The phrase “super group” is thrown around a lot, but Serpentine Dominion really are a super group. They are made up of Adam D from Killswitch Engage, George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher from Cannibal Corpse and Shannon Lucas (ex- The Black Dahlia Murder and All That Remains). In November 2016 I got the chance to speak to Shannon about the project’s origins, recording the album, finding time for the project, the term super group, the band’s future plans and President Donald Trump.
Jack: Good evening, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you?
Shannon Lucas (Drums): I’m doing great Jack. Life is great. I hope you’re well.
Jack: The origins to Serpentine can be traced back to 2009 at Mayhem Festival. Does it still seem surreal to this day how the project came about?
Shannon: This project is absolutely surreal. I’ll probably always be amazed that I got to play drums on a project with some of my music heroes. It’s funny to me that the original idea of this project was formed in a parking lot.
Jack: At what point did the project become a reality and the writing begun?
Shannon: I think Adam started writing and collecting ideas shortly after Mayhem. I’m pretty sure he waited till he had three songs fully written and demoed with fake drums before he sent me any material. I was blown away and then it really hit me that this was gonna happen.
Jack: Who came up with the name?
Shannon: Oddly enough the name of the band came at the very end. We had recorded, mixed, and mastered the record before any art or names had been decided on. It was something we had talked about long before but had no clue. I guess we figured the lyrical direction would help flush out the name. I believe either Jesse or Adam thought of the name based on the overall theme of the album. Everyone loved it so that was that.
Jack: Jesse Leach from Killswitch Engage wrote the lyrics to this project. Did he decide to make the lyrics a deliberate departure from the usual writing material or was he told to do so?
Shannon: I think we all, including Jesse, wanted a different lyrical direction as to Killswitch and Cannibal. It seemed fitting given the times we are in currently. I think a lot of the content is on everyone’s mind at some point. We wanted this record to stand alone and not sound too much like either person’s band.
Jack: Was he always intended to write the lyrics?
Shannon: Originally George was supposed to write the lyrics but due to his busy schedule, he eventually decided it would be better to have someone step in and ghost write the lyrics. So naturally we called apon Jesse to help. He’s a great lyricist and a tremendous singer himself so I was honoured to collaborate with him. This made it easier for George to just fly in and record.
Jack: Given the other bands busy schedules, was it hard finding time for the recording process?
Shannon: This project was definitely difficult to record because of everyone’s busy schedules. Adam did all the recording and mixing so it all revolved around his schedule ultimately. I was able to come up and record a little easier since I wasn’t touring anymore when drums were tracked. George had to fly in during is downtime with Cannibal, and mixing had to be done when Adam was home and had free time. This has a lot to do with why this project took a long time to come out.
Jack: What was the actual recording process like?
Shannon: Well, like I said, I was able to drive up to Massachusetts in a van with my drums and track drums over a couple days with Adam. He was able to record at home during his free time. George had to fly in from Florida when he had time off tour. So I think they finished in two trips. The mixing was done during Adam’s free time as well. So all in all it was a fairly relaxed recording process due to us not having a timeline to adhere to.
Jack: Did having no expectations or pressure help at all?
Shannon: Exactly. Not having a timeline or any real schedule to operate within, we were able to get the record done at our pace in between everyone’s busy schedule. Normal album recording processes revolve around a strict deadline. This can be quite stressful.
Jack: When it was announced in the metal media that you three were working together, do you think the project was hyped up too much?
Shannon: I don’t believe the hype was too much. I think the initial talk made a splash in metal news but because we chose to not talk about it much until things got closer to completion, a lot of people forgot about the project or thought it was never gonna happen.
Jack: How does it feel being described as a super group?
Shannon: Super Group is flattering. I think Adam and George are super. I like being in a band with guys that I look up to. I’ve always felt like they could have anyone they wanted playing drums so I’m honoured.
Jack: Are you happy with the response to the album?
Shannon: I think the response to the album has been great so far. I haven’t heard anything negative. I feel like the album is exactly what we meant for it to be and people think it sounds as they might have imagined.
Jack: The album was released on Metal Blade. Was it always the intention to release it with them? What has it been like working with them?
Shannon: When the album was conceived and during the first few years of writing, George and myself were in Metal Blade bands. I feel like it sounds like a Metal Blade release, and it only made sense since two out of three of us were Metal Blades artists. Adam had discussed this with Brian Slagel and he was on board right away. So yeah, this has been the plan since the beginning.
Jack: Have there been any new developments on performing the album live?
Shannon: Of course people have mentioned live performances and whether we plan on doing any shows. To be honest everyone is busy and those dudes tour so hard that they’re tired. It would be kind of hard to work around everyone’s schedules and we would need a lot of practice to be solid at these songs live. So as it stands there aren’t any plans for live performances.
Jack: Aside from the album would you perform songs from your other bands live?
Shannon: I doubt anyone wants to play their other band’s songs live in a different band.
Jack: What are your non Serpentine related plans that are coming up?
Shannon: Well I play drums for fun so I’ll do that. I have no other music related plans currently. I work in cyber security as my day job so I’ll just continue to hack stuff. [Smiles].
Jack: Finally, what are your thoughts on President Trump?
Shannon: Trump is a clown. I believe what Michael Moore said, that he won’t last the full term. He’ll either get impeached for doing something unknowingly illegal to fatten his wallet, or he’ll resign cause this probably is a game to him.
Jack: Do you feel bands are asked about politics too much?
Shannon: I don’t know if they’re asked too much, but there are definitely very politically driven bands and they have messages they want to be heard. It’s not a bad topic, just not everyone’s thing I suppose.
Jack: Thanks for your time and I hope to see Serpentine live in the UK at some point!
Shannon: Thanks for having me. Hope to see everyone soon.