MICHAEL GILBERT Says FLOTSAM AND JETSAM's ERIC 'A.K.' KNUTSON Is 'Singing At The Top Of His Game Right Now'
March 10, 2019
Chris Akin of "The Classic Metal Show" recently conducted an interview with guitarist Michael Gilbert of Arizona metal veterans FLOTSAM AND JETSAM. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether he's the "difference maker" in FLOTSAM AND JETSAM considering the studio albums he's appeared on tend to be stronger than the ones he's not:
Michael: "The latest release, 'The End Of Chaos', has been pretty much a collaboration between the five of us. We seem to really work well together on this record. The last record, the self-titled one, it seemed like it was a stepping stone to where we got right now. It just seems like it's a well-oiled machine with these guys. Yeah, I think we're actually back on the map again and kind of got an old-school vibe happening again. It seems like that's what's pumping through our blood right now. We're happy to get it on tape."
On whether FLOTSAM AND JETSAM was too experimental for their own good on 2010's "The Cold" and 2012's "Ugly Noise":
Michael: "It was different songwriters for 'The Cold'. It was pretty much a completely different lineup. The only members that were in that lineup were Ed Carlson and A.K. [Eric Knutson, vocals]. He's the voice of the band; he's the staple. He is the voice. He's what people recognize with FLOTSAM. 'Ugly Noise' is when I reappeared in the band. It's when I decided to come back and they asked me to come back writing. That was some of the stuff I wrote in my absence. I was starting to experiment with sequences and dub-step stuff. I was definitely trying to incorporate it into the FLOTSAM sound, but that's not really the FLOTSAM style. There's a little taste of some of that stuff on there. That's kind of the thing with us, we're constantly experimenting and trying to, I guess, as a musician, trying to find ourselves all the time. Trying to get better, trying to get our chops up. [Laughs]"
On whether he feels pressure to write with the history of FLOTSAM AND JETSAM in mind rather than trying to go in a new direction:
Michael: "Absolutely. We're always trying to — I consider it like a game face. When you go to play a football game, your coach, they give you the speech to try to amp you up to make sure you're playing with all your adrenaline and you're revved up for the game. It's the same thing with music. Whenever you're getting ready to make a record, you don't want to be listening to anything that's not revving you up. That's what we go back to. We listen to our roots for our gameday, for the record that we release. We go back and listen to the stuff from our roots and some of the old-school metal, so, usually when you're writing, it comes out naturally."
On the writing process for "The End Of Chaos":
Michael: "We had a lot of songs for this record. We had a little bit of a different writing process as Steve Conley [guitar] is into the writing as well as Ken [Mary, drums]. These guys are the newest members of the band, but man, they are really bringing stuff to the table that's killer. That's definitely an asset. We had probably 50, 40 or 50 songs that we sent to A.K. We just gave him the ball and said 'Hey dude, write whatever you can over this. Write what you feel you're strong with and what you're comfortable with and send them back to us and let's try to work out the first maybe 20 and see what happens.' Man, he killed it. He killed it on the chorus lines and the verses. That dude is singing at the top of his game right now. He's such a great singer."
On whether audiences are receptive to more aggressive forms of metal:
Michael: "I am seeing that. There's definitely a big resurgence in the aggressive metal. It seems to be really getting popular right now. With mainstream radio, you hear a lot of the heavy bands, not necessarily PERIPHERY, but that kind of stuff going on, where it's really produced, it sounds great and it's a great band, but I think that style is come to a head. I think people are just now starting to look for something a little bit different. They're going back to the angry stuff. I believe that music cycles around. It keeps doing it. People change throughout the years and they always revisit it. It's a constant circle. It just keeps going around and around and you keep revisiting what you were brought up with and you change it up and you go back and change it up. How it works with me and I'm super grateful that right now the aggressive metal seems to be making a resurgence again."
"The End Of Chaos" was released on January 18 via AFM Records. The album is available as a digipak, on clear orange, gatefold vinyl (limited to 450 units),black gatefold vinyl (limited to 450 units),limited picture vinyl (limited to 500 units),gold black splatter gatefold vinyl and limited boxset with T-shirt.
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