This site is woefully short of interviews with metal songwriters. I've been a Lamb of God fan for a while, but it was only recently that I watched the 2014 documentary about the band "As the Palaces Burn." No less a metal god than Slash calls them one of the biggest metal acts in the world in the trailer (below). I was impressed by the introspection and thoughtful responses in the band member interviews, so I figured that Mark Morton, guitarist and songwriter for the band, would make a fantastic interview. And boy was I right.
Bands like Lamb of God are revered in the metal world for their technical prowess. That's no surprise after talking to Morton. Songwriting is a complicated and extracting process for him. He clears his head of "external clutter and inner chaos," then writes music and lyrics separately. Then the hard part: Morton makes sure that the words and music fit perfectly. He says:
If it’s close to being a good fit, to laying over correctly, then I will have to edit by adding or deleting words while still hopefully maintaining the same thought pattern in the lyric.
On a mechanical level, I have to literally edit the syllables so that it locks into the music better. In that sense, it evolves from a point of being purely creative and imaginative, almost like a prose freeform thing, into a technical process where I have to ensure that the words lock in just right and that they are not too wordy. What words can I lose, for example, without losing the meaning? What words can I add to make it flow more naturally? That’s where I become a technician.
Given the groove element of the band's music, it's no surprise that Morton counts Public Enemy and Biggie Smalls as huge influences on his writing. Oh, and his wife helps out too.
Read my interview with Mark Morton of Lamb of God after the trailer for As the Palaces Burn. And when you get to the end of the interview, watch the video,which is another great look at his creative process.