Maryland rockers CLUTCH have written “handful of tunes” for the follow-up to 2015’s “Psychic Warfare”, with plans to enter the studio later in the year.

Speaking to Metal Wani‘s Adam Hayward at this weekend’s Download festival in the U.K., CLUTCH drummer Jean-Paul Gaster said (hear audio below): “We took a good bit of time off [from touring]. We were off [the road] for nearly four months, and so for us, that’s quite a long time; we hadn’t taken that much time off in… I don’t remember how long. So we spent a good portion of that writing new songs, working out in the jam room, working on new arrangements, working on concepts. And at this point, we have a handful of tunes that have vocal ideas. We’ve been putting them into the set. We’ll play one tonight; the one we’re doing tonight is called ‘How To Shake Hands’.”

Gaster added that it is “super important” for CLUTCH to test out some of the new material in a live setting, because it “really gives us the opportunity to hear the song for what it is.” He explained: “As a drummer, I’m always trying to find the pulse of that tune. And most recently, I’m really making an effort not to just superimpose what I think the pulse should be of that tune; the tune will tell you what to play. It’s a matter of actually playing the song and listening to the way the guys interact with the music, watching the crowd and seeing what the crowd reacts to — all this stuff goes into it. So it’s an exciting time for us right now; it’s very sort of… [We’re] in a very creative mindspace right now.”

Asked if it gets easier to write new CLUTCH music as the years pass, the drummer said: “Yeah, I think it does, actually. In a lot of ways, we get together and there’s very little vocal communication sometimes. We might be in the room for a half hour or forty-five minutes playing the whole time and creating this thing, but no one ever actually says anything… It’s like we’ve gotten to the point where we sort of share a brain, you know. And there’s a lot of beer and stuff in that brain, but there’s a brain; it’s a collective brain.”

Gaster also talked about CLUTCH‘s longevity despite the band’s refusal to follow musical trends. “I think part of that has to do with the fact that when we got the band together, the intention was not to make a million dollars and it wasn’t to be a huge band and it wasn’t to be on the radio,” he said. “It was really just to… We just wanted to play some cool shows and make some records that we were proud of, and that was really the beginning and the end of it. And I think because of that, even in the times that were tough, whether it was financial times or dealing with the label, we always went back to that. It was really about the music, and it’s still about the music. And so that makes it easy as well.”

He added: “It’s amazing. I still enjoy doing what we do, I enjoy being with the guys, I enjoy making music with them, being creative and challenging ourselves.”

As previously reported, CLUTCH and PRIMUS will join forces for “An Evening With Primus And Clutch” tour this summer.

The 24-date trek will launch on July 17 in Charlotte, North Carolina and wrap on August 18 in Berkeley, California.

Both bands will play full sets during the tour, which will feature no support acts.

“Psychic Warfare” debuted at No. 11 on The Billboard 200 chart after shifting 26,000 equivalent album units in the week ending October 8, 2015. The disc was released via CLUTCH‘s own label Weathermaker Music.