Red Line Chemistry Singer Brett Ditgen Discusses New Album, Tour + State of Rock
It was just a few months ago that Red Line Chemistry released their latest song 'Unspoken,' the first single off of their upcoming album. Before hitting the studio to record the rest of the record, Red Line Chemistry decided to hit the road and on July 12, kicked off a brief, country-wide summer tour.
While somewhere on the road in Oregon, lead singer Brett Ditgen checked in with Loudwire to catch fans up on the status of their third studio album, share his thoughts on the state of rock 'n' roll and even discuss the legal situation that still surrounds Lamb of God's Randy Blythe.
Red Line Chemistry recently hit the road. How is the tour going?
We're about a week into it. We played Seattle last night. We started in Boise then hit Spokane and Portland. Spokane is big for us. We headlined a sold-out show there. It's going good so far. We haven't toured for like a year because we've been at home working on the record. Last fall we put out an acoustic EP, so now we're getting back out on the road for the first time in quite awhile. We're just getting acclimated, you know? We've had some changes in the crew. Our tour manager, well, we've already kicked him off after just three shows. We're managing ourselves for the time being. It's all going fine, we're used to it. We've spent plenty of time in the van doing it by ourselves.
What's the status of the new album?
We've got two songs recorded. The first single 'Unspoken' was released late spring. Recording the rest of the album is probably going to happen in late August, early September. We've been working with new producers on this one, Nick Raskulinecz and Matt Hyde. Nick, he's worked on the last two Rush albums, the last two Deftones albums, the last two Alice in Chains albums. He's actually working with Chains right now, so we're just basically sitting and waiting. After he's finished with that, we'll get in and finish our record. We're hoping to have it out by late fall.
Is all the writing done for the record?
Yeah, we finished all the writing and are just trying to get everything scheduled. A guy of Nick's caliber is pretty busy, so we're just kind of kicking back, trying to work things out. Originally we were going to get in the studio in April, but it didn't work out because he was starting with the Deftones and then Chains. So we put together this tour; it's good to get back out on the road. We wanted to have a little fun and then we'll get in and record at the end of the summer.
'Unspoken' is a great track. It's got some heaviness to it. Is that single a good representation of what fans can expect from the album as a whole?
I think so. You'll definitely hear some different tones. We tried some lower tunings and heavier sounds. You know, more epic and melodic stuff. Overall, when I think of the cohesive sound of the record, 'Unspoken' is a good representation of where the music is going. I think it still has our feel, but we've kind of gelled as a group a little bit more. We toured for a couple of years on our last record 'Dying for a Living,' so we were able to get some good national exposure. When we came back into the studio, we just had a better chemistry, pun intended. The writing process was pretty cool this time. We had a lot more time to let the songs breathe and refine them. When Nick and Matt came into the process they became kind of members of the band, you know? They threw out their suggestions and just helped fine-tune the songs. We wrote a ton of stuff and there will be a lot that doesn't make the record. A lot of the songs turned out completely different than we originally intended, but we're stoked to get in and record and get it out to the fans.
How was the writing process with this album different than 'Dying for a Living?'
With 'Dying for a Living,' we had just signed the record deal, you know? We just quit our jobs and moved into the studio. We recorded it in Kansas City with our good friend Wes [West], and we kind of just had carte blanche to do whatever we wanted. We got in and started writing, but there wasn't a lot of time to think about songs in the way we were able to on this record. We spent probably 10 months on these new songs and only like three months on the last record. We were just kind of thrown into it. It was our first opportunity to do it for real and do it on a national level. But this time around, we get to work with Nick who is a relevant producer right now. We're getting new perspectives and growing in new ways by collaborating with new people who bring new ideas into the mix. It pushed us harder this time, whereas the last record we'd write the songs and that was basically it. This time, there was a lot more criticism on our songs, you know, coming from Nick. We had to trust him and it worked out. It was hard and it was humbling. Some songs we loved and in the end they didn't get selected for the record.
So when you hit the studio, are you recording in Kansas City again?
No, the first two tunes we did in Los Angeles. We're going to finish the rest when Nick goes home to Nashville. This tour will route us to the East coast and then we might go home for a week or two and then we'll head to Nashville.
You're from Kansas City, you've recorded in Kansas City. What's your opinion of the rock scene in Kansas City?
After we recorded 'Dying for a Living,' we kind of just disappeared. You know, we did do a lot of shows for 98.9 The Rock, so we'd come home to Kansas City every few months. But since we were on the road for so long, we kind of got out of the loop. Being home for the last year, we got back in and we've seen some of the bands in the area. From what I can tell, the scene is doing really well. The bands are all supportive of each other. There's a good positive energy that I hadn't seen in awhile. There will always a hint of competitive nature, but after being home for a bit, it seems like the rock scene is doing really well. It seems like there is a lot of support behind it, as opposed to some other cities where it seems like nothing is going on.
What do you think of the state of rock and roll in general?
Well, it's really, really, really difficult for an up-and-coming band anywhere. We're learning that first-hand. The attention spans are so short and the market is so saturated, so competitive. Radio is a difficult game, too. It's really a grind, but it's just a matter of being out here and being foot soldiers and trying to get in front of people. But the state of rock? There's some new stuff that I like, I think it's still alive. But we just played Portland and that is such a rad city, man. There is so much energy in that city, but they don't even have a rock station. KUFO used to support us and they were behind us and then they flipped. It's really hard to go back to places like that that don't have a rock station. That stuff is really sad. That happens all over. These big cities, where are the rock radio stations?
Because it's the top story in rock right now, I've got to ask your opinion on the Randy Blythe situation.
I haven't read too much into it. When I see something like that I immediately think of Dimebag [Darrell]. You want everyone to have a good experience and everybody to be safe, but musicians onstage are real vulnerable. Dimebag is a perfect example. You know, I don't know what happened. I don't know if Randy did what he had to do or if he felt uncomfortable or if it was just an accident. That stuff is hard to judge. It certainly seems very unfortunate on both sides.