For SUM 41 fans, it probably seems like Screaming Bloody Murder—the band’s long-awaited fifth album—has been in the works forever. It was early in 2009 when frontman DERYCK WHIBLEY revealed that the EP they had been writing and recording songs for would likely become a full-length, and in the time since then, the album was repeatedly pushed. Now that the follow-up to 2007’s Underclass Hero is about to be unleashed, Whibley says it doesn’t matter whether Screaming Bloody Murder lives up to anyone’s expectations—because it already exceeded those of the members.
Your new album, Screaming Bloody Murder, is finally set to be released on March 29. How long did the actual recording process take?
It took about three-and-a-half years. We never intended to “make a record.” It all kind of happened by accident. We just felt like if we have a song here or there, we just set up in my living room and record. Then, six months later, we would have another song. It was never really recording an album—it was sort of a “right timing” type of thing. After a while, we were like, "Oh shit, we have an album now." I can't really remember a lot of it because it took place during such a big time span. It was all recorded at different houses. It was really unpredictable.
So would you say it was more like a collection of songs than a traditional album?
That's the way it was—a collection of songs. But luckily, [it turned out to be] very cohesive. It's very much an album—more so than anything we've ever done. I don't ever listen to just an individual song [from it]. I just play it from track 1 to 14. It was kind of just a luck thing the way it turned out.
You actually had to pay some of the recording costs out of your own pocket, didn't you?
It got to a point where it was going on for so long, and everyone was kind of just freaking out. We were in this neverending process, and I had a few songs I knew had to be on this record. The label said, "No, you aren't getting any more money for this album. It's over. Hand it in.” We said, "No, it's not over. Fuck you. We’ll pay for it ourselves.”
So would you guys say you had complete control over this album?
This whole record was done so wrong and backward in many ways. We don't care what the label thinks of it or if it gets bad reviews. We don't care if it's on the radio or not. People just trash it. At the end of the day, the only thing we care about is playing live and going on tour. Fortunately enough for us, things are bigger and better [for us] than they've ever been. Once we realized we have this fanbase—and the fact that our tours have been selling out more than ever—we kind of had the freedom to just say, "fuck you" to everybody.
What do you have to say to the people who want you to write another All Killer, No Filler?
They think they want that, but it's not necessarily what they really want. They want to be taken back to a certain period of time or feeling in their life they associate with a certain record. I can’t write the same song twice. Whatever I write is what comes out. If I try to write a song like another song from our past, I wouldn't have any ideas and couldn't finish it. I don't even feel like I have any control over what I write. Where songs come from is weird. I don't always know why I'm writing about what I'm writing about. I want to be able to create new feelings and new music.
Right, that's why there’s nostalgia.
Yeah, when I wrote “Fat Lip,” I never tried to write a song like that. It just happened. It's a similar process with the new songs. I pick up a guitar and see what comes out. You either have an idea or you don't. I only pick up the guitar if I have an idea.
How would you describe the album?
It goes up and down, kind of like a ride. It has a lot of unexpected parts and it's more dynamic than anything we've ever done. alt