We are very honored to present you the interview that Chris Barnes (Six Feet Under, ex- Cannibal Corpse) gave to Rock Overdose and to Konstantinos Sotirelis. Chris talks about many issues, including the band's new album, "Torment", Cannibal Corpse and many more. You can also listen to the interview here:
Rock Overdose: Hello!
Chris Barnes: Hey man!
Rock Overdose: How it's going on the band’s side these days?
Chris Barnes: Not too bad, not too bad. I think… I’m pretty excited about this album, so it’s been keeping me going.
Rock Overdose: You’re going to release your new album on 24 February. How do you feel?
Chris Barnes: I feel good, man. I feel really excited about it. It’s always exciting when a new album is about to be released. This one seems pretty special. We’ve had a good response. I’ve had a good feeling about it for the past four-five months. I’ve been living with it and I really like it a lot, so…
Rock Overdose: What should we expect to hear? You said on Blabbermouth that this is “fucking insane material”. Those were your exact words.
Chris Barnes: Yeah, I think it’s pretty insane, man! Jeff [Hughell (bass)] wrote some awesome riffs and some interesting time changes. There are some really cool ins-and-outs that are super fast. And then there’s some stuff that are super heavy. The production is very solid, so I think we captured something that is really cool with this whole deal.
Rock Overdose: The title is “Torment”. Is it a way to express any possible anger or to torment some people, in a way? Or was it a catchy title that came naturally?
Chris Barnes: Well, I think it kinda goes with the overall theme of the record and the theme of the band, musically and lyrically. The duality of the human condition… I think that the idea of ‘torment’ is… It encompasses that. It shows that and it’s easy to absorb.
Rock Overdose: I see. I also read on Blabbermouth that there is both the fastest and the slowest Six Feet Under material in this album. Is it true?
Chris Barnes: I think so, from what Marco [Pitruzzella (drums)] and Jeff told me, coz – you know – Jeff wrote all the music. But Marco told me that a lot of the bpm… From what I’ve heard, it’s pretty… Very fast and very slow at times. [Laughs] It made it challenging for me.
Rock Overdose: Very interesting!
Chris Barnes: It’s good stuff, man!
Rock Overdose: Great! Are you satisfied with the final result and the production?
Chris Barnes: Oh, yeah, man! We made the right choice to go to Zeuss and work with him again. It turned out just like Jeff and I had hoped it would. We were very careful, protecting our original tracks as we recorded them, and all of our original tones and AQs and everything like that. It was very easy as far as the mix went. The mix was the easiest part of everything to do with this album.
Rock Overdose: I guess that you are going to tour so as to promote this album, right?
Chris Barnes: I hope so! Yeah!
Rock Overdose: Is Greece included in your touring plans?
Chris Barnes: You know, it’s all up to the promoters and the booking agents and everybody like that. I just… They point me to a stage and I go on there. [Laughs] So, I don’t have much to do with where we go. You know, that’s everyone else’s job.
Rock Overdose: Do you like Greece and Greek fans?
Chris Barnes: I do! I love Greek food and I love the history of Greece. I’ve never been there yet, but – you know – I would love to come to Greece! That’s for sure, man. We had a great Greek band with us on tour recently, in December. Acid Death.
Rock Overdose: Did you come close with the guys from Acid Death?
Chris Barnes: You know, man, I don’t get time to hang out on tour. I’m too busy making sure I can – you know – perform. I’m very business-like on tour. I don’t hang out, make friends and stuff like that. I’m just there to make sure, uh…
Rock Overdose: You focus on the music…
Chris Barnes: Yeah, I’m only there to be on stage, man. I’m not there to do anything else.
Rock Overdose: Did you have some time to check their music?
Chris Barnes: I did check their music. Yeah, man, they’re a great band! They’ve been around for a long time and they know what’s up. They know their stuff!
Rock Overdose: So… After so many years, and so many albums, is it easy to write new and good material?
Chris Barnes: Oh, yeah, man! It’s always easy. I’ve never had writer’s block or anything like that. I’ve always gained my inspiration from the music. So, I allow that to show me the way; how I approach things lyrically and how I approach things vocally.
Rock Overdose: What inspires you so as to write new material?
Chris Barnes: The music, the music itself. I just take it song by song. I don’t think about, I don’t confuse myself with… When I write an album, I don’t confuse myself with other things. All I think about is the music. I don’t think about what people expect of me, what I expect myself. I just listen to the music and it kinda dictates what I should do.
Rock Overdose: On the last tour, you played the whole first album, “Haunted” (1995), which – for many people – remains the best one to this day. So, how did you feel, digging up your past, and what was the response from fans?
Chris Barnes: It was cool, man! It was fun! We play a lot of those songs on our regular setlist for many years, coz a lot of people – the fans – really dig the old stuff. You know? That’s how I was when I went to concerts, when I was a kid, man. I always wanted my favorite band to play stuff from their first album, or their second album... So, I still recognize that. I dig it; I have fun with it! It’s exciting playing these songs, especially when we have new people in the band that have never played the songs, because then they add their own nuances to the music. That even makes it more interesting for me.
Rock Overdose: How’s the cooperation with the other guys from the band?
Chris Barnes: Yeah, man, it’s great! Jeff wrote an awesome album! He wrote all the music for this album, so he came through, man. He wrote some great songs and let me explore a lot of things, vocally and lyrically, through some cool rhythms, man. And Marco is a great drummer! He played all the drum parts really well and added his own touch to everything. You know? And [he] accomplished a lot!
Rock Overdose: As you know, your voice remains a trademark all these years. How do you manage to keep it in shape?
Chris Barnes: Well, I don’t have to do much. I just rehearse a lot. I just… You know... Like I said, I take each song that I write, song by song. I don’t try to blanket any vocal style to any song specifically. So, I never really sing out of my own voice. I don’t try to force any other style or to do anything that I can’t do. I just do what I do. I stay as healthy as possible, and I just do what I do, that’s all.
Rock Overdose: Great! So, do you plan to release more cover albums, like you did last year [“Graveyard Classics IV: The Number Of The Priest” (2016)] with Iron Maiden and Judas Priest covers?
Chris Barnes: I don’t know, maybe… You never know. We just… We probably won’t for a while. We have other things we’re working on, and other things we want to explore, as far as our own music [is concerned]. So, I think we’ll put that on hold for a little bit. But you never know; we might bring that back…
Rock Overdose: Is it easy to change these classic metal songs into the Six Feet Under style?
Chris Barnes: Not too difficult… We just, like, play the songs how we play. I mean, I don’t like to change the compositions too much. I like… I think my vocals change it enough, so… It’s not difficult, man. The intricacies of the songs themselves are difficult – yeah, man. Because all the stuff we pick are from talented musicians and writers.
Rock Overdose: So, here’s my last question… In the past, you have stated that your relationship with Cannibal Corpse is very good, though there is no possibility of a reunion or something like that. Do you have the same opinion today?
Chris Barnes: Yeah… Those guys would never do a reunion tour. I would talk about it, but I don’t think it’s something that they would do. I don’t think they care about the fans as much as I do.
Rock Overdose: I understand… So, thank you very much for the interview! You can close it as you wish.
Chris Barnes: OK! Thank you very much, man! Hopefully, I’ll see everyone in Greece very soon!
For the Rock Overdose,
Interview: Konstantinos Sotirelis
Tapescript: Stergios Gkoutsidis