METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo spoke to "The Vinyl Guide" about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the follow-up to the band's 2016 album "Hardwired… To Self-Destruct". He said (hear audio below): "We communicate every week, which is really great, so we have our connection intact. And what we've started doing is basically just really concentrating on our home studios and being creative from our homes and navigating through ideas and building on new ideas. And that's where we're at right now. We're excited about cultivating new ideas, to be honest. And everybody's in a good headspace, for the most part, and that's pretty much our focus now — let's have fun with this. That's part of the reason I got some updated recording gear and I'm putting ideas together and we're checking kind of each other's vibes out on new stuff. And that's pretty much where we're at. We haven't talked about touring lately…
"I'll tell you, we just did nearly three years on the 'Hardwired' album, and, of course, Australia is one of my favorite places on the planet to go play, and South America as well, so we will get back down there," he continued. "I'm not too worried about that — I know we will. Obviously, we've gotta get through this quarantine and all this stuff that's happening with that. In the meantime, we're creating, and I think that is really cool, 'cause sometimes it takes a while to get the band together and get four individuals who are living in different places in the same room. But it's, like, 'Hey, guess what? We don't have to be in the same room right now.' We can make music from our homes and work together and build stuff — and then we'll get in that room together and we'll bang the stuff out, but we'll be 40 steps ahead."
According to Trujillo, METALLICA is "working towards" eventually entering a studio and recording the new LP. "There's no definite plan as to a release date," he said. "I mean, we're just sort of now cultivating the terrain and getting kind of excited about it, to be honest. It's kind of a cool thing that we've been able to start focusing on that, 'cause it's new for us — we haven't done it this way. I don't think many people have done it this way. Everybody's gotta kind of restructure their routines and their creative flow. And at some point, all this will transition into what it's gonna transition into, and we'll have live shows again. And I'm sure there's gonna be a lot of new music coming, 'cause most musicians are writing new stuff right now, and that's exciting to me."
Last month, METALLICA drummer Lars 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."
Asked what the differences would be between making a "normal" METALLICA album and a quarantine album, Ulrich said: "So far, at least the sonic side of it and the practical elements are in surprisingly good shape, actually. So now we've just gotta figure out how much we can create without being in the same space. The difference, obviously, between bands like ourselves and people that are still bands, like the U2s of the world or the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS or COLDPLAY or IRON MAIDEN or whatever is that you really are bands, and you rely on the group format to really move everything forward. So unlike if you're a solo artist and it's just you and your guitar or whatever. So it's a different thing."
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.
METALLICA has been largely out of the public eye since last fall when the band canceled an Australian tour and announced that frontman James Hetfield was returning to rehab for the first time since 2002 to battle his addictions.
In March, METALLICA announced that its South American tour, which was originally planned for April, was postponed until December. In addition, the band's appearances at four Danny Wimmer Presents-produced festivals in May and September were canceled: Epicenter in Charlotte, Welcome To Rockville in Daytona, Sonic Temple in Columbus and Louder Than Life in Louisville.