what fills he wants to do. Even though they
are simpler versions of the songs, it’s still quite
complete without the extra touches. This
time, once we got to the point where everyone
had demos, we did actually jam on them quite
a lot, which is something we don’t usually do.
That was cool. We got these little bits and
pieces that came out of that.
Did the extended break since the last
album reinvigorate the band and allow
you to experiment more?
Li: I guess we had more time actually play-
ing the songs and jamming them out rather
than going straight into the studio and
recording without playing together. This
time we really played the songs before the
album was finished. It gave us the time,
but we had to do it. It was really important
because we had a new singer. We couldn’t
just throw him into the studio and give
him a song and tell him, “See ya on tour.”
We needed to make Marc feel at home by
playing together and getting to know each
other’s personality. It’s almost like a social
event as well, just playing the music and
exploring his voice. By doing that, and
some shows before the album comes
out, we aren’t throwing him into this big
world tour that he has no experience in.
How did you want this album to sound
and stand out from your past records?
Totman: I thought, for a start, the songs
would be shorter. In the past, most songs
would be around seven or eight minutes.
Now they are all averaging about five
or so. That is something I wanted to do
anyway, whether we changed singers or
not. People don’t have the attention span
to get into something. It’s sad in a way
but I have become that way myself, too.
I can’t really bother listening to an eight-minute song either. I would rather hear
two catchy shorter songs. But to make
up for that, I tried to get everything
into that five minutes, so we aren’t really
losing something. We have more guitar
solos underneath vocals and compacted
it in a way without losing anything.
We also went back to more of a metal
album sound. With the last couple of
albums we had more electronic-y stuff
and keyboards coming in, which I think
was definitely cool at the time. But
we realized that we took it as far as it
could go. You could say the sound has
gone back to more like what’s on Sonic
Firestorm—before we started to bring
all those extra things in with the keyboards—in a way. With Marc’s voice, we
have more range to work with. I thought
ZP had a great voice, but he wasn’t really
good down low and Marc has a really
nice tone when he sings down low and
then he can sing really, really high as
well. So it just gives us more room to
make things interesting, really.
Did you have to change any of the
older songs to fit Marc’s voice?
Li: In a way, we are able to play the old
songs like we used to play them. I don’t
mean that in a bad way, but on the last
few tours we tuned down a half-step since
they were long tours and we didn’t want
to stretch our singer too much. Now, we
just play everything in standard tuning.
Totman: That was something that we had
to take into account when choosing a singer. Obviously, when you write songs for a