Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently conducted an interview with SEVENDUST singer Lajon Witherspoon. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Icon Vs. Icon: The new [SEVENDUST] record is “All I See is War”. What does the title mean to you and the band?
Lajon: “We didn’t realize it until the end of this album, but we said ‘war’ a lot though the course of it. We say ‘all I see is war’ within the song ‘Dirty’. Funny enough, in this world today, war is a big part of what is going on. I think about the times when I was a kid and how you really only read about old wars. Growing up today, war is going on and it’s been going on for a while. At the same time, I feel it’s a play on words. I don’t want to get too political with it, but with the album art, you see the kids playing and still trying to have fun but behind them is fire. For me personally, I feel like that’s what’s going on. I think people can take it and go with it however they would like.”
Icon Vs. Icon: What can you tell us about the headspace the band was in going into the creative process for this record? Was there anything you were excited to accomplish this time around?
Lajon: “Yeah! Working with Elvis [producer Michael Baskette]! I couldn’t wait, man! Personally, we had been talking about it for years. I was so excited, and I really didn’t know what to expect or what it would be like. The first night, when I flew into Orlando, I went to his home and it was really exciting. We were the first band to ever be invited to live with him at the studio, where the house is at. Immediately, there was an incredible vibe. Working with him every day was great. I never felt like, ‘Oh, man, I don’t feel like I want to go into the studio today.’ It was an experience to watch him work. It was a true pleasure. Creatively, Elvis is good all around. He’s a guitar player, singer and a writer. He’s a really cool dude and the kind of guy you’d like to hang out with in addition to working with. For me, Elvis was easy. Working with him was never hard. We feed off of each other really well. The ideas flowed back and forth very easily. You know how it is — sometimes you just click with somebody and have a good workflow. I’m not saying that other producers we’ve worked with didn’t have it, but this was something different. With that said, I’d love to work with him again. It was an easy process and we fed off each other. Everyone was in a great headspace. I mean, it was great to be able to go to sleep in this big, beautiful home and wake up and go right to the studio. We were there a little over 30 days and we broke trail maybe once or twice. I remember one night we went out. Our big night out was to Taco Bell and McDonald’s. [Laughs] We were so excited. It was like, ‘It’s Friday night!!!’ [Laughs] My point is that we go to work, man. This album was really important to us. Every album is important to us, but it’s an important time for us and we really had a good time doing it.”
Icon Vs. Icon: What do you consider the biggest challenges you faced during the creation of this album?
Lajon: “Honestly, it was figuring out what songs to pick. Going into it, I think there were over 50 songs that we had to whittle down to an album’s worth of material. That was hard, but fun. Getting down to the wire, at the very end of the process, it was a difficult thing to figure out what songs weren’t going to make the album. The last days of being in the studio were tough. There were moments of ‘What should we do here?’ or ‘Should we change this?’ or ‘Is it too late to change that?’ Other than that, it was a great experience from start to finish. I mean, come on, there was a pool and a hot tub at the house, it was in Florida, the weather was beautiful every day. Even when it was cold, it wasn’t cold. Are you kidding me? [Laughs] How could it have not been great? [Laughs] When we get together, it’s the best. When you have so many writers, everyone plays a really cool part. Everyone in the band can sing and everyone can write, so it tends to make things a little easier. For me, it’s cool because if I’m having problem with something, someone else in the band can say, ‘Oh, try this out here…’ or ‘What do you think about this?’ There is always something there and something to dig. I think we kind of push each other. It’s always a creative process. You have good days and you have bad days, but we always find a way to come together musically, if that makes sense.”
Icon Vs. Icon: We’ve talked a lot about the past and present today, but where do you see SEVENDUST headed in the future?
Lajon: “I don’t know, man. Hopefully with a couple of Grammys! [Laughs] Definitely touring and hopefully getting bigger. I think there is still so much room to grow. I see us building more overseas, for sure. With this new label in place, we can explore some different avenues and that’s one of the ones I’m really excited about. I can’t wait to get back overseas and build. I also can’t wait to get back in the studio again. Like I said, I’d love to work with Elvis again. I’m already excited about doing other stuff, even though ‘All I See Is War’ isn’t even out yet. I can’t wait to tour this. I think there is so much more left in us as a band. In a lot of ways, it feels like the beginning again in a sense.”
Icon Vs. Icon: You released a solo single last year titled “Love Song”. What was that experience like for you and does this mean we are inching ever closer to a Lajon Witherspoon solo album?
Lajon: “Yeah, man. That’s funny you ask that. It was fun to do that and cool to see the feedback. Everyone was excited about it. Actually, that is still in the making right now. I’m talking with a very well-known artist and writer that I think a lot of people would be excited that I’ll be working with. When everything slows down again with SEVENDUST, I will wrap my head around that again. I’m excited about that, so, yeah, that’s still in the making.”
Read the entire interview at Icon Vs. Icon.