5 Questions With Clutch’s Neil Fallon: New Album ‘Psychic Warfare’ + More
Clutch are releasing their brand new album Psychic Warfare, and we had the opportunity to chat with frontman Neil Fallon about the band's new music. Fallon dug into the writing process and discussed how he has evolved as a musician and person over the years. Check out our interview with vocalist Neil Fallon of Clutch below:
Talk about what the title Psychic Warfare means to you?
The phrase “psychic warfare” comes from the chorus in “X-Ray Visions” and it kind of encapsulated the mood for the record. I see it as a series of chapters about wrestling with reality and unreality and questioning the sometimes fuzzy border between the two.
Where did you draw lyrical inspiration from on this new release?
It’s different for each song. I do keep a grab bag of ideas but ideally a riff will evoke a mood and that mood -- it’s my job to flush out the words to describe it. For example, the mood in “Our Lady of Electric Light,” when I heard the tempo, it was kind melancholy and it certainly couldn’t have been about driving a fast car. It sounded like a dark barroom to me. For the last song we wrote, “A Quick Death in Texas,” that’s one I didn’t have the lyrics for until the very end. I was in Texas at a small stone cabin that I found by way of Air BnB. It was beautiful and rustic but it was a bit of an uncomfortable environment for me because I’m an East Coast suburban guy. I think that environment definitely brought the inspiration for the words. Had we been recording in Weehawken again, that wouldn’t have been the lyrics to that song.
How was the overall recording and creative process for you on this album?
In some regards it was easy because we did it so quickly after Earth Rocker that we had a lot of momentum. We basically went on our whole world tour for a year and a half and then we immediately started writing. At the same time that presented some issues, for me at least at the beginning worrying about, “Should this be different than Earth Rocker? Should we just go with our gut?” and overthinking it way too much. I realized when we wrote Earth Rocker we weren’t thinking about it in those terms so why would we think about this one in those terms and we just made another record.
Clutch have been a band for more than 20 years. What about who you are now as a musician and person can we hear on this brand new album?
I think I spend a lot of years kind of adverse to the idea of melody and pitch. Coming from a background that was maybe more centered around hardcore and punk rock, the idea of melody and pitch sounded like a commercial endeavor and then I realized that, that was kind of an immature attitude. I have slowly been trying to teach myself those things as well as guitar. I think everyone in the band considers themselves as students. That’s the only way you can continue to grow and be challenged. Also, I think I learned that it’s easier night after night to sing lyrics that are stories rather than emotionally driven diary entries which you get a lot of on our very first record. I’m not that 19-year-old angst ridden kid anymore and if I had to sing those songs every night, it would be faking it.
No doubt you guys will be touring heavily in promotion of Psychic Warfare. What is one non-electronic item you must bring on tour with you?
[Laughs] I bring an acoustic guitar. I also bring an old fashioned analog pad and paper. It’s easier to jot ideas down. The other thing I bring would be a rhyming dictionary which is sort of my bible.
Our thanks to Neil Fallon of Clutch for the interview. Be sure to pick up the new album 'Psychic Warfare' via iTunes!
Watch Clutch's Video for 'Psychic Warfare'