Drowning Pool – Across The Ocean

Drowning Pool

Heavy hitters from Dallas, Texas Drowning Pool are heading back to Australia for their own headline tour this July. Fans have been waiting fourteen years for a return after playing the 2002 Big Day Out tour. If that wasn’t enough their sixth studio album Hellelujah is out now. Across The Ocean got to speak to main man C. J. Pierce ahead of the upcoming tour.


Does it feel like sweet relief that the new album Hellelujah finally finished and ready for the world to enjoy?

Man I appreciate that, I think I feel the most satisfied as any album I’ve put out. The whole thing behind Helleujah is that we went in to this record playing what we wanted to play and we blocked out the record label’s management, locked those fuckers out and do whatever we wanted to do and that comes through on the record.

Does it get harder as you work through each album?

Not so much with this band man! Not so much with Drowning Pool! With every single record and every situation we have had like changes in record label, changes in management, change singers and every time we put out a record we get hit with something else. A lot of those things would have destroyed other bands and broken bands up. We just take things with a grain of salt and keep on keeping on. A lot of that has influenced our records and every one of our records sounds different. Plus I’m a fan of Led Zeppelin and with each of their records they tried different stuff and different styles of music. For us we wanted to put out a metal record and that’s exactly what we did.

Given all the things that have happened to Drowning Pool are you amazed by the band’s resilience and ability to continually bounce back?

Yeah man! We’re resilient! We’re still in it, we’re still playing music, loving metal and rock ‘n roll. We are thankful we’re still in it, still doing it and plugging away. Our album Resilience with Jason Moreno was about us finding each other and we found the right guy then here it is on Helleujah which comes out even more.

Were the ideas for Helleujah fairly well constructed and bedded down before going in to the studio?

This record was written in parts whereas with the Resilience record we jumped back in there to write more songs then we toured a bit on that record, had some time off and wrote more songs. We also re-released the Sinner record to commemorate the thirteenth anniversary and we got to play that record in its entirety and toured on that, then came back and finished off Helleujah. For me personally a lot of that came through in those songs by being influenced by this writing style I had when we did the Sinner record.

I’m happy about that as well as that had a major influence on Helleujah. All of us write and bring stuff to the table and at the beginning we all come up with ideas of our own but it isn’t until we get in to the room as a band then all four of us get together putting it all together then it becomes a Drowning Pool song.

Is there much heated debate about songs and ideas that everyone brings to the table?

At the beginning of each record when the first songs start coming to the table things always become a bit heated. We have a ton of ideas on the table and the challenge becomes that we have so many ideas that we like how do we narrow down the songs we want to put on the record. There are definitely moments when it gets heated and I think especially on this record we found that ideal communication where you’re passionate about a part versus being a complete you know, being an arse about certain situations.

We definitely have better communication now but I do respect the fact that everyone in the band is very passionate and because of that passion there have been many heated arguments. Coming in to the recording process for Helleujah we found each time we were in the studio we were on the same page. It was probably one of my most favourite recording experiences ever, we were all ready to go, the songs were all laid out and it was smooth sailing after that especially working with Jason Suecof.

Did that mean you go just go in to the studio and smash it out quickly?

For us on this record it took about three months and probably was the longest process. The reason for that is on every other record we have ever done, most bands lock themselves in the studio and record for two or three months whereas we were playing shows every weekend. We would record Monday through to Thursday and fly out Friday to play a show. The recording took place over the summer and playing shows every weekend. A lot of the new songs we played live and that gave us a mental break from the studio because recording can get monotonous and can lose sight of what you’re trying to accomplish there. I think a lot of that affected the Helleujah record.

Playing those new songs live, did that give you valuable feedback and did you go back to the drawing board to revisit some songs?

Everything was nothing but one hundred percent positive. We played a couple of shows with Slayer in the States. If Slayer fans start jumping around with new songs we were going down a metal path and we would be ok. There has been nothing but positive feedback the whole time which has been awesome especially in today’s world with the internet where everybody can say whatever the hell they want to say and spin all sorts of trash.

What do you do with the songs and other ideas you have left over?

There are a lot of songs left over but I constantly write. Even though there are songs left over we have to keep moving forward with new ideas. There might be a couple of songs that might shine through. Like with every record there are one or two new songs that had ideas from before that didn’t make it but shine through. As from now, the vibe of this record and the direction we are going in and I have some foreshadow of where we should go… I’m already on it, writing new songs.

How would you compare Helleujah with Resilience?

There are a lot of factors involved in this record. I was really happy with that record but we got Jason in January and built this record in three months, recorded with him from April to June and started touring in July. We kind of just jumped on it with Jason with song writing and recording before we even played a show. Three years later after touring and releasing the Sinner record and having all sorts of crazy, crazy, crazy adventures with Jason the music business has changed a lot. Personal stuff everyone gets hit with as well.

Did the whole digital consumption of music focus weigh in to your thoughts about how Helleujah would be released?

I think it pushed me backwards a bit because I’m a fan of listening to records all the way through. Some of my favourite records are ones I play front to back. We’re definitely focused on the big song, the big single and that was something that was happening in the fifties with guys like Elvis who would put out one song and tour on that. I still always like a record to be its own thing front to back almost like a concept type thing and I think we accomplished that with Helleujah. It isn’t really focused on one song, none of us picked songs or had a focus track or a single if you will. Again, we would write what we wanted to write and that’s the type of record we put out.

How good is the artwork?

That was Brian Mercer all the way man! We had gave him the songs and asked him to do what he feels. He was coming back with a lot of different ideas as well but as soon as he sent that skull over we said you got it man! Thank Brian, frigging amazing… the coolest artwork we have ever had.


DROWNING POOL Australian & New Zealand Tour Dates

Sunday 24th July Auckland – Kings Arms

Tuesday 26th July Adelaide – The Gov

Thursday 28th July Brisbane – Max Watts

Friday 29th July Sydney – Manning Bar

Saturday 30th July Melbourne – Max Watts

Sunday 31st July Perth – Capitol

Rob Lyon

Rob Lyon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rob Lyon has been writing about all things music for well over ten years in Adelaide clocking up more live shows each year seeing the best going round.

Whether it is rummaging through vinyl at record stores such as Clarity and Title finding hidden gems to scouring the internet to find that album by the next big thing or chasing bands to get that elusive autograph and photo his passion is music all the way.
Rob Lyon

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