In the Studio: Interview with Municipal Waste Guitarist Ryan Waste

Richmond, Virginia's Municipal Waste have just entered the studio to record the follow-up to 2009's Massive Aggressive. We caught up with guitarist Ryan Waste earlier today to talk about the band's upcoming fifth studio, which is due out in early 2012 on Nuclear Blast Records.

Has the songwriting process for the new album been any different than previous albums?

We actually took a whole year off of touring to write a new record, and we've never done that before. We definitely spent a lot more time on it.

On other records we'd be on the road, rushing everything, throwing songs together and not really overanalyzing anything. This time, we put everything under the radar, practiced everyday, kept writing and weeding out the bad stuff and improving on everything.

I definitely think it's the most focused record we've done.

How would you compare this album to [2009's] Massive Aggressive?

I think it's funny that album's called Massive Agressive but this one's way more aggressive. I think this one's faster, more technical and in-your-face. We try to exceed ourselves every time to make it more intense.

Who's producing the new album?

We actually went up to Trax East in New Jersey to work with this guy Eric Rachel, who's been doing stuff since the '80s. He worked on the Skid Row record in the '80s and all these hardcore through the '90s. He's a real seasoned guy and real easy to work with.

We tracked the drums up there and he's probably going to mix the record. We're tracking guitars and vocals down in Richmond and we're going to send the tracks back up to him. He's familiar with the songs now and we get along really well with him, so we trust him with the mix.

I basically sit back and act as the producer on every record anyway. The band really knows how we want things to sound, so I wouldn't call [Eric] a producer, but more of an engineer that's going to do a mix. And we'll make the final call on what it sounds like.

What's your studio rig look like right now?

I'm using a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier, and I add a heavy metal pedal to that and blend the two distortions together. I'm running that through two Marshalls, like an old '60s cab and a more modern one, which is my live setup. We wanted to keep the sound basically like what we sound like live -- no real studio tricks or anything added.

What about your main guitar?

Guitar-wise I'm using my custom MW [Municipal Waste] guitar. I'm a left-hander so I never really got to have a cool guitar, like a real metal guitar, so I had one made. It's definitely "heirloom quality," which is what the luthier who made it likes to say. It's my baby.

It's a piece of work though. It's a big body like a Flying V but it's really light and quick at the same time.

One of my favorite things about the band has always been the song titles. Can you reveal any of the titles that'll be on the new record?

I don't want to give away too much, but I guess I can give away a couple that I came up with. There's one called "Residential Distaster." I think someone messed up our band name in Canada and thought was the name of our band. [laughs]

"What's that band, 'Residential Disaster'?"

"Nah, Municipal Waste, but I'm taking that song title!"

I got to write the lyrics to that one, that was really fun.

Back in the demo days we wanted to name a song "Fatal Feast," which is like a cannabalistic space voyage where everyone gets eaten and the crew and the captain turn into cannibals in outer space.

I don't want to give too much away...

Give me one more.

We'll do "Unholy Abductor," which is a short, fast little number. Real pissed-off sounding.

The as-yet-untitled fifth studio album from Municipal Waste is due out in early 2012 on Nuclear Blast Records

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Josh Hart

Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.