Metallica members have teased that the band are in the early stages of making a new album in quarantine. Earlier this month, Lars revealed the band have weekly Zoom calls where they exchange ideas. A new interview with bassist Robert Trujillo sheds light on the entire process for the band.
Trujillo was interviewed by The Vinyl Guide and was asked how the process differs from their previous release, 2016's Hardwired… To Self-Destruct.
"We communicate every week, which is really great, so we have our connection intact. And what we've started doing is basically just really concentrating on our home studios and being creative from our homes and navigating through ideas and building on new ideas. And that's where we're at right now. We're excited about cultivating new ideas, to be honest. And everybody's in a good headspace, for the most part, and that's pretty much our focus now — let's have fun with this. That's part of the reason I got some updated recording gear and I'm putting ideas together and we're checking kind of each other's vibes out on new stuff. And that's pretty much where we're at. We haven't talked about touring lately…
"I'll tell you, we just did nearly three years on the 'Hardwired' album, and, of course, Australia is one of my favorite places on the planet to go play, and South America as well, so we will get back down there," he continued. "I'm not too worried about that — I know we will. Obviously, we've gotta get through this quarantine and all this stuff that's happening with that. In the meantime, we're creating, and I think that is really cool, 'cause sometimes it takes a while to get the band together and get four individuals who are living in different places in the same room. But it's, like, 'Hey, guess what? We don't have to be in the same room right now.' We can make music from our homes and work together and build stuff — and then we'll get in that room together and we'll bang the stuff out, but we'll be 40 steps ahead."
Trujillo says there is no definite timeline yet, but the band is working towards hitting the studio. "There's no definite plan as to a release date," he said. "I mean, we're just sort of now cultivating the terrain and getting kind of excited about it, to be honest. It's kind of a cool thing that we've been able to start focusing on that, 'cause it's new for us — we haven't done it this way. I don't think many people have done it this way. Everybody's gotta kind of restructure their routines and their creative flow. And at some point, all this will transition into what it's gonna transition into, and we'll have live shows again. And I'm sure there's gonna be a lot of new music coming, 'cause most musicians are writing new stuff right now, and that's exciting to me."
Previously, drummer Lars Ulrich told Swedish talk show host Fredrik Skavlan "We've been obviously connecting, but we connected creatively, and now we're sort of in discovery mode, I think is a good way to say it. We are sending ideas to each other via e-mail and via Zoom and [trying to] make music in these unusual situations.
"We have a weekly Zoom connect. We've been doing that basically since [the coronavirus pandemic] started 10 [or] 11 weeks [ago] — since it started in America. So we get together once a week on Zoom for a couple of hours and catch up. The good thing about that catching up is we really just talk about how we're doing and we don't sit and talk about METALLICA for hours and hours. But now that we've started exchanging some ideas, it's great. It's nice to in touch, it's nice to be part again of that group, and I look forward to the creative opportunities that lie ahead of us."
Ulrich later said he hopes the digital-only way Metallica is working can take them far into the process.
"So far, at least the sonic side of it and the practical elements are in surprisingly good shape, actually. So now we've just gotta figure out how much we can create without being in the same space. The difference, obviously, between bands like ourselves and people that are still bands, like the U2s of the world or the Red Hot Chili Peppers or Coldplay or Iron Maiden or whatever is that you really are bands, and you rely on the group format to really move everything forward. So unlike if you're a solo artist and it's just you and your guitar or whatever. So it's a different thing."
We'd assume that at the pace Metallica is going, the earliest we could expect the album is late 2021 at best.