Published May 08, 2012Three years ago, Los Angeles sludge metal/noise rockers -16- returned after a six-year absence with Bridges to Burn, which followed up 2003's Zoloft Smile. And now, the sadistic folks out there who call themselves -16- fans are happy that the band have dropped the new Deep Cuts from Dark Clouds, cutting the wait in half this time around... although it still felt like too long to the band.
"You know, that's weird that you say that [it came out relatively quickly]. Someone else asked us how we managed to be putting this out so quickly. I don't think it was quick at all," bassist Tony Baumeister tells Exclaim! in a recent interview. "It's been over three years since the last one. We barely toured, and just sat on our asses for too long, in my opinion. We basically just started writing the record in mid-2010. It took over a year to put it together. And honestly, it felt like an eternity."
Although casual listeners will find that the new album bears a lot of similarities to the band's last -- really, their catalogue is pretty consistent -- Baumeister insists that Deep Cuts has some new twists compared to Bridges. In fact, he doesn't speak too highly of Bridges at all.
"I think the drums are infinitely better," he says of the new album. "Our new drummer Mateo [Pinkerton] rules. I also think the songwriting and the songs themselves are just better. We used some different time signatures this time around as well -- I mean, literally all of our older stuff is in 4/4. Anyway, I can see how people will hear similarities, but I think we've definitely progressed. In fact, it's hard for me to even listen to Bridges to Burn now. It just sounds way boring to me."
Still, the new disc does sound like a reasonable album to follow up Bridges, basically refining that album's already rock-solid sound and, yes, adding in a few subtle touches and twists, and Pinkerton behind the kit. It's definitely a cliché, but the album is certainly the logical continuation of Bridges.
"I mean, Bridges was the first time we had written 16 songs since like 1999. So it's almost like 2009 was a new beginning for us," Baumeister says. "At the time, I thought it was a decent record, but I knew we could do much better. So, yeah, I think this would be continuing the vibe of Bridges, but with better arrangements, better drumming, and, quite frankly, better songs."
Fans of the band can hope to see -16- hitting the road soon, as Baumeister tells Exclaim! that he hopes to tour the U.S. in the fall and Europe in the spring. And as for his expectations for said touring, well, they suit the vibe of his band's sound just perfectly.
"Presumably, we'll be losing money on tour again, so in the meantime, we'll save our pennies so we can piss it away on two or three weeks of playing shows to 25 people per night," he says. "Should be killer!"
Deep Cuts from Dark Clouds is out now on Relapse, and you can read Exclaim!'s full interview with -16- here.