Serpentine Dominion are currently gearing up to release their first full-length self-titled album. Legendary drummer Shannon Lucas very kindly put down his sticks for a moment to answer a few questions about the project.
Thanks to Andy at Metal Blade for organising and Shannon for his time :)
So far the response to the first “teaser” track we’ve released has been nothing short of amazing. Majority of the feedback I’ve read online has been focused on the fact that this project was first rumoured like 5 years ago and many people assumed it wasn’t gonna actually happen or had forgot about it. Then followed by a “worth the wait” or something similar :P This is the first time folks have been able to hear Adam write/play some fast and extreme music and George do an album outside of Cannibal Corpse in a years. I’m really happy to hear people are digging it.
I gather that this project has been in the making for quite a few years now. Aside from everyone being really busy, was there any of other factor that caused the album to be so delayed?
Well since this project had no real time line, we were able to take our time getting it written. Between Killswitch, Cannibal, and Black Dahlia touring and writing their own material this put Serpentine Dominion in slo-mo. Once we had enough material to record I coordinated some time with Adam in Massachusetts to get drum tracks done. Another variable is that Adam engineered and mixed this record so he had a lot to do with limited time. Luckily Jesse Leach stepped in and took over the lyric writing. This gave the project great lyrical direction and enabled George to just focus on singing when he had time to track.
What’s it been like working with Corpsegrinder and Adam D on this album? Was there anyone else you’d have liked to have included?
It’s complete honor to be able to play on an album with George and Adam. I’ve toured with both of them a hand full of times over the years and have always looked up to both of them. I mean, I had some old Cannibal albums on Cassette and I’m pretty sure I had Killswitch’s album Alive or Just Breathing signed at some point. Adam had recorded me before back in the All That Remains days so I was already comfortable recording with him and knew he’d get the best performance out of me that I could muster up. When they asked me if I wanted to be a part of this project I first though “you guys could literally have anybody play on this!”. So of course I will. I honestly like that it has stayed a three piece project. I can’t really imagine it any other way.
Jeese Leach penned the lyrics for this album. What made you guys decide to use him rather than write the lyrics in-house?
Lyric writing and direction is something we discussed and figured we would cross that bridge when we got there. When the time came closer to get George penciled in to record we had to make a decision. Adam and I agreed that neither of us were word smiths and didn’t think our attempt would do the songs and or George justice. George was also busy with Cannibal at the time and writing lyrics for this whole album wasn’t in the cards so Adam reached out to Jesse to see if he wanted to help us out. Jesse told me he had fun writing for this as it was a lot faster and more extreme than he was used to. I really like his writing style and am very proud that he was a part of this. So in a sense we kept it in the family.
As far as drums are concerned I brought my setup to Massachusetts with me. I used a similar configuration on almost everything I’ve recorded since 2007. This kit was a Tama Starclassic Birch/Bubinga. Two kicks, tom sizes ranging from 8, 10, 12, and 16″ toms. A 14″ Tama Starclassic copper snare. I have an assortment of Zildjian cymbals which are mixed with different series like A custom, K hybrid hi-hats, power bell ride and so on. Evans drum heads, Vic Firth Extreme 5AN sticks, and Axis pedals. I prefer smaller rack toms as they have more of distinct note and cut through so well with faster material. I also really like the combination of Evans G2 clear drum heads on my toms and the G1 clear on the bottom. I feel like most drums have a head combination and specific note they want to be tuned to which let them sing.
If this album does well, are there any plans for a follow up?
So far we’ve been focusing on just getting this album to the finish line to release. There hasn’t been any real discussion on a potential follow-up but I imagine if it does well and time permits, then anything is possible. Sometimes there’s something powerful about a band that releases one album with something to say and that’s it. I guess time will tell.
Have you any plans to tour with this band or is it going to be a solely studio band?
For now this has just been discussed as a studio project and no talk of touring has come up. I imagine with everyone’s busy schedules and primary commitments that touring might not be very practical. Again, I think we’ve just been trying to focus on getting this album released first and then focus on the other stuff when the time comes.
And finally, what advice would you give to a band that’s just starting out in the metal scene?
The only universal advice I can give anyone trying to build a presence in the metal scene is practice, practice, practice. Don’t worry about being or sounding like anyone else. Find your thing and do it the best that you can. Above all, do it because you love it. Don’t worry about getting signed and becoming a big touring band. If it happens awesome, if it doesn’t you’re still playing music because it’s fun and it feels good.
Serpentine Dominion’s self-titled album is released on October 28th via Metal Blade Records.