Filter Set to Release 'Experimental' New Album, Start Touring in Spring; Listen to First Single 'Take Me to Heaven' (Exclusive)

David Rubene
Filter photographed in 2015.

Industrial rock band Filter will release its seventh studio album, Crazy Eyes, on April 8 on Wind-up Records. Produced by frontman Richard Patrick, the album is the follow-up to 2013’s The Sun Comes Out Tonight.

Crazy Eyes’ first single, “Take Me to Heaven,” is a song Patrick wrote after losing his father. “‘Take Me to Heaven’ was written after my dad just died, and where I’m coming from is I’m trying to find if there’s an afterlife and I’m trying to believe in it. It’s very hopeful. There’s no more authentic and real that I could have gotten as a singer and lyricist.” Listen to the track below, which Billboard is premiering exclusively.

Crazy Eyes will be available on CD, digital and double vinyl with a limited-edition color run featuring blood red and off-white vinyl. The new album marks a change in sound for the band, which Patrick has been referring to as “new industrial.” He tells Billboard, “This record is more experimental and crazy. It’s where I am today. I wanted to go to some scary, weird places instead of doing that big-ass guitar sound again.”

Patrick took charge as producer to help shape the direction and sound. “On the last record, there was another guy at the label who signed us, and I felt a responsibility to him. He wanted a big rock sound so I let the guitars be the main focus," he explains. "With this record I said, ‘Let me focus on being the kind of artist I was when I was at Warner Bros.,’ and Wind-up was way into that. It’s way more of what we used to be and so much of where we are.”

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Crazy Eyes is hardly bereft of guitars but there are a substantial amount of electronics and effects in use. The result features heavy industrial crunch and solemn, ambient songs that reach back to Patrick’s time in Nine Inch Nails and the first Filter album, 1995’s Short Bus. Patrick is proud of it. “I feel so strongly about having it be weird and intense and authentic and bizarre, because we’ve done ‘perfect.’ This is a new era for me because it’s the first time I’ve totally produced the record, and I made it raw and real the way I wanted it,” he says.

As with each Filter album, Patrick is the only static member. Joining him on Crazy Eyes is a brand-new lineup of guitarist Oumi Kapila, bassist Ashley Dzerigian, drummer Chris Reeve and keyboardist Bobby Miller. Recording began in 2015 after the band launched a campaign with PledgeMusic, with Patrick posting video updates of the band in the studio and on the road. “I made this video of ‘parallel-universe Richie,’” he explains. “I was trying to be funny and make light of the situation, but lo and behold, people got the joke and participated in our record, and that was huge for us.” Watch a clip below:

Patrick’s validation as a producer also came from the Internet. “PledgeMusic sends you a report about who is donating and what they like. We would post videos and play snippets of songs we were working on. What became apparent was that people wanted imperfect, crazed Rich more than they wanted radio-friendly Rich," he says. "And with that knowledge I felt completely comfortable in my own artistic skin making decisions as the producer where to take this.”

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As the band gears up for Crazy Eyes, it will soon begin rehearsing for an upcoming tour with a full itinerary to be announced. So far, stops at Welcome to Rockville in Jacksonville, Fla. (April 30), and Carolina Rebellion at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., (May 6) have been confirmed. “We’re going to tour the world,” says Patrick. “We’re starting a tour some time in April: There are bands that are coming out with us, but all that’s still being settled.”

He is confident that Filter fans are ready for the band’s new industrial sound. “This is a record I play in my car because I like it. I’m just as angry as I’ve ever been.”