METALLICA is nearly a month into "some pretty serious writing" sessions for its next studio album.
Drummer Lars Ulrich discussed the status of the creative process for the follow-up to 2016's "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct" in a Rolling Stone "Musicians On Musicians" chat between him folk-rock artist — and self-proclaimed and METALLICA fan — Phoebe Bridgers.
Speaking about the impact the greatest public health, political, and socioeconomic crisis of our lifetime has had on METALLICA's new music, Lars said: "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.'"
Earlier this month, Lars told Kara Swisher at the CNBC Evolve Summit that he and his METALLICA bandmates have been working on new music for "the last six [to] eight weeks virtually." But he admitted that they have encountered a myriad of technical issues which have slowed their progress.
"Being a rock and roll band and working virtually is not super easy," Lars said. "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."
In early May, the four members of METALLICA overcame social distancing to record a new version of their song "Blackened", with each member separated in his own home. The split-screen video was posted to the band's social media channels. That same month, Ulrich told Swedish talk show host Fredrik Skavlan that he and his bandmates were "sending ideas to each other via e-mail and via Zoom and [trying to] make music in these unusual situations."
In August, METALLICA broadcast a show to hundreds of drive-in and outdoor theaters across the U.S. and Canada, as part of the "Encore Drive-In Nights" series. The concert was filmed nearly three weeks earlier, on August 10, at the Gundlach Bundschu winery, about a 30-minute car ride from the band's headquarters in San Rafael, California, and was subsequently edited and mixed by the band's award-winning production team to the highest standards possible.
METALLICA's "Live & Acoustic From HQ: Helping Hands Concert & Auction" was streamed live from the band's headquarters last Saturday, November 14. The special acoustic show benefited METALLICA's All Within My Hands foundation.