Metallica writing new material via Zoom during lockdown, says Lars Ulrich

With us all having to adapt to a dramatically changing world in the wake of COVID-19 it's seen video conferencing app Zoom become a household name. And musicians have been quick to sue it's potential with lockdown performances, and in the case of the biggest metal band in the world, writing sessions too.

"We have a weekly Zoom connect," Lars Ulrich revealed in an interview with Swedish talk show host Fredrik Skavla that you can watch above. "We've been doing that basically since [the coronavirus pandemic] started 10 [or] 11 weeks [ago] — since it started in America. 

"So we get together once a week on Zoom for a couple of hours and catch up," Lars added. "The good thing about that catching up is we really just talk about how we're doing and we don't sit and talk about Metallica for hours and hours. But now that we've started exchanging some ideas, it's great. It's nice to be in touch, it's nice to be part again of that group, and I look forward to the creative opportunities that lie ahead of us.

Before any of us get excited about the follow-up to 2017's Hardwired double opus, it's worth remembering that what Lars refers to as Metallica's "discovery mode" can take years. But the drummer sounds positive about this unexpected new way of writing for the four horsemen. 

"Now we've just gotta figure out how much we can create without being in the same space"

"So far, at least the sonic side of it and the practical elements are in surprisingly good shape, actually," elaborated Lars. "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."

For now we have Metallica's remote collaboration on an acoustic version of their classic …And Justice For All track Blackened to enjoy.

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.