The Sword's J.D. Cronise: "All Rock Is Stoner Rock"
Austin metal quartet The Sword has gone through some significant changes since the release of 2010's Warp Riders, a high-concept album taking place on the halves of a fictional planet each locked in eternal day and nighttime.
Greg Prato The Sword
They replaced their drummer, signed to a new label, and toned their earlier doom metal into a more streamlined hard rock momentum with this year's full-legnth, Apochryphon.
Singer JD Cronise talks about staying focused, ignoring the noise, and metal before the age of Twitter.
Up on the Sun: You said Warp Riders was your band's version of a sci-fi novel, whereas Apochryphon is more of a collection of heavy songs. What were the challenges for this record?
JD Cronise: Mainly getting it done in time. Knowing the songs needed to be written by a certain date and trying to ignore that fact was the biggest challenge.
Going from a high-concept approach to something like this, was it hard this time because it was different from what you were doing before? Were certain aspects more meticulous?
It wasn't more meticulous; it was a little looser if anything. In the past, for our first two records, we didn't have deadlines. The third one was all written well before we went into the studio. That's the nature of being a professional musician: having to be creative, which is something that is supposed to have no constraints, and having to work with a bunch of constraints and trying to pretend they're not there.
Dealing with the mechanics of the music industry, that give-and-take, are there any other challenges that presents? And what opportunities make that worthwhile?
The opportunity is that we get to be in a band for our job. But there's all sorts of challenges. Especially now, in the age of social media. I don't think any of us playing in bands when we were younger imagined trying to keep up with that stuff. That's not something our predecessors had to deal with. You just have to grin and bear it, even though you might not want to read all your Facebook comments. If there's some fan that has a problem, they didn't get their t-shirt, then yeah, you have to be on top of that stuff. If I had it my way, we wouldn't have a Facebook page. But you have to do that, nowadays, people need a place to find out about your band.
Sure, that's something a lot of bands have to take on. Not just playing the music, but taking on aspects of the managerial stuff.
Totally. We could leave that stuff to our label, but we want things posted on there to be from us, not from someone not in the band. People might assume it's from someone in the band. I try to edit everything that comes out, press releases and stuff like that. As far as that goes, we like to have our hands on that. But if it were up to us, we'd be worrying about playing music. It's hard not to envy the bands of the '70s, '80s, and '90s, not having to deal with Facebook and Twitter. But that's just the way of the world.