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Chris Barnes (Six Feet Under)

Interview with Chris Barnes from Six Feet Under
by Katrina Cannon at 08 March 2005, 10:06 PM

With an album due out on March 22, and a tour about to begin, Chris Barnes takes a moment of his life to grant me the privilege of interviewing with him.  This was almost surreal for me being that I have been listening to his music for over a decade. I've heard some of the new album, and I can say it's definitely worth checking out, not to mention a live show.  Keep checking back for updated tour dates. It's a must that you see this band, you will not be disappointed. And, ironically, while on hold waiting to be connected to Chris, the song that was playing was Cannibal Corpse's They Deserve To Die. Coincidence?

So now that the new album is finished, what are you guys up to?

Currently just preparing for the tour set we’ve scheduled here over the next few months. We’ve lined up the European tour which starts in about 2 weeks, we got that planned, and the US tour is getting worked out for June and July right now, and got a couple more tours coming up at the end of the year, but that’s really our focus now that the records almost released, and we just have to go into that physical mode of touring.

What’s the story behind the name of the new album?

Well, it’s not really a story, as much as it’s a loosely based concept album, I mean, most everything I’ve written in the past has to do with life and death and what comes in between now and the reaches of the human mind and the human soul. I think it more focuses on that in a way that it doesn’t tell a story as much as it represents death and the idea of the grim reaper and the on coming of the end for each of us individually, eventually.

What inspired you to base 13 on that?

I usually deal with those subjects, you know, just focusing my attention more and concentrating more on the questions I have in my own life and writing them into music like I usually do. I’m always pretty much in tune with that same formula its just this time it seems it got a little more of an intertwining method within the writing of the lyrics.

You’ve stated that you guys went into the studio, fresh off tour, to record this new album, but had no material and yet the album came together almost effortless.Did you think, going into the studio, that it was going to be that easy and the that the outcome was going to be, as you’ve said, the best album since Haunted?

I think that I was pretty confident at that point where I had a good foresight of vision to see that it was going to work out without a problem, and I would really been surprised if it hadn’t have gone as well as it did though. I was really kind of disappointed we didn’t have more time to just keep writing, cause at that point we just kept writing, I mean we could have written another album’s full of material in that studio session if we would have had another week to do it. We really could have, I mean me and Steve were real depressed when we got through with 14 or 15 different songs that we wrote during that session, it just came together so incredible. It was just an idea that I had to kind of perpetuate a feeling of motion that we were experiencing physically into a different reality of writing music, you know, to try to transfer that energy.

I don’t hear very often about bands going into the studio to record an album with no material and come out with a complete album that is just awesome.

Well thank you. Yeah, I don’t think it happens too much anymore I think people kind of worry too much and try to force things on themselves instead of just letting the metal flow out of them, you know. A friend of mine once said, You just have to let the metal flow. I definitely recognize that, you know, you have to sometimes regress back to where it all began. You didn’t really think too much when writing music back when you’re first starting out. Having a focal point to start with, its kind of easier to break it all down and if you have someone to kind of take you on that journey, and I definitely did that with these guys on this. I think they came up with some incredible songs, what we did, I think we did it right. I mean in the past I’ve started songs and I didn’t like the way they were looking so I just tossed them aside, you don’t hit it everytime, but this time it seems really like we did, like it just kept moving forward, I was impressed.

You’re credited with producing 13, what was it like to be in the producer’s chair?

I’ve always liked doing that type of work in the studio even before I started putting my name on it I mean I was always the one really that people had to complain the most in the studio, so they finally gave up and said Fuck it, you do it, you’re gonna do it anyways. You know, I just like to make sure everything’s taken care of from artwork to the structure of everything, you know, I’m my worst enemy when it comes to being a critic, I’m my own worst critic so I have to be happy with it and totally happy with it otherwise its going to be useless.

You’ve said that Six Feet Under has a constant schedule of touring and recording, and that you want to put out a new album every year. Do you or the others ever want to just take a vacation, take some time off from such a demanding schedule?

