In 2015, four years of in-action can be a disaster for a band, big or small, and of course Disturbed are no exception to this rule. Yet their legion of fans across the world exploded like giddy school children when the band announced that not only were they back in the proverbial saddle, but had a new album on its way. Disturbed’s guitarist and key songwriter, Dan Donegan spoke with Killyourstereo.com recently about the band’s return and their new album, ‘Immortalized’.

Disturbed is such a house-hold name yet with a four year hiatus, were guys worried that the impact and draw of Disturbed may have lessened? As a few years off can do some damage to a band.

We’ve always known how loyal our fan base is. I have to admit that I was nervous about being gone for four years, if they would all return when we decided to come back. It just goes to show how committed they have been to Disturbed. I cannot thank them enough, as they’ve given us such a long career.

Even for us, we were anxious towards the end of the break. Once the phone calls started and the ideas of writing again, it just got us going, and that was only three years into it. We didn’t want to announce anything, as we didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up too early, as we wanted to drop a big surprise on everyone.

I like the secrecy and how all you handled it, and with the album, you guys wrote that almost in secret last year, right?

Yeah, we got together in Las Vegas with producer Kevin Churko [Papa Roach, In This Moment, Hinder]. We first met him in July of 2014 and we hit it off right away, it was like having another band member. We just connected right away. His place is just 10 minutes south of the Vegas Strip, so it was a little tricky not to be seen, so we were all incognito and pulling the ninja moves so as to not be seen together (laughs). The beauty of this album is that we didn’t give ourselves a deadline, so we just kept writing the until we thought we had the best album we could.

That’s good to hear man, sounds like you had a really good atmosphere to work in. With not being seen, do you get noticed on the streets?

Yeah, here and there. Obviously being in Vegas, if anyone saw us we could just say that we’re in Vegas, just because (laughs). It wouldn’t be shocking. A few times we got noticed going out to lunch or dinner, and it was easy enough to go squash those rumors. Anytime people started getting suspicious we used the one thing that could hurt us the most – social media – by posting when we weren’t at the studio. Like I would fly home and post things with my wife or kids, so people would think that we weren’t recording, so it worked in our favour to get them off the scent.

Wow, that’s actually quite savvy of you dudes. One of the new songs that really sticks out for me is that Simon & Garfunkel cover of ‘The Sound Of Silence’, which was a really surprising and different sound for Disturbed. How did that cover come about?

The Sound Of Silence cover came about a long while ago as we had a challenge to take an old song and turn it into a Disturbed song. That’s always the tricky thing, as you want to pay respect to the original artist, but you don’t want to do a bastardised version, you know? As we got further into the album making process, we were thinking outside the box with what songs [we could cover], and Mike mentioned Simon & Garfunkel. It was my suggestion to go down the way we did musically, which caught everyone off guard, because the typical response is to get some big riffs and bombastic drums. So I told the guys that that’s just such a predictable thing for us, so lets take it to an area we haven’t gone to before and take some chances.

I really had a vision for David [Draiman, vocals] of him putting himself out there and being vulnerable and it took a lot of convincing and they put the trust in me. And he killed it. Once we found the right key to put David into a place vocally that the fans haven’t seem him in before. I don’t think he really understood how well it was sounding when he was tracking it and came out of the vocal booth and hearing it for the first time. Like holy shit, that song really turned out well for all of us. It was a great challenge and it seems to be getting a really overwhelming positive response for it.

Oh yeah, they’re really quite surprising and diverse. I think some people write you off as not being like that in the slightest.

With us, it’s always being about pushing ourselves. We always write for ourselves, and we don’t think about the outside world, and we’ve done this since we were just a garage band in Chicago. So we’re always going to try and evolve a little, as we have over 100 songs written together, I want to present something new that will inspire David to sing to. These other three guys are the only ones I write for, and we’re so lucky that we have a strong chemistry within us that when we write, David writes lyrics that really do mean something. It’s not just gibberish. It’s all of our feelings, our thoughts and our opinions, and David really helps to put it out there, whether you like it or not (laughs).

We’ve also never collaborated as much as we have with this record, and we were all so much more involved with lyrics, riffs, beats, and melodies. We’ve always been respectful of each other, but this is the most open we’ve been with each other, no damaging of any egos or anything like that.

Disturbed’s ‘Immortalized’ is out now via Warner.


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