Angus: “Yeah, trick… I wish we knew the trick! Really, it’s just that, you know, you just try to make good rock music. That’s how we play as a band, you know, it’s that format. It’s just the two guitars, the drum, the bass, the singing… It’s the format and that’s how it always comes out. It sounds like AC/DC.”
2. On „Rock Or Bust“ the band sounds youthful and fresh, just like twentysomethings. How did you capture that spirit?
Cliff: “That’s because we ARE fresh and young like twentysomethings…”
Angus: “It’s probably because if you had a little bit of a break you get a chance to recharge your batteries. Every album is a challenge for you to do but, you know, we had a good producer with Brendan O’Brien and he helps also. ‘Cause he comes out of the attitude, he’s an AC/DC fan. So he wants to bring out what he believes are the core elements of AC/DC.”
3. Brendan O’Brien produced the last album as well. Was there a difference between the last recording sessions and the ones for the new album?
Angus: “This one probably was quicker. We had done most of this…”
Cliff: “…in four weeks. The last one prior to this was seven weeks. This is quick.”
Angus: “It was very quick, yes.”
Cliff: “A new record for a record.”
Cliff: “Actually ‘Highway To Hell’ was three weeks I think, but we didn’t have any money then.”
Angus: “Yes, we ran out of money…”
5. The band members are spread all over the world. How does the songwriting process look like under these circumstances?
Angus: “Well, the songwriting process has very much been the same. Even for this new album, it has been the same approach. It’s been the same for any album we’ve ever done. You use ideas, some new ideas, some old ideas that were good ideas, but you never have used before. ‘Cause over the years you have a lot of ideas that sometimes you’d not finish. You have a good riff here and there and a good chorus and sometimes you just notice something and go: ‘Oh these two go together’, it was like they were made for each other. But that has always been part of AC/DC.”
6. How does that work from a more technical point of view? Do you send each other files with the music/ideas to overcome the geographical distance?
Angus: “Well, a lot of the writing went with me and my brother Malcolm, he’s not with us now. So a lot of that… we always kind of did it together. We worked everything out, mainly on the music side, and usually we had a lot of good ideas together, then we would let the guys know: ‘We are ready to roll, we got a lot of good material’. And when everyone’s got a free calendar we hook up and then we start recording.”
7. So Malcolm was involved in the songwriting process for this album?
Angus: “In the songwriting for the… yes. Because a lot of Malcolms ideas are in it, you know. He was still putting ideas out, he was still doing material even though… He came to a point where he stopped but he kept going with the energy that he had. And which I’ve got, you know. He made sure to tell me nearly all new ideas that he had.
8. But he was not involved in the recording?
Angus: “No, he wasn’t. My nephew Stevie, he did the role of Malcolm.”
9. Did he play on every track on the album?
Angus: “Yes, yes. He plays… he has that style. He plays rhythm the same as Malcolm does.”
10. When did you start working on the new album?
Angus: “When? Erm… basically when we came off the road. We had a break of a few weeks and then I just dropped back into it. Just started working again, start writing songs.”
11. When and where did the recordings take place?
Angus: “The recordings were done in Vancouver in Canada. We’ve done a lot of albums in Vancouver. We did ‘Black Ice’, the last album, also in Vancouver.”
Cliff: “Long before that studio we used another, the ‘Little Mountain Studio’, with Bruce Fairbairn, when he was alive.”
Angus: “’Cause we did ‘Razor’s Edge’ then. That’s right, yeah.”
12. Could you please name two or three standout tracks and could you please tell us a little bit about them?
Angus: “Standout tracks… Well, ‘Rock Or Bust’, the opening track, it’s a great track, great rock track, yeah… And when Brendan heard it straight away he thought: `Hey, this is great, it’s got a great rock hook!’, he was very happy when he heard it. He picked out all the tracks. He said: ‘This works, and this works and this works’ and when he thought it was a new idea, he nodded: ‘Yes, it sounds exciting’.
Cliff: “I’ve got to throw in ‘Miss Adventure’ and ‘Emission Control’”.
13. The running time of the album is comparably short, pretty „old school“. Was that intentional?
Angus: “Yeah, it’s a throwback probably to the sixties time more than anything. In the sixties, they had very short, but big songs. We were aiming for that. And Brendan also pointed out: ‘The tighter we make the songs, the more excitement we gonna get’. So a lot of it was stripping it down and making it short. And we kept packing in as much punch as we could. And he said: ‘Hey, an AC/DC show is exciting, you want something that goes: ‘Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!’ so that was his approach to it.”
14. So the songs on the album is just the amount of songs you recorded? Or did you write more?
Angus: “Yeah, we had a few other ideas that were there. In case something didn’t work. But he more or less went through a lot what we had and he said even before we got there: ‘Oh, these work well’. And if he thought there was something else he’d say: ‘What else have you got in your big bag?’
Angus: “Well, that was myself, it was basically the song itself, the line itself, because the line was: ‘in rock we trust, it’s rock or bust’. And I thought it was a very strong and good title. It defines AC/DC. And it has defined us from the beginning. It sounded very strong and everyone knows we’re a rock band. So it was a go-for-broke attitude we’ve always had.”
16. Were you involved in the creating/choosing of the artwork for “Rock or Bust”?
Angus: “The artwork! Well we didn’t have a lot to do with that. There were some ideas when we gave away the title of the album. And the record company had different ideas and they showed us some drafts, we saw a couple. And I saw this unique 3D cover and I thought: ‘Oh, wow! That’s clever. Gotta have that’. Yes.”
17. Everybody is looking forward to your next tour. Is there anything you can tell us about it yet?
Cliff: “It’s still in the works right now. We don’t really know. Maybe if you hear you can tell. But it will be next year.”
Angus: “Yes. We will make sure it’s a great show of course.”
18. Why does it always take the band so long to release an album?
Angus: “Why we take so long? This time we came off the road from two years of touring for the last album. We had a little bit of a break and then, with Malcolm being ill, we had a delay because we didn’t know how he was gonna be. We hoped that his condition would stabilize but unfortunately the condition is a regression. And when he couldn’t continue to go on it was up to us: ‘do we keep going?’ and does Malcolm himself want that, too… But he always felt: ‘You always keep going’. That’s basically why we stuck to it, that’s how it is. And then it was a case of: ‘Well, if we want to go forward we need to start putting songs together and get ready’.
19. Millions and millions of people all around the world (regardless of age, gender, religion) adore AC/DC. Do you have an explanation for that?
Angus: “Well, I think we are very lucky in a way. We built up a very strong base right from the start. There are a lot of people who like rock music and like what we’ve done. I think a lot of it is luck and we were sometimes here at the right time and we struck a chord with the people who like it.”
Cliff: “And we kept it consistent as well, I think.”
20. Do you have an idea why you are so extremely popular in Germany, maybe more than in any other country?
Angus: “It’s probably from the beginning you know. When we first came to Germany, the country had a great reputation for discovering a lot of music. I mean The Beatles were big in Germany before anywhere else. And for that alone you get a medal, you know. You did recognize straight away that there was something there. We’ve been very lucky when we’ve come here and when we played, our audience got bigger. When we first came here we played small clubs and small theatres. And they got bigger each time we toured. So we were very fortunate – we were hitting the right notes somewhere here.”
Cliff: “And it’s a great audience here.”
21. What do you feel is your musical legacy?
Angus: “Our musical legacy? Hm. Well, you hope when people think of rock’n’roll they will go: ‘AC/DC was a good display of that rock’n’roll’. So if we’ve done that we have succeeded.”
Dit interview ontvingen we van het platenlabel van AC/DC.