The Great Metal Debate conducted an interview with vocalist Eric "A.K." Knutson and guitarist Michael Gilbert of veteran Arizona metallers FLOTSAM AND JETSAM prior to their June 1 concert at Tiger Room in Louisville, Kentucky. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On their latest studio album, "The End Of Chaos":
Michael: "We don't ever really have a thought process. We don't think it out before we do it. We just start doing it. We start writing songs, as many songs as we can. If we can come up with good riffs and send them over to A.K., and he feels he can make a chorus and a strong verse on the song, that goes in the first slot, then we keep doing that until we have ten songs or more. Then we start pushing the weaker ones out. There's never like a concept thing going on."
On FLOTSAM AND JETSAM mixing thrash with power metal on "The End Of Chaos":
Eric: "I think it comes from years of experience of writing. These guys leave me a lot of room to put some vocals into a song. They leave me space to create some melodic choruses and stuff like that, where a lot of bands, they just write the most intricate, fast stuff they can, and there's really no room for vocals. When you've been doing it a long time, you learn where to lay back a little bit, leave room for vocals, lay back a little bit to leave room for a solo. It becomes a part of professionalism, I think."
On how Knutson takes care of his voice:
Eric: "Only recently, the last few years I've been thinking about, 'You've gotta take care of your voice. You can't be doing this. You can't be doing that before shows.' My whole career, I've always had a big 'S' on my chest. I can sing anything anytime, drunk, sober — it doesn't matter. But when you get into your mid-50s, you got to think about being a little more professional about things and take care of yourself a little bit. But a lot of singers warm up before a show. I look at it as my whole career has been a warm-up for where I'm at now."
On how the material from "The End Of Chaos" is mixing into the band's live setlist:
Michael: "It seems to be mixing in pretty good. People know the words. That's unexpected, because usually new material, people don't want to hear it, the majority of the audience doesn't want to hear it; they want to hear the classic stuff. We're doing four new ones and they're all going over spectacularly well. We couldn't ask for a better response."
On balancing playing new material while acknowledging their past:
Eric: "We, of course, want to be pushing our new record. We pick as many new songs as we think we can get away with it, but there are some classics we have to play. People get angry if there are a couple songs that we don't put into the set. They're just gonna be, 'I'm not gonna come see you guys next time. You didn't play my favorite.' We've got a lot of songs to choose from; it's really hard to come up with a set that pleases everybody. We mix what we know with what people want to hear with what we love to play and try to get a mix in the set."
"The End Of Chaos" was released in January via AFM Records.