It's no secret Metallica has been working on a collaborative new album throughout the pandemic, despite some challenges they may have faced. Now in a new interview with Rolling Stone, drummer Lars Ulrich revealed the band is really cracking down on the new material.
"We're three, four weeks into some pretty serious writing. And of all the shit — pandemics, fires, politics, race problems, and just fucking looking at the state of the world — it's so easy just to so fall into a depressive state. But writing always makes me feel enthusiastic about what's next. It's like, 'Fuck, there's an opportunity here to still make the best record, to still make a difference. To still do something that not even turns other people on, but turns me on.'"
The new Metallica album will be the band's first since their 2016 record Hardwired… to Self-Destruct, and their first since Death Magnetic to feature contributions from Kirk Hammett. Y'know, since the whole phone catastrophe.
Lars Ulrich spoke about the band's challenges writing new music in a pandemic era, when they are scattered all over the country during an interview with Kara Swisher for the CNBC Evolve Summit.
When asked if the band was working on a new album, Lars responded (transcribed by Blabbermouth): "I would say theoretically, we always have another album coming out. And so we have been trying to do as much as we could in the last seven months, trying to make a difference with our foundation and with our music and with connecting to people. And so we have been working the last six [to] eight weeks virtually.
"Being a rock and roll band and working virtually is not super easy," Lars continued. "Time delays, all these things make it really hard. The main thing we miss is being able to hear each other. [Laughs] So if we're all four in a room together, we can connect with each other and we can hear each other. If I'm playing here in San Francisco, and Kirk [Hammett] and James [Hetfield], our two guitar players, are either in O'ahu or Colorado, there are significant time delays. It's very hard for us to play at the same time. If I'm doing what we call steering, which means that I'm playing a beat and they're playing to me, I can't hear what they're playing, and vice versa. We can't all hear each other in a universal fashion. So there are some significant complications we have. Our recording team and our production team are speaking to software makers all over the world [about] how to crack the code on this. Nobody has quite figured it out yet."
James Hetfield said during a recent SirusXM Town Hall, he's written "tons of material" while sitting at home bored out of his mind. "For me, and I don't wanna sound ungrateful, 'cause I know there's a lot of people out there that are struggling because of this COVID… Where I live, it's all service industry. And, obviously, the music industry, it's tough — it's taken a big hit. For us, we're road dogs — we've been out on the road forever — so you're either on the road or you're writing. So the obvious thing is, 'Well, we're not on the road. Start writing.' So, [I've written] tons of material. And I'm sure there's lots of musicians out there that are just, like, 'Okay, what can I do? I'm gonna write and just get into that,' which I love doing."