On February 27, 2009, Swigged! conducted an interview with vocalist/guitarist Matt Pike and drummer Des Kensel of Oakland, California's HIGH ON FIRE. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Swigged!: So there are talks of an upcoming album in 2009. Considering anyone special for the producer slot?
Matt Pike: Oh we've definitely talked about it. Jack [Endino] is definitely up on the list. We couldn't NOT consider Albini, of course. And also there's Kurt from CONVERGE. We're brainstorming about the way we want this thing to go before deciding.
Swigged!: Has the writing for the album been going any differently?
Des Kensel: It's been hard. We're always trying to challenge ourselves and do better.
Matt Pike: Exactly — so we're getting more intricate in our song writing and actual playing. Some of it is rudimentary — not as difficult as it seems — but at the same time there is complicated chord work, key changes, and other really cool things. It's been going good — we're leaning on the whole BLACK SABBATH kind of thing.
Swigged!: How have you been able to draw from your experiences working with greats such as Albini and Endino?
Matt Pike: It's going to definitely help us more when we're actually recording than anywhere else. There are different sounds you can get — clean, dirty, close-up sounds. You can get cave-like sounds, like you're on the side of a mountain. There are just so many things you can do, and all the producers we've worked with just have a different style and a different way of showing it. It's taught us how to mic things a certain way to get what we want to hear. It's all still an experiment; you never know what you're going to come up with when you have that much experience behind you.
Swigged!: What kind of sound is the band going to be aiming for?
Matt Pike: Don't know yet — we're working on that. It's a secret.
Des Kensel: The HIGH ON FIRE sound.
Swigged!: Is there anything that you wish you could have done on the previous albums that you want to try in this upcoming one?
Matt Pike: The last record was an emotional rollercoaster — we went up and down and up and down. This one, so far of what we have, is emotionally uplifting but still dark. It difficult to explain, but it will definitely grab your attention.
Swigged!: This will be your first record with Koch. What were your reasons for parting with Relapse? How has that transition been going?
Des Kensel: It really has only just started.
Matt Pike: That's totally right. It had to do with us bettering ourselves as a band and taking that next step. Realizing what is good for us does not mean it's always in the interests of Relapse or another label. It's definitely not a personal thing but we need to step up and do something bigger because we're getting bigger.
Des Kensel: Koch just got this new guy, Scott. He used to do stuff for Combat Records way back — so he's sort of a metal dude. Koch has a lot of hip-hop so I think by signing us they're trying to branch out. They just made us an offer we couldn't refuse.
Matt Pike: It's not like we're getting rich off it, but it's fair.
Read the entire interview from Swigged!