets, and become accepted?
Chuck: Well, I think because we never really write the same record, so I think that it’s not just more of the same thing. You don’t know what you’re going to get on a record from us. We’re always writing and that tends to get better and better as writing goes. We’ve been fortunate to play a lot more festivals over the summer when we go to Europe, so it kind of sticks in the back of your mind, that it’s nice that you wrote a song that has those hooks or melodies where the crowd can respond and participate. We have a couple of those on this record, we always seem to have a song that kind of has a sing-a-long or a sing back or answer back, and it’s been working. [laughs] So we’ve kinda been sticking with that I guess.
Loud: On the live front, there’s the impending release of your new DVD. What can you tell us about that?
Chuck: Well, there’s about 19 songs on it, and we put songs from the beginning of our career all the way to where we are now. It’s actually a really good representation of where the band is today. The last DVD was in ’05, and that’s when we had the reunion with the original lineup. They only really wanted to play some of the stuff that they recorded on, so it’s kinda nice, here we are now playing more of the current stuff. We decided to capture it, and we’re really proud of it because we put a lot of effort into this DVD. It sounds really good, and it looks really good as well. So I’m pretty pumped on it. There’s some backstage stuff and interviews, a video on it and the making of the video. Some cool stuff on there.
Loud: Is the DVD somewhat of a stopgap before you bunker down to write the next album?
Chuck: Well, we start it in January. We’re doing the LAMB OF GOD, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and HUNTRESS tour, and after that, that’s the last tour and the first of January we start writing. Then hopefully have a record out by summer.
Loud: Where do you envision the next record heading then?
Chuck: Not sure. I mean, Eric [Peterson, guitar], I kinda play off of what Eric, what the mood or what the riff is, you know? He kinda has the beginning; he starts it out and gets it going first. Then it just kinda develops from there. I don’t know what style of vocals I’m going to be singing yet, until he gets those riffs on the demo.
Loud: Do you find yourselves being influenced by younger bands these days, or is it primarily the same sources of inspiration that sparked you in the early days?
Chuck: We get inspired by what’s going on today, and new, up-and-coming thrash-style bands. They’ve been influenced off us, and they’re creating their own sound and style. And it’s kind of like a full circle; take a little bit of what they’re doing today and putting it in our music. I think that’s what actually keeps our music not sounding like a 30-year-old band, and sounds still kind of fresh and modern.
Read the entire interview from Loud magazine.