Sevendust, a band that continues to evolve, but always able to maintain what fans love about them.
Sevendust are back at it, yet again, promoting All I See Is War. In this interview, we discuss recording the album with producer Elvis, LJ’s first ever show with Sevendust, playing festivals, his love for wrestling and a ton more. He’s really excited to talk about the new album and share a little insight on what went into it, just for National Rock Review.
NRR: So, how are you today LJ, you’re promoting a new album. How has that been going so far for you?
LJ: I’m good, man. I’m preparing to meet with the band and start rehearsing and get ready to hit it hard, man. We have a lot of these festivals that we love to play and 18 headline shows around those festivals. It’s going to be a big run, man. Then we have six weeks of that. We are excited to promote All I See is War. So, we are ready to get out there and show everyone.
NRR: Ok, 1997 was when your debut album released, and ever since then you have been hard in the game ever since, with a huge archive of music. When you go to record, how does that work? Especially in today’s world with the music business the way it is? Is it more comfortable now?
LJ: I’ll tell you what, man. We took off for a while, mainly because we had so much music. Sometimes when you have to come out with an album every year or two it can feel like it’s rough. I think taking some time off made it easier. With us, we all agreed we should take this time apart and take a breather, man. We knew we wanted to go in with a fresh mindset. I think that’s what helped us be able to come around and come back with the sound. This time we got to bring Elvis in, that’s personally a guy that I and the rest of the band have always wanted to work with. So, it just made for a great recipe for this album.
NRR: Elvis and Sevendust! He produces some good stuff!
LJ: I’ve known Elvis for the longest time. We’ve always hung out when we have done shows in Orlando. He’s really cool man. He would always work with a band or work on an album, and for him to invite us to his home and say “Would you like to record here?” We obviously would say “hell yeah”. He has a big and nice studio. The experience was magic, man. I can’t wait to work with him again. Vocally, guitars, or just his ideas are amazing. It was just a pleasure to be a part of.
NRR: When people go and pick up All I See Is War” on May 11th, would there be a track that you would want to stick out the most?
LJ: Oh! All of them! All of them are my babies. It’s just a great album. I love to go and listen to it! I’m so happy with it. I can’t wait till the album comes out, then I can listen to the album like it’s brand new. There are so many songs that I like. One I really like is “Life Deceives You” it’s just a really new and cool song, but I like all of them.
NRR: How do you guys always manage to keep that sound while keeping it evolved, fresh, and new to the point where anytime you hear a song, it’s Sevendust?
LJ: I don’t know, man. I just hope that’s us growing still. I think there is always room to evolve and room to grow. I do still have a lot to learn. I learned a lot with this album. Elvis, he put a new fire under me personally. If you work hard, you can get it. That’s something personal for me. We are glad that we still got it, and got it in us. We aren’t getting any younger. So, we might as well ride it out and ride it out for as long as we can. Haha!
NRR: You’re not slowing down that’s for sure. So, let’s switch gears a little bit and talk about your live show. Now, you said you have some festivals coming up?
LJ: We’ve got EVERY festival, man. I love those festivals. It’s great to get out there with all those friends and family and you get to see a lot of your peers, brothers, and sisters that you haven’t got to see in a long time that you love and bands that you’ve grown up with or new bands that you haven’t seen that you really like a lot. It’s always a fun time. We do those and then we have 18 headlining shows with our label mates, Memphis May Fire, and Fire from the Gods. So, we are excited for that.
NRR: Those are both great bands!
LJ: Yes! I met Mattie a long time ago, and he’s always been really nice and cool. So, for us to be able to tour together is a real treat. I think it’s going to be a good energy, a good vibe, and I hope everybody can come out and see that along with these festivals we are doing.
NRR: Now, you spoke of label mates. How has the relationship with Rise Records been so far? How have you enjoyed being on their label and in their family?
LJ: You know what’s so sweet, man? We did it without a label and we have been doing it ourselves for so long, and to be able to have labels come and support you and to be able to go down that avenue again is awesome. Rise seemed like they had their finger on the pulse as far as social media and being behind the band, like we wanted. For them to give us an opportunity to branch out more people to see us is awesome. I feel like we are at a point where we are beginning something new. Thank you to Rise Records for giving us this opportunity.
NRR: When you jump between these festivals and headlining shows, with so many hits, singles, and songs, how do you go about making a setlist?
LJ: Oh man, it’s a nightmare! We are doing it right now. We are actually doing it over group chat so that way when we all meet up, we will have an idea. You never know, someone might play something and we will be like “that song sucks, we need to take that one out”. Haha! It could be because we’ve had that particular one for so long, but it depends on what people like. It’s hard, but it can be really fun. It’s funny because we will always get to that point like “ahhh, what are we going to do”! I’m pretty sure we have an idea. I’d say 98% of it is good, but that could all change when we get in a room together so we will see.
NRR: What was your first gig with Sevendust and what were your initial thoughts about it?
LJ: My first gig with Sevendust, we had like two songs. We went and played at a small place in Atlanta, GA. We played our two songs, people loved it, were very excited about them and then we got up on stage and did the same damn songs again, but we played them a different way! Haha! We had our song “Black” and then I think we had a song called “Crazy” and we knew then that we had something cool and a good sound, we just knew we had to get back to the damn rehearsal space to finish it! Haha!
NRR: Your music has been in a lot of different media, but me personally, I am a huge WWE fan. When they were WWF, you guys made a version of Chris Jericho’s theme song on the album “WWF: Forceable Entry.”
LJ: Oh Yeah! “Walls of Jericho”!
NRR: Yeah, that’s the one! I just wanted to know what that was like.
LJ: Man, that was fun! I wish we could do something like that again. My buddy Barren Corbin is in WWE right now. Actually, I was driving around and heard him on the radio promoting an event and I said, “Is that Barren?” Me and a couple of the guys went to the show and we were so excited, we were giving each other high fives, and all kinds of stuff, it was awesome! I’m a big wrestling fan.
NRR: Thank you so much for your time LJ, it was a blast!
LJ: Thank you, it was a pleasure to talk to you too, and God Bless you!
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