Mar. 20, 2013 - Issue #909: Water Crisis
Dead Silence, the title of Billy Talent's latest album, reads as something of an oxymoron in the wake of its success.
Reaching back to the predominant punk influence pulsating throughout its second album, Billy Talent II, the four-piece set out to create an album that was not only telling of its experiences and observations of today's culture, but also one that played as a cohesive whole. What resulted was a poignant sonic journey for the group, which began working on the album shortly after wrapping up touring for Billy Talent III.
"I think with this record we wanted to change it up because we just started naming those albums numbers because we actually couldn't think of any album titles," laughs guitarist Ian D'Sa—who also produced the album—adding that Dead Silence had more of a theme running through it than its numerically named predecessors. "Being 2012, there was kind of this end of the world theme because there was a lot of doomsday talk going around, so a lot of the songs represent that."
With plenty of lyrical fodder stemming from current events, Billy Talent penned the album's first single, "Viking Death March," effectively setting the tone for what was to come.
"A lot of that was in response to what was happening at the time in the world with the Occupy movement and the unrest in the Arab world, and that song kind of came out of that, and then we realized there was so much in the media with doomsday talk and survivalist talk and we started going with that," D'Sa notes of the album's over-arching concept, which was hashed out through collaborative writing amongst the band.
In order to practice and work on the album freely, Billy Talent left its overcrowded jam space and set up shop at its new headquarters in Toronto's east end, where the vocals on Dead Silence were ultimately recorded. D'Sa notes that while it was a labour-intensive move, with the residential building requiring extensive soundproofing, it was one of the best decisions the band made.
"We really got a chance to work on the songs and try out different things because it's our own studio," D'Sa says, adding that he learned a great deal about the recording process from Billy Talent III producer, Brendan O'Brien, which he was able to apply as producer for Dead Silence. "He's one of my favourite producers, but this one, the guys wanted me to do it, and it was a lot of work but it felt like the natural, right thing to do because the guys really trust me and they know I can carry a position of what the sounds should be in the end."
Fri, Mar 22 (7 pm)
With Sum 41, Hollerado,
Shaw Conference Centre, $63.75
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