Fuse recently chatted with 311 frontman Nick Hexum about his debut solo effort, My Shadow Pages, and in the process got an exclusive update on his day job: the Omaha-bred alt-rock quintet is currently at work in SoCal on their untitled 11th album, which will drop next year.
"We've got a great new batch of songs written," Hexum tells Fuse. "There are a lot of great rock riffs and [drummer] Chad [Sexton] keeps mentioning that he wants it to be danceable, so that's what he's going for in his drum parts. There are a lot of harmonies and more rapping than there was on the previous record [2011's Universal Pulse] because that's what the riffs called for. There's definitely some retro sounding moments, too."
Hexum added that after two decades together, the quintet had to experiment to hold their interest and avoid being "rote and routine." "Anything that sounded innovative and new is what we pursued," he says.
He describes one untitled track as a "crazy epic" that "actually quotes Bach and goes into this crazy math-metal outro with dual sweep arpeggio guitars."
"It's pretty out there," he adds.
311 reunited with producer Scott Ralston, who produced Transistor and "worked on a lot of our albums in some capacity, mixing or engineering," says Hexum.
And for the first time the songwriting is more collaborative, a shift influenced by Hexum's solo debut, which features co-writers on each track.
"[Ralston] is like a sixth band member, as far as the writing," says Hexum. "We'll sit in the control room and brainstorm and talk things out. The writing credits on this 311 album will be the most complicated yet. It's cool. That's a way to keep it fresh."