We did time off, I mean, I work every day with having ideas and planning stuff. I think that’s part of my personality, I need to do that so I have things worked out for the future and just so I can take it kind of easy when I do have time off between tours.Yeah, I mean, we’ve been off the road now since October, we wrote the album and got it all ready in time and a few other things. I just don’t want to stand still, I miss it, I miss being out there in front of people that are like me. Its hard being an individual, you know, walking around looking the way I do \[Laughs], but when I’m on tour it seems like I’m at home. I like being out there. Taking a break is cool, I have my own passions in life things to occupy my time when I’m not out there, but I like it and I think those guys do too, I think they just cant wait to get on the road.

Since you were in Cannibal Corpse, you’re lyrical content hasn’t changed much, what pushes you to write the way you do, about life and death in such extreme ways?

Um, \[pauses] I don’t know \[Laughs]. You know, people have asked me that for years and, I mean, I did an interview earlier with someone and they were completely the opposite saying that Why have your lyrics changed over the years? and it’s like I don’t really understand how they see that. But people interpret things differently. It’s hard for me to answer that cause I don’t really know how to analyze myself in that way.Its just, I guess its an inner quest I have for me in this lifetime, maybe I’m saying what I have to say for ascension into the next level, on the next plane. I’m happy with what I’m doing, I continue to search for either that perfect song or the perfect verse.

I’ve been listening to your work for years, I mean I’ve got every Cannibal Corpse and Six Feet Under albums and I don’t see where they would get where your content has changed at all.

No, I don’t either. It’s basically propaganda to try promote a certain feeling about me, I guess, and I’m like the type of person that’s like, if you’re gonna say something, back it up and give me specific examples of what you’re talking about it and I can go ahead and rebut against that. Because I can tell you, not every Cannibal Corpse song had deep vocals. You can go and put all those records I was on on shuffle and you’ll find that each song has its own personality lyrically and with the tone, it’s not all deep stuff. Certain albums had a certain tone, but they were all different from Eaten Back To Life to The Bleeding, they all had they’re different vocal sounds. And it’s the same with Six Feet Under. It’s probably different here and there, just because I like to accommodate the riff and my vocal style with the thought and the point I’m trying to bring across while the lyrics are being spoken. It’s different when people kind of like say these things but are just being colorful, and trying to, I don’t know, trying to do something, I don’t know what they’re trying to do its usually for some different reason each time.But when you don’t have backup and you make a statement then it’s kind of like putting your fucking ass before your mouth.I think my lyrics are just an outpouring of what I’m thinking about this existence and also my revenge on society, in a way, I guess.

So I take it you believe in ghosts?

Oh yeah, supernaturalism is a part of my everyday life. I think that if there is any reason why the album is called 13 I think that’s probably the most supernatural number. I totally believe that I’m surrounded by spirits everywhere I go, I mean, for sure we all are. People need to walk around with open eyes and open minds because there are unexplained things that happen.Sometimes, the unexplained things do explain things.

Exactly, you just have to look beyond and read between the lines.

Yeah, that’s it, that’s it, you know, so I’m very much in tune with dreaming and meditation, focus of energy, the idea of the attention and point of the human soul and take that through different journeys of this existence.

Does it get old to you to constantly be asked about being in Cannibal Corpse?

No, I’m totally proud of all that stuff, you know. People hold it such high regard and I wouldn’t be where I am now without being a part of that material.

What is some of your favorite music do you listen to today?

I listen to just about all types of different stuff. I mean, I’m more entertained by like films and movies and stuff now, you know, instead of listening to music I’ll usually put on something to watch.

What kind of stuff do you like to watch?

I like well a told story, something that’s directed well in a different way, anything, even commercials.It doesn’t have to be underground or horror films, lately I’ve been getting into more horror stuff but I’ve kind of eased off and been watching different types of films, you know, back into that. I like all sorts of stuff, it just has to be a well told story, like everything coming from the writers look. I mean, special effects and that type of stuff doesn’t impress me that much more subtle effects do, I mean, I know of the editing process and that doesn’t really do anything for me, you know, the magic’s taken out. I just like a well written story with something that just looks really direct.

How is your knee doing?

Its doing actually pretty better. This last week I went back to the doctor and had more stuff done to it, but actually I’m feeling pretty good.

What are Six Feet Under’s future plans?

Just to keep doing what were doing staying in the groove, you know, dealing our way through it.

Any last words?

I hope I never have any last words. \[Laughs]


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