Soundgarden rhythm guitarist and vocalist, Chris Cornell recently spoke with Speakeasy about the bands first studio album in 15 years.
“I’m really happy with it. I understand the feeling of the album. It’s very true to form for Soundgarden yet you can’t compare it to anything else.”
Soundgarden reunited for Lollapalooza 2010, and in the months following, Cornell feels that the members have overcome the demons that, for 12-years, prevented the legendary band from doing what they do best; “Since then we’ve written an entire new album. That was pretty interesting. Once we were in a room working on new arrangements, that 12 years apart was erased.”
When asked what it was like to go from playing old material to actually writing a new Soundgarden album, Cornell replied, “It’s like wearing two very different hats. Rehearsing for a show after 12 years off, there’s less tension surrounding that. You know it’s do-able. The songs are on a list somewhere. Writing a new album, that’s when the individual relationships come into play. In that regard we’ve always been a really great band. Everybody supports everyone’s ideas. But there are still question marks in writing new music. What’s it mean? Who are we now? Hopefully the answers are in the songs.”
Cornell has shown that he is a highly gifted songwriter, with the ability to write music of all genres. He has spent much of the past decade experimenting with different sounds, from acoustic arrangements, to recording with renowned hip-hop producer/ music writer, Timbaland, “…Playing music is my natural state and within that I’m trying to experiment with what’s possible and what makes sense. I always felt like Soundgarden as a band should be able to include any element. When I wrote ‘Black Hole Sun,’ I was afraid to play it for the guys because I didn’t think they would like it. We can do almost anything but ‘Black Hole Sun’ won a Grammy for best heavy metal performance. So the lines get blurred, but that’s a fun thing to do.”
Cornell is now in his forties but doesn’t think it affects is ability to write quality music. “I don’t feel like the source has changed. In some ways as people get older they might have convictions that change but ultimately they may be more open-minded about everything. That’s part of being an adult and getting older. I don’t think music necessarily is affected by that. For me it’s important that the lyrics are borne of the feeling of the music. I don’t get in there and create a character. It’s more of a voice that I hear living inside the music.”