Roadrunner's 2014 is looking very busy—among the artists currently preparing albums are Black Stone Cherry, De La Tierra, Heartist, Marmozets, Opeth and Theory of a Deadman, as well as others we're not going to tell you about just yet. We got a few of these guys on the phone to find out where they're at, creatively speaking, and what we—and you, the fans—can expect in 2014.
Black Stone Cherry have completed the recording of their fourth studio album, which doesn't have a title yet. Guitarist Ben Wells says the new album is going to be much harder and more rockin' than their last release, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, and that starts with their choice of producer. "We worked with a guy named Joe Barresi, who couldn’t have been more perfect for us," he reveals. "We’re the type of band where we’re open-minded, but we’re also very protective of our songs and the sound of the record. Joe understood—[he's not] a guy who’s like, 'Well, I’ve had success doing it this way,' and makes you sound like every other band out there. So it was awesome to work with Joe—he was such a cool guy. He’s done Tool, he did the last Soundgarden, Queens of the Stone Age…he’s also a really great old school guy, he loves all those classic bands that had great guitar sounds and drum sounds and were about riffs, and everybody standing out on an album versus making a lead singer out of 'em. That’s just not the kind of band we are, so working with him, that’s really the type of stuff we prefer doing. I know every band talks up their newest album, but I really can’t say enough good things about this one."
De La Tierra, Roadrunner's latest signing, are a Latin metal supergroup featuring Sepultura guitarist Andreas Kisser, frontman Andrés Giménez, formerly of A.N.I.M.A.L., bassist Sr. Flavio of Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, and drummer Alex González of Maná. Their self-titled debut album will be out next month, and González told us about the recording process, by phone from Mexico. "Each one of us wrote songs and demoed from our home studios, me in Guadalajara, Mexico, Andreas in São Paulo, and the other two guys in Buenos Aires, and we were always Skyping back and forth, talking about ideas and what we could bring to the table," he says. "The important thing was, we had to get together first to see if there was musical chemistry, because as friends there’s this great chemistry and we all get along together, but maybe that won’t happen once we all get in a room together and start playing. So mid-February of this year, we flew out to Buenos Aires, me and Andreas, and we lived in Flavio’s house. He has a studio and rehearsal space in the back, and the first day we started playing, and the minute we started vibing off each other, we knew right away something special was being born there. We booked a studio in Buenos Aires in May, and we recorded everything there except the guitars. Those were done in Brazil, and I did a little bit of percussion in Guadalajara, but basically everything was done in Buenos Aires except for the mastering. The mastering was done in L.A., with my good friend Tom Baker."
Heartist are currently making their full-length debut—the follow-up to their Nothing You Didn't Deserve EP—with producer David Bendeth, who worked on Asking Alexandria's From Death to Destiny and Bring Me the Horizon's Sempiternal. They're in the studio right now, and according to frontman Bryce Beckley, it's been quite a change from making the EP entirely on their own. "We thought we knew what to expect," he says with a laugh. "With the EP, we did it all ourselves, all the writing, all the recording, and we were happy with it, but we knew coming in here, especially working with David, he’s top of the game and really knows what he’s doing; after that first day, we buckled down, we got to work writing, refining the songs, and here we are—the album’s underway, we’ve got our 11 songs, and we’re happy with them."
Theory of a Deadman are getting ready to head into the studio with producer Howard Benson, who's worked on their last three albums (2005's Gasoline, 2008's Scars & Souvenirs, and 2011's The Truth Is...). Like Black Stone Cherry, they say they're planning on heading in a heavier, harder-rocking direction this time than last time. Frontman Tyler Connolly says, "We were gonna put out a record [in 2013], and we thought we would take just a little more time writing it. I think the last record we put out, we went into the studio with seven songs and wrote the rest while we were in the studio, and we just didn’t want to do that this time. In the end, it’s gonna be really smart for us to take a little more time to make this record. It’s quite a bit heavier than our last couple of records, which is what we were going for, it’s just naturally how we’ve felt. Our first record was dark, and more based on heavy riffs, and this record is all about that."