JUDAS PRIEST's IAN HILL On Recording Process For 'Invincible Shield': 'It Was Different'

February 26, 2024

In a new interview with Nicholas Kobe of WOUB.org, JUDAS PRIEST bassist Ian Hill spoke about the songwriting process for the band's upcoming album, "Invincible Shield", which will arrive on March 8 via Sony Music. He said: "Well, I'm not one of the writers. That'll be Richie [Faulkner, guitar], Glenn [Tipton, guitar] and Rob [Halford, vocals] doing the writing — but it's a step forward from [2018's] 'Firepower', which is what we always set out to do with each album. We always try and improve. You never stop learning. We've always tried to take a step in the right direction with each record. This one is probably two steps in the right direction, basically because of the lockdown and COVID. There's a hell of a lot of time there for Richie, in particular, to really polish the songs and add things in, take things out, and change things around before we had a chance to get into a studio. Having said that, because of the lockdown, everything was recorded individually. We never had a chance really to get into a studio because we weren't allowed to be together. So we had to do it as individuals. Richie and Scott [Travis, drums] were recorded in the Nashville area, which is where they live now. Rob was done in Phoenix, and I was done in hotel rooms on the last European tour. We went straight from lockdown straight to the 50th anniversary tour. We still didn't get any chance to get into a studio. The bass was the last thing to be put down in this instance. We got lots of days off between shows, so we figured we might as well be productive. Andy [Sneap] was with us, the producer [and PRIEST's touring guitarist], he got his laptop, hooked the bass straight in, and away we went. Great way of recording, really laid back and trouble-free."

Hill went on to say that he had never recorded like that before. "It was different," he said. "You don't get the pressure. I mean, even with a band of our stature — we've been around for a long time — but you still get some pressure in the studio. You're playing something new, for a start. And it doesn't matter what you say, or how good you think the part is you've done, there's generally always room for improvement: 'I wish I'd have played that instead,' little bits and pieces, 'I should have followed the drum line there,' whatever.

"In a studio where you've got a certain amount of time to do stuff, you don't notice these things until some time afterward," he explained. "But the way we put the bass down, we would have one day off and pick one song and we just played it and listened to it. So we could be, like, 'Change a little bit there, do a little bit there. You weren't very tight there,' and just polish everything up and get it to about as perfect to the other instruments as possible. We just did one track a day. The pressure was off. In the studio you've got five or six sets of eyes on the back of your head, like, 'Hurry up. It's my turn now.' Doing it this way, none of that stuff. It worked really well and it made Andy's life a little simpler. He could come straight off tour and get straight into his studio and start putting it together and mixing it."

Hill is the sole remaining original member of PRIEST, which formed in 1969. Halford joined the group in 1973 and Tipton signed on in 1974. Rob left PRIEST in the early 1990s to form his own band, then came back to PRIEST in 2003. Original guitarist K.K. Downing parted ways with the band in 2011, and was replaced by Faulkner.

Photo credit: James Hodges

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