AVENGED SEVENFOLD Bassist Explains Why New Album Took Five Years To Make

April 6, 2023

In a new interview with Matt Bingham of the Z93 radio station, AVENGED SEVENFOLD bassist Johnny Christ spoke about the band's upcoming album "Life Is But A Dream…", which is set to arrive on June 2 via Warner. Asked why the LP took so longer to make, he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We got off the road about five years ago and took the time to start conceptualizing this record. And each step was really kind of methodical and also followed us through our personal and life journeys, both individually and together, over the last five years. There was a lot of break times in between each process that were both necessary and out of our control at some times. So it was a long process that we weren't used to, but I think at the end of it, when we got back and got this record mixed and mastered and we were listening to it — this was several months before everyone else got to hear it — we were, like, 'Okay, now I'm ready for everyone to hear what we just worked on.' We just put our heads down for the last five years and just tried not to focus on too much other stuff and just made sure that we were creating the music that we wanted to, that made us proud as a band, as musicians, as brothers, to put out to the world. And then after we do that, it's in your guys' hands now [to decide] if you like it or not."

Asked what he personally loves the most about "Life Is But A Dream…", Johnny responded: "Those are hard questions. I know that they're questions that everyone wants to ask or hear, and it's difficult. What's one thing I love about this record that means so much to me that's been such a big part of my life? If you think about five years — I'm only 38. Fractionally, it's not a small fraction of my life at this point. So it's hard. But if, gun to my head, I had to pick one thing, I think it's really just the way this band came together and created something that I personally have never heard done before, from front to finish. I've never heard an album [like this] tackled, really, by any genre, let alone the one that we've been pigeonholed our entire career. And I just think it just shows the growth, the tenacity and the willingness to put everything that we have into one piece of art over the last five years. And I couldn't be more proud of not myself, but my brothers that put this together and helped make it the vision that it is.

"You do this for you as an artist first and foremost; we learned that a long time ago," he continued. "You feel the urge to pander to your fans because they do mean so much to you. Obviously, it's the cliché thing to say — but it's cliché 'cause it's obvious; that's usually the case. We're nothing without our fanbase — of course — and we love them so much, and they know that. And over the years we've had a mutual respect where they understand also, too, that we go in and give it our all. Whatever comes out at the other end, you know that we spent our time, our due diligence in making something that we feel proud of. And all we can do at that point, when it's done, is feel the way we feel about it and let everyone else discover it and feel the way they're gonna feel about it. That's a part of the gig; that's a part of creating art."

Late last month, AVENGED SEVENFOLD's M. Shadows told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" that the lyrics to the songs on "Life Is But A Dream…" are "tied together in a way that we're exploring themes about existentialism and absurdism. Some of this stuff is based off of the French philosopher Albert Camus and different sorts of existential ideas. So it all kind of plays together," he explained. "It's not like we have a song about partying all night and the next song is this really deep song about ego disillusion. It all plays within this weighty sort of subject matter. 'The Stage' was the same way, where it wasn't like [QUEENSRŸCHE's] 'Operation: Mindcrime', where you're hearing a story all the way through, but it has themes. So this is the same sort of idea, that musically and thematically they're all in line."

Regarding whether the recently released single "Nobody" is representative of the overall "Life Is But A Dream…" sound, Shadows said: "I sent this record to a few people that I know, and they'd already heard 'Nobody', and they come back and they go, 'I can't believe where this record takes us.'

"There was no good song on the record to put out and go, like, 'Oh, this is a representation of… you're gonna understand everything if you hear this.' So we were in a situation where it just doesn't really play by the rules in terms of what's gonna go out on the radio station and everyone's gonna get it," he explained.

"The way I would describe it is the record has a bunch of colors and they stretch as far out as possible. Think of the universe, and 'Nobody' sits in the middle and it's kind of like a black hole. It's this big, weighty orchestra-driven existential crisis sucking in everything in its way. But the rest of the record kind of reaches out very widely and paints with bright colors, where this is kind of black-and-white and very dense."

"Nobody", AVENGED SEVENFOLD's first official music release since their 2016 album "The Stage", delivers nearly six minutes of tension, groove, and dynamics. The song twists and turns beyond conventional songwriting and leans in on discomfort before letting go. The beautifully crafted stop-motion music video, which unfolds like a short film, is a stunning and powerful journey exploring the dichotomy between life and death, love and war, and follows the main character through an existential crisis. Stop motion is a handmade labor of love, often taking 90 minutes just to capture only two seconds of footage.

Prior to the track's release, the band launched an elaborate and mysterious digital scavenger hunt with puzzles, ciphers, images, and blog posts all written by Chat GPT, DALL-E 2, and AI voice modifiers. What was initiated as a cryptic hacker campaign on socials, eventually lead fans to a web site full of challenges to complete over the past two weeks that ultimately lead to the single being "unlocked" for release.

The sprawling sound of "Nobody" is reflective of "Life Is But A Dream..." . Written and recorded over the span of four years, "Life Is But a Dream..." was inspired by the writing and philosophy of Albert Camus. Accordingly, the lyrics are rooted in existentialism and absurdism. Always on the cutting edge of music and technology, AVENGED SEVENFOLD has partnered with Berify to include an NFC tag with bonus content on all CDs, vinyl, cassettes and official merchandise sold on A7XWorld.com. Additionally, the cover art and packaging are by renowned artist Wes Lang. Bold and multi-layered, the band's new album promises to be their most daring.

To date, AVENGED SEVENFOLD has sold over 10 million albums worldwide and earned two consecutive No. 1 albums on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart (2010's "Nightmare" and 2013's "Hail To The King") to go along with over a billion video views and a billion-plus Spotify streams, as well as multiple No. 1 singles on rock radio. The band is equally known for their spectacular live shows, selling out arenas and headlining the world's most prestigious rock festivals.

AVENGED SEVENFOLD has announced an extensive "Life Is But A Dream…" North American tour, featuring support from ALEXISONFIRE. Produced by Live Nation, the first leg includes 13 cities across the U.S. and Canada, such as Mansfield, Québec City, Tinley Park, Calgary, and more. Additional cities and dates will be announced soon.

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