A long time ago, Tool put out an album. And while we’ve been throwing the follow-up to 2016’s 10,000 Days in our “albums we’re looking forward to in 20–” list for years now, there’s been little progress to report. There has been some news to report here and there, but usually it’s from Tool’s webmaster, and it’s somewhat shrouded in secrecy and in the middle of news about Danny Carey playing jazz or something. An interview with bassist Justin Chancellor in Bass Player magazine is perhaps the most substantial news we’ve gotten this year, however. Stating that they’re “deep into the writing process” and have narrowed things down into big groups of ideas, he spoke more about the writing process:
“Adam and I usually have the source material we’ve come up with together here. We’re playing pretty much nonstop right now, so a lot of ideas are coming out. Often, Danny and I will be playing something and Adam will rush into the room and tell us to record it, and then we’ll spend the rest of the day working on it to see if it’s worthwhile. And of course we have a whole treasure chest of ideas on our phones that we record on our own.
Basically, Adam and I have riffs and Danny has rhythms or different time-signature beats, and we try to keep them basic before bringing them in to see what the other members will do with them. We establish a riff so we and the listener can identify it, and then we say, Okay, now how far away from it can we go on this journey?”
Chancellor also said that it can take several months to work on a song, stating about how they’re ok with taking their time:
Writing is a grueling process for us, and once we finish an album, we go on tour for a couple of years. Plus, we’re always very involved in our own business, so we need a break when we come back. We’ve also been through a lot of difficult lawsuits, which we deal with ourselves, and they’re a bit of a bummer and not inspiring creatively. But we’ve fought to be in this position, and it’s almost a responsibility now to take the time to explore special concepts while we’re on this planet. We’re our own worst critics; we’re doing our best to find something that blows us all away, and we want each other to be completely happy with what we produce. I’m excited that there’s going to be another album and the material will be very inspiring. So why rush it now?
It’s probably the most open anyone in Tool has been in a while about how they work. He doesn’t seem to have the contempt for his fans that Keenan has, and although Adam Jones has spoken about progress, it’s usually via Instagram. Head over to Bass Player to read the whole thing.