In a time when bands are resorting a lot more to touring than releasing studio albums, one thing is for sure in the music business: every three years we’ll have a new Alter Bridge album available for fans. 20119 could not be different, and sees the band’s sixth offering, entitled “Walk the Sky”, hitting the shelves and music platforms on October 18th.
“Walk the Sky” features the band’s longtime lineup of Mark Tremonti, Myles Kennedy, Brian Marshall and Scott Phillips. As seen in our review, the album is clear evidence that the heavy sound still has a place in the mainstream, and that pushing the envelope and catering for mass consumption aren’t necessarily excluding elements.
Sonic Perspectives collaborator Rodrigo Altaf had the chance to briefly talk to Tremonti. In the short conversation, the pair discussed aspects of the new album, the current setlist of the band and the accolades he received from the likes of Eddie Van Halen and Joe Bonamassa. Check out their conversation below.
Hi Mark, thanks for joining us!
Thanks for having me!
We are here of course to promote the new Alter Bridge album, Walk the Sky, which comes out in less than two weeks. Can you give us a brief description of the album, the writing and recording process?
It’s the sixth Alter Bridge album, I’m very proud of it, it came together nicely and we’re excite for the release on October 18th!
When you set out to make a record, do you discuss with the band the direction you’re going to take, or is it a natural progression from before? Do you feel pressure not to repeat yourself?
On this record I showed Myles [Kennedy, singer] something I was interested in, which is to incorporate the kind of retro-synth sound into the sound of Alter Bridge. He loved the idea and we went for it.
What does the title “Walk the Sky” mean to you?
Just the freedom, finding your zen and freeing your spirit.
Once again, the album cover Was designed by your brother Dan. What’s his process when drawing a cover, do you guys give him any indication of what you want, or does he have full freedom to create?
We usually get on the phone with him and tell him the subject matter of the record and what we’re looking for, and then let him loose and see what he comes up with. It usually takes a little while to get on the same page, but we’re really happy with how the cover of Walk the Sky turned out.
First three songs from the new album that made it to the set-list are “In the Deep”, “Pay no Mind” and “Wouldn’t you Rather”. How are they being received by the fans?
It’s been great. Ever since we released the first song off the new album people seem to love it, so it’s been great.
“Dying Light” and “Take the Crown” have also been revealed, and they carry the Alter Bridge DNA, right?
Absolutely, every song does!
One thing I always noticed on your albums is how Alter Bridge is a solid unit, with no member stealing the spotlight. Would you say that’s a big part of the band being so stable?
We just get along really well, everybody respects one another and we’re doing it for the right reasons, so it’s something we really enjoy doing.
With that said, you have received compliments from everybody from Eddie Van Halen to Joe Bonamassa. How do you feel about that?
It’s been awesome. It was a long road to get to where we are now, but we’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished.
Have you come to terms with the fact that you’re hanging out with your idols and people you grew up listening to?
It’s awesome. It’s been 22 years of a dream come true, you know? This is all I’ve ever wanted to do.
Another thing draws me attention in your music is that you always have riffs that you can sing, or vocal melodies that you duplicate on guitar, and that creates an immediate attraction to the song. Is that done on purpose?
You just try to write the most emotional thing you can think of and just hope that people can relate to it. It’s all about trying to come up with what means the most to you in that particular moment. And most of the time, it resonates with people and turns into something that they love as well.
You mentioned the synth loops that you researched online and then started jamming to them, and that formed the basis of a lot of the songs on the album. Can you expand on how that happened and how that translated into the fully formed songs on the album?
I always try to look for outside inspiration, until something resonates with me. It’s kind of hard to explain quickly, but the writing process hits you differently every time.
You’re in the middle of a North American tour, and you’re going to Europe later in the year. What are the plans for 2020?
We’ve only planned so far until the end of this year. As of right now we’re still on the planning stages of next year.
I noticed that on the current set-list there are no songs from The Last Hero. Is there any reason for that? And I’m assuming that once the album comes out, there will be more songs from it incorporated into the set, right?
We’re still working our way into the new songs and seeing how they fit. So they will come in, absolutely.
Thank you so much for your time, and I wish you the best with the new release Walk the Sky!