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What were the main guitars you used when you were recording?
Max: “I took my ’81 Les Paul Custom and my ’85 ES-335 and a ’77 SG. Then I actually bought a new 335 while we were over there. It was one of the Chris Cornell ES-335s with the Lollar pickups in it, and as soon as we plugged it in, it was so different to my ’85 335. It had more balls to it, and I wound up using that for half of the record.”
Chris: “In the past, it’s been Gibsons with big strings – beefy stuff. Whereas this time, the main guitar I used was my Custom Shop Strat, which is a ’50s Relic – and it sounded amazing. I brought five guitars with me, including my signature Ibanez, which sounded great. Then my ’56 Custom Shop Strat, a ’63 Jazzmaster and I used one of Neal’s Strats with two humbuckers and a coil-tap.”
Max: “We also had Neal’s Telecaster and a Danelectro Baritone.”
Chris: “Again, it was a lot of new gear that I’ve always been scared of using because I’m really into older stuff, but it really pulled through.”
Could you have made this record anywhere else?
Chris: “I’d say no. I wanted to record in the UK because we’d had such a bad experience last time, but I think the whole atmosphere and where we were recording and where we were living – you can really tell how positive it was by how the record feels.”
Max: “I almost think it started from the minute we finished Reading and Leeds in 2012. We had our Wembley show and then we went to the Doghouse in Henley and spent five weeks in pre-production there, one week at a time. We’d left our management, we’d left our record label and it was like, ‘Why are we doing this?’ That really started the bonding in the band again. It was like, ‘Let’s just have some fun and be great mates.’”
Was the goal with this album always to go to number one?
Max: “There have been a few targets with this record and number one with Cavalier Youth was the first benchmark, but I’m not going to turn into Billy Big Bollocks because we’ve done it. We want to show why we’re worthy of being where we are today – that we’re not just a small rock band from Surrey anymore. We’ve been doing this for eight years.”
Do you feel you’ve been overlooked in the past? Is this a vindication?
Chris: “Yeah, it’s showing people that you can’t ignore us anymore.”
Max: “Bands like Muse and Biffy Clyro really hold the torch for UK rock acts. It’s like, ‘If they can do it, why can’t others?’ If you look at the best rock acts of all time, a fucking lot of them are from the UK, and it’s about time there was a new wave internationally.”
Chris: “I like being the underdog, though. I like seeing idiots walk around with huge egos after being on TV and they’ll go play to 500 people. Then it’s like, ‘Ah, well, we’re just going to do Wembley. See you in a bit!’”