ANNIHILATOR guitarist Jeff Waters recently took the time to answer a few fans' questions on the group's official web site. A couple of excerpts from the Q&A session follow:
Q: How do you feel when you're in a recording studio?
Jeff Waters: "That is a very stressful time. A LOT of self-doubt usually keeps me avoiding the studio situations at the start. Sometimes, the first half of the ANNIHILATOR CDs is spent second-guessing guitar sounds, bass sounds and songs/riffs. BUT once I finally sit down and start the CD writing/recording, past the halfway mark, it is like a freight train rollin'. I really get enjoyment after the halfway mark of a CD or the writing because it is then that I know I have done well. I think many artists, music, art, etc... are prone to the thoughts of 'Have I exhausted my best ideas? Am i finished? Is it time to do something else?' This is common. The trick is to finally work your way out of this mindset. I never get stuck for too long, though. But again, MORE than 50% of my time on ANNIHILATOR CDs is spent trying to get out of the mental rut/hole and into positive thinking! So far, 10 studio CDs later, I have climbed out of the abyss and into your brains, my fellow fans of metal! The end of the CD recording is a blur/shock to me. But the most emotional time (and believe me it is very emotional for me) is when the courier knocks on the door, months and months after you are done the hard work on the CD, and then I rip open the box and see the final CD version. I actually sit there and cry for a good 15 minutes or so; kind of like a huge release. Many of my CDs are written and done through hard personal times so when you fight to get one of these things done, it is a huge accompishment. It is NOT easy to write a CD on your own, produce, engineer, manage, play most of the instruments, write all the instruments, mix yourself. Add to that the fact that the heavy metalmusic biz thing is not exactly a financially sound biz to be in and that there are lots of crooks out there, posing as managers and labels. When you sign a contract with people to do an agreed-upon job, and they don't do their job, they are ripping you off. They are thieves. This is common in this biz. And it sure can make things almost inpossible to continue sometimes. Add again the fact that there is always one guy (2 guys, in my case!) you work with who will try to blackmail you for more money for something; to use his image and likeness or to use his audio/performance or will agree on a touring wage and then turn around before a tour and demand more than agreed-upon, etc... etc... etc... This is life and ya gotta roll with the metal punches; I have an un-canny ability to turn these obstacles into success! So when I do all this hard work, and often through and after some hard personal/business times, it is a HUGE thing for me to get that final box of CDs. I almost always say: 'Yeah; ya did it again, Waters.'"
Q: What do you feel when you play a fast song?? Are you bad? Possessed by the devil?
Jeff Waters: "A lot of rage fills ya but in a musical way. Very intense. I will officially announce something here: I am the fastest picking guitarist in the world, at least that I have ever heard of. I NEVER have said this because it is a silly thing and means absolutely nothing but I challenge anyone to find a faster picking hand (and done clearly and tightly; not sloppy) than mine. Proof? 'Demon Dance', 'Cold Blooded', 'Weapon X', etc... So there. One thing you really cant do in the studio is bang your head when actually reocrding most of my guitar parts. I have ruined many a take buy getting into the riff too much! hahaha!"
Read the rest of the Q&A session at this location.