For Skillet's new album Victorious, the group's 10th studio effort, the band decided to try something new. For the first time, they elected to produce the record in-house, with guitarist Korey Cooper taking the role of lead producer.
Speaking to ABC Radio, frontman John Cooper, who produced Victorious in tandem with his wife, explains that doing everything themselves freed up the recording process.
"When you're producing it yourself, you can suck all you want to," John laughs. "It's your money, it's your time."
"You're like, 'Well, we're gonna try something...no, that was stupid,'" he continues. "Sometimes it's really dumb, sometimes it works out really well, and I found that it gave us a real energy...Korey was just kinda let off the leash to do whatever she wanted to do."
That attitude fed into the themes of Victorious, which deals in inspiration and overcoming obstacles. For example, John describes lead single "Legendary" as a song that "might make you run another mile."
"We like those motivational messages," he says.
Beyond that, though, John says that Victorious has a somber edge to it, one that combats what he feels is a cultural pressure for "every day [to be] the best day of your life."
"That's not really accurate," he says. "That's not really a real picture of what life is like. Life is hard. You can be victorious, but you have to get through the battle, it's gonna get dirty."
That somberness is felt in songs like the title track, which John wrote as a letter of sorts to Linkin Park's Chester Bennington, who died by suicide in 2017.
"I just wanted to write a song that could, I hope, encourage people out there to know that they're not alone," he says.
Victorious is out today.
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