Anger and anxiety, insult and injury all contributed to the dark lyrical tone of Seether’s sixth album, “Isolate and Medicate.”
Frontman Shaun Morgan tells Billboard that the October deal that sent the trio, along with other holdings of Seether’s old label, Wind-Up Records, to the Bicycle Music Company and Concord Record Group left he and his mates “really pissed off about it” and anxious for what the future held. “We were just being sold off like to some sort of product to a different label,” Morgan recalls. “Nobody at our old label gave us a heads-up or even a courtesy call or an e.mail or a ‘thank you’ or a ‘screw you’ or anything. Communication just stopped. That really hurt. And I was terrified.” That, in turn, fueled Morgan as he wrote “Isolate and Medicate’s” songs — alone at home in New Hampshire and during sessions with bassist Dale Stewart and drummer John Humphrey at Humphrey`s base in Oklahoma.
“That’s the stuff that inspired me to write is when I’m feeling sort of like there’s a cloud over my head,” says Morgan, who wrote 12 songs for the July 1, Brendan O’Brien-produced release — 10 of which are on the standard album with two more, “Turn Around” and “Burn the World,” as bonus tracks on the Deluxe Edition. Listen to both new tracks below, exclusively on Billboard.com:
“I took the whole thing with (the label) really personally, I think. I was a really angry man, and that anger carried through the whole time I was writing. I almost abandoned hope, so I fell back into all the vices that I knew very well” — hence the “Isolate and Medicate” title.
“That’s basically what I was doing the whole way through the process,” Morgan says. “I was completely by myself, pretty much, and I just felt like nobody was making contact, nobody cared. I would sit in my studio and I would get hammered or high, or whatever was the choice of the day, and music would come out of it. And it’s funny, because the more you chase the numbness, the more it goes in the oppose way and you become more emotional. I wouldn’t want to repeat that, but whatever I did certainly helped make this album, which I’m really proud of.”
Morgan did allow Stewart and Humphrey to step into the process, too, using them as “sounding boards” during the writing of five tracks. “This time, creatively, I needed help from the band,” he says. “I think that was great for me. I needed them to feed off of. I needed live feedback from people. When you have the other guys there already, at least three of the parts get written a lot faster, so that’s when they come in handy.”
Morgan is happy now with Seether’s new label home, noting that “it feels like we’re with a real record company for the first time, people that actually believe in us and are enthusiastic about us doing this and like what we do and support us and believe in us. I think it’s definitely a new start for the band, and I’m glad we can start off our relationship and our career with them on such a strong note.”
Seether recently wrapped out a European tour and is off until the Rock USA festival on July 16 in Oshkosh, Wisc. The trio will be part of this year’s Godsmack-headlined Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival starting Aug. 15 in Clarkston, Mich., and will tour Canada with Godsmack after that finishes. The group is planning a return to Europe in the fall, while during 2015 Morgan hopes “to start focusing on countries we haven’t been to and markets we haven’t touched,” particularly in South America and Asia. He’s also hoping to stage more Rise Above Festival dates next year to raise funds for awareness of suicide issues.