DERYCK WHIBLEY On SUM 41's Decision To Call It Quits: 'I'd Like To Put Some Focus And Energy Into Something Else'
November 29, 2023
This past September, Grammy-nominated band SUM 41 released a new single, "Landmines", via Rise Records alongside a new music video. The track is expected to appear on SUM 41's upcoming album, "Heaven :x: Hell", which is tentatively due in early 2024. The first part of the two-part LP, known as "Heaven", taps back into pop punk, while the album's second, heavier side ("Hell") features metallic tracks closer to SUM 41's most recent sound.
Speaking to CJAY 92 's Jesse and JD about the upcoming album, SUM 41 vocalist Deryck Whibley said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "The intention was with this new record — it's a double record, 'Heaven :x: Hell', and the 'Heaven' side is 10 songs of what would be old-school SUM 41 pop punk, and the 'Hell' side is the newer sort of heavier metal side that we've done for about 16, 17 years now — maybe even longer. But anyway, yeah, I think that song does have the spirit of, say, [2001's] 'All Killer No Filler' and [2002's] 'Does This Look Infected?', but played by a band that's been playing for 30 years now."
Asked how much pressure was there for him and his bandmates to make this final album exactly how they wanted it, Deryck said: "There was no pressure, because we didn't really know that we were going to make this the last record. When I started writing songs for this record, I didn't even know I was writing songs for SUM 41. I thought I was writing for other people, because at the beginning of the pandemic, I was getting asked by managers and record labels if I'd work with some of their artists. They were looking for pop-punk stuff. And so I just started writing songs, and I just happened to like them and I didn't wanna give them away. So I kept them. And I didn't even know we were making a double album. I didn't even know it was going to be what it became. It wasn't until all the music was just written. I was just writing for the sake of writing, and when I listened to it all back, it just kind of spoke to me."
Regarding the decision to put SUM 41 to rest after the upcoming LP and tour, Deryck said: "I'm a big believer in that the music tells you what to do, and it just told me this should be a double album. Once that album was finished, I'd realized, and I'd been thinking this for a while, that I felt like after all these years with my 1,000% focus on SUM 41 all day, every day, I felt like I don't have much more of that in me to continue past this record. I've been in this band since I was in tenth grade, and I just... I'm getting to a point where I'm thinking, I'd like to put some focus and energy into something else. And I felt this is probably the best record we've ever made. And I think this version of the band is the best we've ever been live. And I thought, what a way to just go out on this one."
In May, SUM 41 announced plans to split up following the completion of a worldwide tour in support of "Heaven :x: Hell".
Whibley previously talked about "Heaven :x: Hell" last month in an interview with TheresaRockFace of the Houston, Texas radio station 94.5 The Buzz. At the time, he said: "It's two totally different records. It's 10 songs each side. I would call like early SUM 41 pop punk, and the 'Hell' side is like newer, heavier SUM 41 that we've kind of done the past couple of records, that sort of style. I don't wanna call it metal, but it's our version of what we do that's heavy and metal influenced."
He explained: "Over the years, we've done both sort of styles. We've had more heavy music than pop-punk music, but since we started with that on those first two records, it's kind of like you're labeled that for the rest of your life. But there are fans of ours that don't really care for any of the pop-punk stuff and only like the heavier stuff, and vice versa."
According to Whibley, "There are no guests" on "Heaven :x: Hell". "There was some talk about it," he said. "We've never really done that. And as the record starts moving along, it just gets finished, and we're, like, 'Well, I guess we've done the record now.' Those ideas come up early on, and then once the songs are done, we're, like, 'I don't know. Maybe we'll just leave it as is.'"
Asked if there is an official release date for "Heaven :x: Hell", Whibley said: "There's no release date for it yet. No, not yet. I have a feeling it'll probably be early next year, kind of like spring. That's what I think. All that stuff's being worked out right now."
Whibley also talked about the songwriting process for "Heaven :x: Hell" and how it came to turn into a double album. He said: "It wasn't really that fast [to make], but it also wasn't intentional. There was no thought or idea to make a double album. The music just kind of came out that way. And I'm always a believer in the music tells you what to do. So I didn't have this idea of, like, 'I'm gonna write a bunch of pop-punk songs and write a bunch of heavy songs.' I was just writing stuff and collecting music, and I didn't know what it was for. And one day I just decided, 'Okay, I've got all these songs. I'm gonna put 'em on a disc and go drive around in the car and listen to just see what I have.' And once I listened to it all, it kind of spoke to me. It was just, like, 'This needs to be a double album, 'cause they're two separate albums.' There was no thought of it. And even with the band, I didn't tell them, 'Hey, I think this is a double album.' I just sent them the music and said, 'Listen to everything that I've been working on. Tell me what you think.' And one by one, each guy came back and said, 'What do you think about doing a double album?' So the music spoke to all of us."
SUM 41's storied 24-plus-year career includes over 15 million records sold worldwide, multiple Billboard-charting releases, a Grammy Award nomination, two Juno Awards (seven nominations),a Kerrang! Award in 2002, as well as multiple Alternative Press Music Awards.
In September, Whibley was discharged from a hospital after being treated for pneumonia.
Back in 2014, Deryck collapsed in his kitchen and was rushed to the hospital, before doctors revealed his liver and kidneys had failed. He was placed in a coma for a week to help his body detox from alcohol and went on to get sober and lead a healthier lifestyle.
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