Prior to FLOTSAM AND JETSAM's performance in Toulouse, France on September 15, guitarist Michael Gilbert spoke with Metal Exhumator. The full conversation can seen below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the group's European "Killfest Part II" tour with OVERKILL and DESTRUCTION:
Michael: "The first half went so well that they said, 'Let's all get together and do it again'... There is a few generations [of fans], for sure. We're seeing a lot of younger people, and we're really surprised, because we put four new songs into the set. Usually, that's really a tricky deal. You don't play new songs — they want to hear the old stuff. They want to hear stuff off the first album and the second album — all the classics. But they're singing along with the new stuff, and we're getting requests for it, so we added new songs and we're getting the best reaction we could possibly get. We're pretty stoked about that."
On vocalist Erik "A.K." Knutson's performance on the group's latest album, "The End Of Chaos":
Michael: "He's done some variations with his singing. He's not just a thrash singer. He's one of my favorite singers ever. He's a really gifted and talented guy. He brought some different choruses and some different stuff for this record, so now we're kind of appealing to the power metal scene. We're getting a lot of power metal people coming out and checking A.K. out."
On the group's future plans:
Michael: "Next year is going to be the most touring that we've ever done. We're almost set up to tour the whole year, and we've never done that. That's always been a problem with FLOTSAM — we only tour three months out of the year, and then we're off to making another record. It's not good for a metal band — you've got to tour, tour, tour... It's a priority for us, so we all give it the time it needs. We all expect each other to make this first priority, and we all do. If there's tour dates coming up, we figure out a way to make it happen. Sometimes it's a little tricky balancing, but everybody is supportive of us in our personal lives, so it works out good."
On drummer Ken Mary, who joined the band in 2017:
Michael: "He's a vicious drummer... He's a monster, and he's a cool guy to hang out with. There's no tension or anything like that... His songwriting ability, that's one of his biggest strong points for the band."
On touring with OVERKILL, which now features former FLOTSAM AND JETSAM drummer Jason Bittner:
Michael: "It was strange the first show, and then after that, it was like, 'It's all good.' Jason's a brother, and best of luck to him. He's with his hometown boys, basically. That was the right decision for him. It was the right decision for us too, because we got Ken, and that makes sense for us."
On the group's current lineup:
Michael: "Right now, our lineup is the best it's ever been. It's stronger than ever. There's not going to be any lineup changes anymore. This is what it's going to be... The way we compose songs now is a lot easier as well. It's more of a combined effort having Ken and [bassist] Michael Spencer, because they contribute as well. We didn't always get that before."
On the group's following in Europe:
Michael: "They like the classics... The United States, I don't know what it is. They really haven't adapted to metal. It seemed like it was catching on in the '80s and just went down when NIRVANA and all that stuff was happening. I hate to say that, but that's what happened. Now, it's kind of springing back, but Europe, it never really went away."
On plans for a new album:
Michael: "We don't have dates right now. We have start dates for when we're going to work on it — as soon as we get off this [tour]. Hopefully some time next year, something will come out. I don't know when... The band's in a very good place right now, so we've just got to keep moving up... We're super-proud of our last record. That's the bar for our next record. It has to be as good as that one or better."
"The End Of Chaos" was released in January via AFM Records.