Alternative rockers 311 are gearing up to release Stereolithic, their eleventh full-length album, on 3/11 (which will be celebrated with another of their marathon 311 Day concerts, this time in New Orleans).
Vocalist/rhythm guitarist/songwriter Nick Hexum was kind enough to take a few minutes out of his day to answer some questions about the album, 311's immediate plans, and what fans can expect from the new material.
Enjoy the chat below.
Q: After hearing the new single "Five of Everything", it definitely seems as if Stereolithic will feature some eclectic sounds. What can you say to the range of sounds or styles on this new album?
Nick Hexum: That's what has me so excited about the album. There is a wider breadth of styles represented on the album than we've had in a long time. The creativity was really flowing.
Q: Most 311 albums other than Transistor have had 11-13 songs. What prompted you guys to put 15 songs on the new album, especially coming on the heels of a record that only had eight?
NH: The wheels were turning within the band at a much higher rate that allowed us to have that kind of output. I think it was due to a more relaxed attitude within the band where we were more interested the "weirder" ideas. Also, we had multiple home studios running at once.
Q: Were the songs conceived in the same way they usually are?
NH: There was more collaboration on this one than ever before. We would just get the "lyric team" together (Myself, SA, P-Nut, and producer Scotch Ralston) and talk out ideas and something would solidify.
Q: Are there any specific songs on Stereolithic that you're especially looking forward to playing live?
NH: When we nail "Friday Afternoon" live, that will be a triumphant day!
Q: 311 has been doing its thing for more than 20 years. Does longevity make it easier or more challenging to work on new material?
NH: I think it gets harder to stay fresh as time goes on, but that challenge is easily remedied by changing up the way we write and the focusing more on collaborating rather than one person writing a complete song.
Q: Realistically, how many more 311 Day concert events do you see the band being able to have?
Q: In one sentence, for anyone a bit less familiar with 311 (i.e. only heard the radio hits) why should he or she be interested to hear Stereolithic?
NH: I would say there is something magic about five friends with such a long history playing together. There are fewer and fewer bands who use real instruments and can really play and there's something special there that has to be felt rather than described.
Q: The space-y Stereolithic album artwork is reminiscent of Transistor's. Similarly, Stereolithic will feature the second-most songs of any 311 album (behind Transistor). Is there any kind of thematic connection between the albums?
NH: Well, the other similarity to Transistor is being reunited with producer Scotch Ralston. We didn't realize we were stumbling into Transistor part two but I for one am happy with the comparisons because that album has had such a long lasting effect of being beloved by our fans.
Q: Since 311 is now on its own label, 311 Records, does that make the whole concept of "being in a band" any easier? Is it more freeing to be calling your own shots?
NH: It feels empowering in a good way. For so long we were trying to talk the label into representing us how we wanted. Now, there's no middle man.
Q: Any words to the 311 fans that you want to mention?
NH: We are so grateful to have such a tight bond with the 311 Nation! We have the best gig in the world. Thank you.
There's still time to pre-order Stereolithic over at the band's Pledge Music page - click here to browse the options that are still available.
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