Drop-D recently sat down for an interview with SAINT VITUS guitarist Dave Chandler, who talks about the band’s decision to make “Lillie: F-65”, their upcoming album and first recording since 1995’s “Die Healing”.
This new album, Lillie: F-65, has obviously been highly anticipated for many years. Did you ever feel any pressure at all in writing?
Well, yeah because it had been a long time since I had tried to write something and I really wanted to make it modern but at the same time I wanted it to sound like an old Vitus record without exactly copying myself. I wanted the old fans to like it because I don’t like it when a band does a reunion and puts out a new album and it doesn’t sound like they used to. So the pressure was on for that. I wasn’t really sure with my state of mind, I’m older now. I don’t know if I can get the same feeling with it. But once we started, it just flowed, it was kind of like riding a bicycle and everything came back relatively smoothly. I had a little bit of trouble with the lyrics but I got through that. It came out well, we’re all happy with it.
What was it like recording with this line-up again for the first time in so long, particularly having Wino back on vocals?
Actually, we knew the songs so it went really smooth. The recording didn’t take very long at all, which was good because that enabled us to take time on the mixing. It was really cool and weird being in the studio. I had been in the studio with Debris Inc. but it was a long time since I was in there with Mark (Adams, bass). Everybody just snapped right back together, right away.
Overall, how long did it take, from when writing began until getting to the finished product?
A couple of years ago we ended up writing the song Blessed Night while we were on the road. The process kind of started then, I guess. When we started playing that song, the crowd started asking us afterwards, is that a song from the new album? It started us thinking that maybe we should do another record. The actual writing process took maybe a year of getting everything down. Then when we went into the studio, it only took us about 10 days to record it and mix it.
You played with Henry Vasquez in Debris Inc., and now he’s behind the drum kit full time in Saint Vitus. What was it that made him the right fit for Saint Vitus?
He was our final drummer with Debris Inc. and we were doing Vitus songs in the encore. He already knew those songs and we had to get somebody fast because we had, in 2009, to do Hellfest in France. We didn’t have time to even try to get anybody else. I didn’t really want anyone because I knew he was able to do the job without a problem so Mark and Wino trusted me. He fit in really, really well. So he was an easy pick and as soon as we did that show, there was no reason to listen to anybody else.
How does he get along with everyone? How is he fitting into the band?
Yeah, everyone gets along great with him. He’s a good guy, if something needs to be done, he’ll volunteer to do it even though it’s not really his job. He just likes to be involved. He adds a lot of dynamic to the band in his style of playing that wasn’t there before that’s brought out a little more aggression in us.
Tell us a little bit about the new album’s title, Lille: F-65. What does it mean?
It has different meanings. I wanted it to be kind of a puzzle for the fans so that people can draw their own conclusions. With the artwork having the girl strapped into the bed, some people will think she’s Lillie, or if you were to take it literally, it’s a drug. I wanted it to make people think and wonder, what does this mean? Apparently it’s working because everybody I’ve talked to has asked that question. There’s a lot of different ways you can take it. When people get the actual album, the artwork on the inside that goes with each song really helps add clues to the puzzle.
Is there an underlying concept to this new album?
There is an underlying concept. The songs kind of lead that way. When I was writing them I didn’t really think about it but once I got it done, I was figuring out what order we’re going to put these in, it kind of revealed itself to me. It goes right with the pictures and the art and everything. When people see the pictures on the inside they’ll go “oh, ok”.
This album has been a long time coming and fans seem to respond quite well since you returned. Do you see more albums in the future and some longevity with Saint Vitus?
Right now we’re just taking it step by step to see how people respond to [the new album]. There would be no reason not to because when you’re constantly playing you get a lot of ideas. We’re not going to say yes or no now. There are a lot of people talking about the record so hopefully it will live up to everybody’s expectations.
SAINT VITUS – “Let Them Fall” video: