Beyond the Dark Horizon recently conducted an interview with NEVERMORE guitarist Jeff Loomis. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Beyond the Dark Horizon: I was really taken with "The Obsidian Conspiracy", the album sort of invokes a collective feel of NEVERMORE's past yet there's a new surge of vitality.
Jeff Loomis: Thank you. It was a little different approach for us this time around. I think a lot of our stuff in the past has been a little complex, notey. I think the new stuff is just more structured, the cords come in quicker, the songs are better arranged and I think that it's just going to go over better in a live situation. I would definitely think that Peter Wichers [SOILWORK], our producer, had a lot to do with that as well. He helped me with the arrangements and I think it just made a catchier record. The songs are shorter and more to the point.
Beyond the Dark Horizon: What are your thoughts on the writing process for this album?
Jeff Loomis: Well, I kind of did things the same way I always do them. I never really have a preconceived idea about what I'm going to do musically. I just let the music come out and its music that's from my heart and soul. I sat down, probably in the beginning of 2009 and just started demoing songs and I have a little home studio here at the house and I started writing and making demo tapes of different kinds of tunes and just started sending them to Warrel [Dane, vocals] and by the middle of 2009, we were in the studio recording them. So the process was very, very fast; I was writing something new about every week. Kind of a quick situation, but I can see kind of the downfall of how people say that it took us five years to put out a new album. What many people don't realize is that after our last album, "This Godless Endeavor", we toured in support of that record for almost two years. After that Warrel and I put out solo albums, so it had been quite awhile but thanks to the fans for all their patience for waiting. We have a new record; we're back as a band we're going to tour again.
Beyond the Dark Horizon: Are your solos on "The Obsidian Conspiracy" spontaneous?
Jeff Loomis: Not really this time around, no. I've been known to do that in the past but this time around, Peter Wichers, our producer, really had a lot of input as far as me working out the solos. So we would literally just sit back and listen to each song, one by one and kind of create a storyline pattern of how the solo should really work within the song. So yes, I can honestly say that these solos were all worked out for this record.
Beyond the Dark Horizon: As a guitar player, your work is instantly recognizable and you are noted to be one of metal's top guitarists. How does that make you feel?
Jeff Loomis: Ummm... It makes me feel like shit! [laughs] It makes me feel awesome actually. It's like I never really thought I'd be one of these "guitar-god" noted sort of people. I've always wanted to be known as a good composer and a good songwriter. I think since I put out a solo instrumental record, a lot of people have started to notice my guitar playing. Things have been going good and that makes me feel really great. It's opened up a lot of new doors for me as a musician. I'm now doing guitar clinics and touring all over Europe, doing guitar clinics alone. It has given me the opportunity to meet and talk with all these young inspiring guitarists. I actually get to have a one-on-one conversation with these kids and talk to them about playing guitar. It's really cool and I don't take any of that for granted. If someone really digs my guitar playing and considers me a "guitar god," then that's cool and it makes me feel happy. That's awesome.
Beyond the Dark Horizon: Warrel Dane recently announced the reformation of [his pre-NEVERMORE band] SANCTUARY. Is there anything you can tell us about that?
Jeff Loomis: All I know at the moment is that Warrel wanted to get the band back together and do a couple of shows and I think we're going to do some festival shows. As far as a new record, I'm not quite sure if that's going to happen yet. That's actually still being talked about. But I can say that there will be a few SANCTUARY festival shows over in Germany.
Beyond the Dark Horizon: Do you plan to release a follow-up to your solo album?
Jeff Loomis: Yes, I do. I actually signed on for two more records and I'm working on the new one right now. There's still no title yet but I'm working on the music and hoping for a mid-winter release next year.
Beyond the Dark Horizon: You also recently introduced a new touring guitarist, correct?
Jeff Loomis: Yes. He's 24 years old and his name is Atilla Voros. He's from Hungary and we found him though YouTube, believe it or not. It was very interesting because he played all the NEVERMORE songs perfectly. It just so happens that both NEVERMORE and PANTERA are his favorite bands. So I auditioned him and I hardly had to show him anything. He knew all the songs already and we've taken him on roughly 10 festival shows so far, and we'll probably make the final announcement in a few months stating that he's our new official guitarist. Looks like 99.9 percent chance that he will become a permanent member of NEVERMORE.
Read the entire interview from Beyond the Dark Horizon.