Shinedown have revealed tentative plans for their next album, with singer Brent Smith and bassist Eric Bass telling Springfield, Ill. radio station WQLZ they are shooting for an April 2018 release with the first single scheduled to hit radio in January.

"We started the sixth Shinedown record the middle of [this] January," Smith says in the interview, which can be heard in its entirety below. "We entered the process of writing in the studio. For us right now, we're gonna finish this run that we're doing, and then we're actually going back to the studio, and then we've got a couple of shows to take care of in August -- we finish up on Aug. 9 -- and then we're in Los Angeles recording for pretty much the rest of August. And then we've got three more shows to take care in September and then enter the studio again. Right now, we're working in Charleston, S.C."

Bass, who will be producing the new album, says that 17 songs have been written. "We feel really strongly about a handful of them that we feel certain that we like that will be either on the record or really close to it," explains the bassist. He adds that plans are in place to continue writing more while tracking the ones that have been written.

Earlier this year, the band talked about the upcoming effort potentially being a concept record, and now it's looking more and more like that may indeed come to pass.

"The thing about it is we're about 90 percent sure that it's gonna be a concept record," Smith says. "That's a very, very deep rabbit hole to go down, but I think we're ready to do it. The band's never done this before, and taking in that type of an atmosphere sonically is really taking an audience on a journey. We've always talked about our records being like a roller coaster, but this is a little bit more intense, 'cause there's a lot more themes involved and there's a storyline to be built and there's also actual characters. So that in and of itself kind of puts us in a really cool spot, because it allows us to be very creative."

This will mark the first time Bass has produced an entire Shinedown record, having previously only helmed the boards for individual tracks. Smith talked about the reason the bassist will be handling the duties as opposed to outside producers and engineers.

"Just because we've worked with a lot of producers and we've worked with a lot of engineers and we know a lot of producers and we know a lot of engineers, I personally don't think that anyone else could produce this next Shinedown record but Eric, and there's a lot of reasons why," he says. "Not only are we writing the songs together, and the band is as well, but we're going into it and there's a bit more of a trust factor involved between Barry [Kerch, drums] and Zach [Myers, guitar] and myself when it comes to Eric. Because, like he said, he produced 'Diamond Eyes,' he produced 'Cut the Cord,' he produced 'I'm Alive,' we've written tons of songs together. He knows exactly what he's doing and we're with each other 24-7 practically. And it was just time."

"He's ready to do it, and he's excited about doing it, and we're excited about the process of it being us four," Smith continues. "Of course, we'll work with a couple of engineers here and there. But, I mean, in a lot of ways, man, it's something that we get to do together, and it allows us to really, really focus on the sound of Shinedown and make sure that we're writing the most incredible material that we can come up with."

Shinedown are currenlty supporting their Threat to Survival album, which came out in 2015. The band's remaining tour dates for the year can be found here.

Hear Shinedown's Interview on 97.7 WQLZ

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