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The 311 Press Q&A

Members Interviewed:

 Nick Hexum


SA Martinez

Chad Sexton

Universal Pulse marks the release of 311’s 10th studio album. Not many bands have had such a long and successful recording career. What has enabled 311 to thrive and now celebrate a 10th studio album?

Nick: People often ask me what is our secret to staying together for so long. The answer is, in a word, gratitude. We know we are very fortunate to have the fan base that we do. We know that we have happened upon a special line-up of five guys. We don't take anything for granted and we work very hard to make our albums and live shows the best that they can be.

P-Nut: There are innumerable reasons why we've been able to last and thrive these past twenty years. But for me, our drive, communication, and the undying support from our fans have allowed 311 to continue. We are thankful.Chad: "We've always erred on the side of more material. The decision to have 8 songs was based on quality rather than quantity."

universal_pulse_coverSA: 10 albums? Damn, that's a lot! Hmmm, why have we endured for so long? Not really sure. I guess we've struck a certain chord with some people that continues to resonate. Music's good like that.

Chad: 5 guys that can cooperate, have understanding, perspective and a general leaning towards the attitudes of how to consider that ones own view point may be wrong. These dispositions have enabled us to write and perform music for 20+ years as a single unit. Plus, the love of music helps. Balance.

Was the approach to writing and recording this album any different from your past experiences?

Nick: We felt like we were in a good groove and that it was important for us to get in there and record a fun, uptempo album fairly quickly. We didn't want our fans to have to wait a long time between albums. We feel the quality of the songs and performances is among our best.

SA: Well we did it all at the Hive which I think is a first. Writing, recording, to mixing. Pretty sure that's a first.

P-Nut: The writing was different for me because I was asked to add my ideas/words to infiltrate SA and Nick's voices. I am very happy about writing lyrics. I have lots to say. Being a father really helps with the creativity. Everything is new.

Chad: Choosing the top 8 songs (from a batch of pre-production material) was a bold decision, which made the album stronger. We've always erred on the side of more material. The decision to have 8 songs was based on quality rather than quantity.

How does Universal Pulse stand apart musically from your previous releases?

Nick: More guitars! Tempos are faster and there are no really mellow songs. I think everyone really stepped up and it feels like there is a certain swagger going on.

SA: Shortest album, yet the strongest as well. Very tight and concise. Meant to move ya, lift ya, slap ya around a lil bit, then tossle your hair at the end.

P-Nut: Universal Pulse is a continuation of this musickal experiment called 311. We are full of confidence and wonderment. 311 fans will embrace these new tunes as great additions to their other favorite songs.

Chad: Universal Pulse is a musical journey with a burst of good energy workings to make happiness available in tough times. We make music to help. Hopefully it can inspire and help us humans to embrace love.

What can listeners expect to hear?

Nick: There are a lot of guitar hooks on this record.

SA: Our fans are gonna love this album. I think it's a return to form in many ways, yet refined. We're all refining. Stylistically I think our old-school fans will appreciate the character of some of these songs. I guess that's what I mean when I say a return to form. The energy is great.

P-Nut: Listeners can expect to hear a band at full strength, forever excited about the next step. One thing to be excited about is Sexton's mix, he outdid himself slaving over the tones to make the balance just right.

How was working with Bob Rock for a second time?

Nick: It felt streamlined. We have developed an easy report with Bob Rock. He came to trust our choices to the extent that he didn't need to be there for the recording of every note. He was there for pre-production and drum recording. Then he would pop in every few weeks to check on our tracks of vocals, guitar, etc... We work very well with him. Bob Rock rocks.

SA: Bob is just great. A real smart mofo. For me it's just the little things, the attention to detail that impacts that Big Picture thing.

P-Nut: It was great working with Bob again, he's amazing. Such a talented person with just the right tools to aid our songwriting and get great sonics. We love you Mr. Rock.

Chad: Working with Bob Rock has been nothing but great. The balance he brings to the band is priceless. He has a vast knowledge and a very open attitude of working.

Any interesting stories behind the making of Universal Pulse? or about any of the songs / lyrics?

Nick: "And A Ways to Go" is a real trip. It goes through many movements, building in intensity until the big frolic at the end. SA's raps tell a really vivid story about a dream he had. The song is about the search for meaning and the trip that is life.

SA: I think the most interesting part of this process was naming this little monster, which now that I think about it, would have been thee ISH title! 311 - This Little Monster! Stop the press!! Anyway, this would've been out by now had we knocked out the title before we sat down to discuss tempos and roadmaps. I think we had a dozen meetings or so where we weren't gonna leave until we had a title. Yeah, that worked out real well.

P-Nut: A day at the Hive; me thinking I'm going home to my wife and baby boy. Nick says, "stick around, we are going to write lyrics". Sweet. I call home. All good. Bob, Nick, SA, and I sit down in the control room and Nick asks me, "what do you want to talk about?". And I say (hehe), "let me introduce you to the excitable crew". Lyrics to Timebomb 90% written in about two hours. That's musickal magick right there. I was jazzed for days about those two hours of great creativity.


Do you have any favorite songs or favorite moments on the album?

Nick: "Sunset in July" is about what we love most about being in 311, playing live. "Watching you dancing and having the time of your life." We get off on watching our fans as much as they do us!

SA: I think Weightless and A Ways To Go are my favorite jammies at the moment. There's also a pretty dope turn in Rock On that's VG++.

P-Nut: Much love to the fans for allowing this journey to be fantastic and long. We are going to rock your brains.

311 will head out on a US Summer Tour headlining amphitheatres. The band continues to draw huge crowds, many shows drawing in excess of 10,000 fans. What do you attribute such touring success to? How does the 311 touring machine continue to get bigger and stronger over the years?

Nick: We just do our best every night. The vibe at the shows is a co-creation of us and our fans. It's really cool to be a part of.

SA: Everyone is good at one thing. Ours collectively is touring! Yes. We've been doin' it and doin' it well for years and years. Many try, but fail and fall flat. At that I laugh, "Ah Hahaha! Foolz!" One must sweat to earn the trust of the concert goer! We put a ton of energy into the shows - night after bloody night. I think we're still mastering the art of showmanship but we're inching closer and closer and the concert goer is sniffing out our trail THUS continuing to come to the shows. That is totally the answer as to why we continue to get bigger and stronger and milk has NADA to do with it.

P-Nut: People come to our summer shows to have fun with other positive people. We put on a physical rock show that people want to see over and over. I can't explain why but I sure do appreciate being able to do what I love and spread the funk all over you. Hehe.

Are you excited for the upcoming Unity Tour: 311 and Sublime with Rome? What can people expect from the shows?

Nick: This is going to be a great summer for sure. We have a nice, long summer tour planned and we are stoked that Sublime with Rome will be out on the Unity Tour. And the 311 Pow Wow Festival (our first multi-day camping & music festival) will be especially amazing!

SA: The package this summer has been a dream of mine for a long time. I mean,what's not to love?

P-Nut: I am very excited about playing with Sublime with Rome. This is a dream tour for us and our fans. Everynight of everyshow anywhere in the world, there's always a Sublime shirt or fifty in the audience. This tour will be nothing short of bliss and fascination.

Any other words to your fans?

Nick: Thank you. Gracias. Merci. Arigato.

SA: All I gotta say is you all are the bee's knees! You make a grown man cry. Love, love you guys!

P-Nut: Follow me on twitter @pnut. And thanks for all the fish.


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