|Interview with Sum 41|
The new album and the world tour - Sum 41 is on road again. However, a few years ago it would have been hard to imagine. Deryck Whibley, the lead singer, suffered severe alcohol dependence, having survived a 3-day-long coma, while his back problems exacerbated the situation: the musician had to learn how to walk and play the guitar again. Even the band members themselves didn’t believe that they’d be able to continue playing in the near future. «When we went home after the last touring cycle I was under the impression it might not happen for a long time – longer than two or three years. I thought it would be something like 10 years from now» – told us in an interview bassist and backing vocalist of Sum 41 Jason"Cone" McCaslin.
Cone has been playing in Sum 41 almost since the very formation of the band. He’s taken part in recording of all the band’s albums and has been together with Deryck not only at the band’s highs but at the very lows as well. «We went though some really rough times, so for me it was an achievement to actually have an album «13 Voices» – said Cone - We weren’t really getting along all that well. And I thought we would need much more time for it».
During the band’s reluctant breakup, when Deryck Whibley was focusing on regaining his health and being treated for addiction, Cone took up some producing. «I got into producing – you know producing for other bands, I was like a kid in this industry. So it took a lot of my time». As a producer, Cone collaborated with Sun K, LeBarons and Julius Geezer. Together with Todd Morse (a former member of the H2O), the musicians worked on their side project Operation M.D. and in 2015 released new singles "Shake Your Cage" and "Like Everyone Else".
However, when Deryck recovered, Cone was extremely happy to get back to the Sum 41 stuff. «When we started working on the new album I was, you know, super-happy. I love doing Sum41 stuff. I was very excited to do it again. When I heard Deryck was at the hospital, writing new songs, I was super happy because I’d seen him being destructive to himself so I was happy that my friend, whom I’ve known since I was 14 years old, was getting better. Deryck went through what he went through. But the album did come out soon after the hospital; we were recording within a year, so that was an achievement on its own».
The Sum 41 group members got down to work on the new album immediately. After 10 years, the guitarist Dave Baksh re-joined the band, while one of the original members – the drummer Steve Jocz on the contrary, left the collective. The intention to leave the band after 17 years had been announced by Steve back in 2013 on his Facebook page. Thus, the "13 Voices" was recorded with the newly joined drummer Frank Zummo. Apart from the new members, the actual record making process changed dramatically. «There was a lot of file sharing. Normally with our old albums we would get into a studio in LA or wherever it was and we would just record an album in 2 months, stay there doing it. And for “13 Voices” I would record the base at my house and send it. Because the way it is now with the internet and file sharing you can just email files to people. We did a lot of it this way. So this album is way different to the previous ones».
The producing of "13 Voices", as well as "Screaming Bloody Murder" and "Underclass Hero" has always been dealt with by Deryck Whibley. Despite the fact that during the band’s split up period Cone produced for other groups, there was no question of co-producing together with Deryck for Sum 41. «We never really spoke about co-production theme. Deryck produced the last 3 albums so it’s kind of his thing. I don’t know if that would work. So we go into a studio, we do all kind of work on sound but Deryck is kind of in charge of sounds and stuff, it’s always been his thing with Sum 41».
The "13 Voices" was released in autumn 2016 for the label Hopeless Records. After the release the band went on a tour which they nаmed "DON`T CALL IT A SUM-BACK TOUR", to support the new album. Sum 41 have always been known for the length of their tours, the latest tour having become yet another proof of the band’s perfect health. The European part of the tour consisted of 42 concerts, with the final performance in Moscow. «It was the most extensive and the most successful European tour we’ve ever done – said Cone - It was pretty much sold out. Were grateful that people still come to see us. We never expected it! We booked this long tour, in these big places but we thought nobody was going to show up!». However 35 out of 42 concerts were sold out. For Cone and the other members, the main principle of a successful concert is quite simple: « If we had fun and the audience smiled, then the concert was successful».
Text and photo: Daria Grishina
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