Interview: SOil Break Down Latest Album ‘Whole’ Track by Track

Photo by Stephanie Cabral

Photo by Stephanie Cabral

In September, hard rockers SOiL will hit the road with Tantric in support of their latest album, 2013′s Whole, which marked the return of original lead singer Ryan McCombs. In anticipation of the tour, McCombs and bassist-vocalist Tim King sat down with Revolver to look back on their last record and break it down track by track.

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“Loaded Gun”
TIM KING This is actually the first song we put together with the return of Ryan on vocals. It set the pace for the return of the original formula yet entirely new writing process. It seemed only fitting to make it the first song on the album. It’s one of my favorite songs vocally and the guitar noise in the chorus really makes this song come to life.
RYAN McCOMBS Being that it was the first song, it was nice that it came together as well as it did. It set the pace for the rest of the writing process. The “original formula” being the three of us back together and to quote Tim again, the “new writing process” was there because a lot of aspects of this body of material came together sending files back and forth over the internet since Tim and Adam live in Chicago, Illinois, and at the time I lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I was familiar with this process as it is how we put together the majority of the material for the two studio albums I had previously done with Drowning Pool, the ‘Full Circle’ and self-titled CDs.

“The Hate Song”
KING This was a song that came together very quickly when we were at a rehearsal one day. It’s a pretty basic song musically, but lyrically it delivers hook after hook. It is definitely one of those songs that keeps your attention from beginning to end.
McCOMBS It was funny actually, Adam was doodling around on his guitar waiting for Mitch, our touring drummer, to finish setting up and he just started playing this annoying harmonic that made you want to punch someone in their eye hole. I told him to keep playing on it cause the stupid noise pissed me off so bad. In a matter of 10-15 minutes later, “The Hate Song” was born.

“Ugly”
KING This was our “experimental” song. Ryan treads new territory vocally in the chorus delivery, while the music is very aggressive and has a very dark and moody feel to it. I used bass distortion in all the verses, and Adam layered the guitars four times on the tracks for extra saturation.
McCOMBS The pre-chorus to this song is by far one of my favorite moments on the entire CD. Every line of lyric and music is a punch driving you to the ground in the first half of it. The next half is the process of rising back to your feet in the shadow of that fist and breaking every finger that makes it a fist without raising your own. It is a moment of empowering fuel to me. I hope it comes out that way to others.

“Way Gone”
KING This was a song that almost got cut from making the album in the demo process. We decided to keep it because we liked the flow of it and the chorus vocals. In the end, it turned out to be my personal favorite song on the album.
McCOMBS Hated it! Every writing process has a song or three that just avoid my grasp lyrically. This was one of them. Then about five minutes past the 12th hour, it popped. With that said, it is one of my dearest friends favorite songs as she is very familiar what this past year has been like for me in my personal life.

“Psychopath”
KING This was actually the last song to be written for the album and was written two weeks before we went into the studio to record. Adam came to us with all the parts and Ryan nailed the vocals very quickly writing wise. We felt the album needed another fast song and this track fit the mold perfectly.
McCOMBS I think, without meaning to, this song filled a hole that we weren’t aware was even there. We were very happy with where we were material-wise. When I heard that tempo and that style it just reminded me of that change of pace and feel that certain songs provided the albums ‘Scars’ and ‘Redefine.’ It needed to be a part of this CD.

“Shine On”
KING This song lyrically was written by Ryan about the fans and supporters that have kept him alive and kicking all these years. It’s a “thank you” to all of them. It has become the first single for the new album. Ironically enough, it was not the band’s first choice for a lead single but the people that all heard the record in advance were blown away by the track and we decided to go with it.
McCOMBS Tim pretty much summed that all up. I’ll add that not only was it not the band’s first choice but probably not second or third. I would say it was probably my fifth or sixth. But I wasn’t going to argue as the response that it received from the team we put together only told me to be happy with it. If they love my fifth favorite this much, then we have done alright on this CD.

 “Wake Up”
KING This was another song that has that old SOiL feel but with some modern elements to it. We were deciding what to put in the bridge in the way of an effect or overdub of some sort and one drunken night called up our friend Mike Mushok of the band Staind and asked him to put a lead over it. He got it back to us in a few days and that filled the missing piece great!
McCOMBS Lyrically speaking, the title says it all… It’s about being trapped, swallowed up, feeling crippled in your own ability to control your own world. I have had to learn in the past year to not only open my eyes every morning but to truly wake up as well.

“Amalgamation”
KING This is a rather clever song on Ryan’s part lyrically. It takes various song titles from the songs he wrote with SOiL and his time spent in the band Drowning Pool.  He weaves the titles throughout the verses and bridge and makes for a very interesting listen of fans of Ryan’s time in both bands. This is also the SOiL classic “punk” type song. Much like the song “The One” off of the album ‘Scars’ or the song “Say You Will” of of the ‘Re.De.fine.’ album.
McCOMBS At some point, I think we will have to have a prize for whomever can come up with the correct number of references this song includes.

“My Time”
KING This was the first song we recorded with Ryan back on vocals since 2003. It was the first taste people got with the three of us back together again. The first mix was used for a sports event here in the states and made it’s way onto the album. We re-tracked a couple things and re-mixed the song as well. The original version is out there floating around on the internet as well.
McCOMBS I like American Football. To me, it’s chess on a field. Chess is like making your way through many aspects of life and “My Time” has no relation to any of these things and yet everything at the same time. What?

“Little Liar”
KING This song is actually the only song on the album with a different tuning. All the other songs are drop A# as to where this song is only a 1/2 step down in Eb. It definitely adds a great vibe to the album and gives a different feel to the album as a whole. I said “whole”… [Laughs]
McCOMBS Yeah…

“One Love”
KING This song actually came about when the three of us were sitting at my house and I played a riff I had recorded on an acoustic guitar for the guys. Adam added more riffs to it and we actually developed two different songs in one on this. The song starts off as a mid-paced rock song and develops into a world of chaos at the end.  Definitely the album closer!
McCOMBS Yes. Definitely a old school SOiL album closer. I remember when first I heard what Adam had come up with when he Frankensteined the two together. He asked me what I thought and after a long pause I just replied that I liked it. I had no fucking clue what I just listened to or what in the hell I was going to do with it but I knew that I liked it.

 

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