Canadian rock band Sum 41 frontman Deryck Whibley jumped into the band’s latest record without thinking about it and embraced their love of heavy music.
Their latest and seventh studio album, Order in Decline, was written in just three weeks, and was inspired by their years of playing packed shows to loyal fans.
Creating a personal record
Sum 41 is set to rock the Clyde Theatre along with Broadside on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.
The band consists of five members including Whibley, lead guitarist Dave “Brownsound” Baksh, co-lead guitarist Tom Thacker, bassist Cone McCaslin, and drummer Frank Zummo.
Following their last tour, Whibley still felt energized and wanted to continue performing and playing music. He proceeded to produce and mix their next album in his home studio.
As the band started pre-production and making demos themselves, they got to the point where they weren’t sure what else a producer could add.
“Originally, I’d just made some rough mixes to pass on, but once I played them to people, everyone was like, ‘This sounds finished, you don’t need to involve anyone else,’” Whibley said in an interview with Kerrang! “It was never the plan to do it that way.”
Whibley said he never knows in advance what he’s going to write about; he has a very stream-of-consciousness way of doing things.
Though Whibley said this is a very personal album, politics still subconsciously played a part in the lyrics he composed.
“I was trying to stop myself from writing anything that sounded politically ‘of the times’, but every time I tried to change the lyrics it all stopped making sense,” Whibley told Kerrang! “Once I let that wall down, everything flowed a lot more easily. I feel like Order in Decline is a very personal record that talks about how I feel about different things I see happening.”
Cannot ignore the political moment
When Sum 41 was touring last, they observed many places being turned upside down in a similar way to how Whibley feels America is at the moment. Thus, Whibley started writing about topics he didn’t necessarily want to write about.
“It’s also very hard not to have feelings about everything that’s going on in the world,” Whibley said.
Guitarist Dave Baksh said in an interview with Medicine Hat News that writing a record about one specific person would be a fault, and that this is just a view of the world.
“Like a lot of records and art, this is a reaction to what we see going on,” Baksh said. “When we’re touring, the news is always on. Our band has this amazing opportunity to see the world and everything that is going on and we’re not going to be blind to it.”
Baksh shared with Medicine Hat News that he feels politics around the world are at the point where people everywhere are realizing that something is fundamentally wrong.
“We need to figure it out and find out answers on how to fix it,” Baksh said.
Continuing the trend of personal songs he’s written, Whibley wrote two tracks which are just that — extremely personal. Their song “Never There” talks about Whibley’s absentee father whom he’s never met. “Catching Fire” closes out the album, sharing Whibley’s feelings on mental health awareness and loved ones he’s lost throughout his life.
Finding themselves on classic rock
According to The Standard, bassist Cone McCaslin heard one of Sum 41’s early hits on a classic rock station and was caught off guard.
“You kind of raise your eyebrow a little bit,” McCaslin said. “It’s like, ‘Oh man, that’s where we’re at.’”
To McCaslin, as long as people are listening, that’s all that matters.
“You’re just so thankful that you’re still doing this, so I don’t care what station or who’s listening, as long as people are coming and listening, that’s good enough for me,” McCaslin said.
Fans are still listening and learning their new albums. Baksh told Medicine Hat News he thinks their current setlist is a healthy mix of old and new. One big part of the setlist is a cover of a classic rock tune everyone has heard.
“We’re extremely lucky and thankful to see people singing along to our new stuff,” Baksh said.
Another song typically on the setlist consists of a cover of a classic rock tune.
“We’ve been doing the cover for a little bit now,” Baksh said. “I honestly think covers are fun. We grew up with bands covering things. We grew up covering things.”
With more than 15 million records sold worldwide, a Grammy Award nomination, two Juno Awards and seven nominations, a Kerrang! Award, and multiple Alternative Press Music Awards, Sum 41 has no intention of slowing down.
Like most bands, Baksh said Sum 41 is always thinking about the future and what’s next.
“Even before the current record goes into mixing and mastering, the next record has been kind of started,” Baksh said. “We’re taking our time and there might be some stuff kicking around.
Right now, the band is just focused on touring until their album cycle concludes.
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