The Used’s New Album Is On the Way — Exclusive Interview
The Used claim that their new album will be their best yet. Before they parted ways with Warner Brothers, the label got a hold of demo tapes for the Used’s forthcoming release and dubbed them the band’s finest work to date. Currently without a label for the first time in 10 years and recently under new management, The Used are consumed with finishing what they consider to be a musical masterpiece. As the band ponders signing to another label or remaining independent, fans must patiently await the launch of the new album.
Noisecreep recently had a chance to pick the brain of The Used’s bass player, Jeph Howard, who disclosed just enough information to tide us over until the highly anticipated album drops. Jeph gives Noisecreep a behind-the-scenes look at the recording process, offers a sneak peak of finished material, and explains why he is beyond excited about the new songs.
Noisecreep: You guys are working on a new album. You posted on Facebook that this one will blow everyone’s mind. When can we expect the record to be finished, and what makes it so amazing as compared to past releases?
Jeph Howard: Things change, you know what I mean. You can’t help but change a little where you’re writing and where you’re growing as a person, [or] even as a musician. I mean everybody changes — everything changes. It’s kind of nice to know where we’ve gone, where we’ve come from, and where we are now. It kind of feels like a humbling circle almost. We just got out of our label. We just got new management again. We just got sort of like a cleaning of house in a bigger way. You know, we were on Warner Brothers for 10 years and now that we’re not on a label, it’s actually kind of amazing. [There’s] a lot of interesting freedom.
Bert is very inspired. Bert is very driven on this record. I wanna say he’s more driven on this record than he has been in the past. He’s always had sort of emotional things that happen to him during recordings … He’s a very coincidental kind of person. This record, he’s really mentally there and mentally focused and mentally ready — ready to do it, ready to put his whole personality and his whole soul into something. People connect very strongly with the lyrics and with the melodies. So far, all the songs that we’ve been writing are very easy for anybody to get into and to connect with, and really understand these songs.
So you think this is going to be your best album yet?
Oh by far. I’m insanely excited. I was very happy with our last record. I’m usually not very happy with recordings. There’s always something. You know, nothing’s ever perfect. Our last record I was very happy with, but [I’m] definitely [happy with] this record so far. We only have three songs finished and who knows how many we’re going to record in the end. We’re still writing … but so far the three that are completely finished, I’m more excited about than I’ve been about anything.
Can you predict when you think the album will come out?
It’s really hard to say right now. It’s probably going to be closer to the end of the year. It’s taken a little longer than we’ve wanted to. There [have] been a lot of slow drawbacks with [all] the changes. We were kind of waiting to see if we were going to do this record on Warner or not. We kind of had to wait and see what happened about that before we started recording. It was kind of actually interesting, waiting. Now we’re getting everything rolling and it’s feeling great.
So you guys aren’t on a label at all right now?
No, right now we’re on our own. I’m not really sure how that’s gonna go — if we’re gonna stay on our own, [or] if we[‘ll] sign to a bigger, maybe a different, maybe a smaller label. Right now, we’re happy being on our own.
Are you planning to release this one without a label?
That’s what I’m really not sure about. It kind of depends. I mean labels and music are such an interesting thing right now. The music business is screwed. Do we want to go with a label that doesn’t really know what to do? Do we want do it on our own and risk figuring it all out ourselves? Right now we’re kind of focusing on writing a little bit and starting to record, starting to get through the process of that. I think this next week or two we’re gonna find out if we’re gonna be on a label or if it’s gonna be our own thing.
As far as the songwriting process for this album, are these all brand new songs? Did you have any new material that didn’t make previous releases that will be on the album?
There is always material that never makes the records. Usually if it didn’t make it, there’s probably a good reason, so we kind of forget about it. Sometimes there are guitar riffs or drum and bass rhythms that we’ll kind of remember and we’ll kind of save and we’ll bring those out in a song. I’m sure that’s happened on this because it seems to happen sort of subconsciously, but it has happened before. We had a song called ‘Listening,’ which was on our second record. It was older than our first record. It was a really old song that we completely lost and it just disappeared. And then we found it one day.
Are you guys able to write on the road or are there too many distractions?
We have before. A lot of the last album, ‘Artwork,’ was actually written on the road. Not the whole thing, but a lot of it was.
Is there a specific source of inspiration for the songs that you guys have recorded already?
As far as lyrics would go, Bert usually takes things that are happening in his life. He usually writes it a little more vague[ly] so you can’t really tell what it’s about, but I mean you kind of get the picture. If you know him, you kind of understand it a bit more, which is kind of hard to explain. If you think about the words just like an actual thought — a thing that happened to Bert, it’s actually kind of interesting.
Can you give us any sort of sneak peak on what one of the songs you’ve written is about or can you reveal a song title?
No titles right now. This one I’m really excited about is kind of about falling down and picking yourself back up. I mean I’m saying from a bass player’s point of view, because I’m not Bert first of all so I can’t tell you what he wrote it about. But my point of view of what I think he wrote it about it is sort of like crashing and falling. You know, crashing and burning and from those ashes rising up and trying to be a better person, a better everything. Trying to get back to your expectations of yourself.
It’s kind of like you have to fall completely down in order to realize how to get back up, if that makes sense.