In the new issue of Music Week, we speak to the legendary Alice In Chains all about their new album, Rainier Fog.
Due for release on August 24, the record is both the band’s first for BMG and their first new studio album in half a decade. As a band who have shifted some 30 million records worldwide – not to mention putting the rain-swept Pacific Northwest on the musical map alongside Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden – Rainier Fog easily stands as one of the most highly-anticipated rock releases of 2018.
Indeed, Rainier Fog is an album that very much speaks to the band's rich history, not least in its title referencing Mount Rainier, which looms ominously in the distance of Seattle’s skyline.
“It represents, to me, the obscurity of the outpost of Seattle – a tiny place outside the musical universe,” AIC guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell told Music Week of the title. “It’s the humble beginnings of where we come from and rising through all that and making the impact that we did together.”
You can read what Cantrell and bandmates William DuVall, Sean Kinney and Mike Inez have to say in our feature here. But the creation of the album is just for starters. For its release, AIC have joined BMG’s roster that has already seen a slew of successful rock releases, ranging from Blink-182 and Billy Corgan to A Perfect Circle.
David “Beno” Benveniste, founder at Velvet Hammer Music And Management Group told Music Week why BMG was the perfect fit for Alice In Chains.
“I’ve known Zach Katz for a very long time and appreciate his ability to move quickly, on a dime, and how he brings a very refreshing perspective to the 'label' system,” said Benveniste. “That, coupled with some of the successes they’ve had with bands, clearly indicates that there is a strong toolbox, platform, and hungry people willing to work hard on their bands. I also got to spend some time with Jason Hradil while they worked on the William Patrick Corgan solo record and really appreciate his passion and undying work ethic; it just felt right to me.”
Here Zach Katz, president of repertoire and marketing at BMG US, takes us further inside BMG’s plans for Alice In Chains’ big comeback...
How did BMG and Alice In Chains come to join forces?
"Our relationship with Alice In Chains dates back a number of years and has really developed organically over time with BMG publishing the entire band and their catalogue. Being able to work with a band of this calibre on our recorded side as well, without question, cements our commitment and partnership with the band and their management team at Velvet Hammer."
What specifically appealed to BMG about working with AIC?
"Alice In Chains are one of the defining acts from a musical movement that continues to inspire artists everywhere today. The consistency in the quality of their albums and the fact that they’ve never needed to follow any trends is what makes them truly unique. When you hear an Alice in Chains song, there is no mistaking who it is. We’re very excited to be a part of them continuing to write their story. Being a nod to Seattle, Rainier Fog reaffirms Alice In Chains as one of the most important bands to emerge from that scene. We’re putting the final touches on a big week of events in the Northwest to celebrate the release which will be announced soon."
As a label, what have you learned about working rock acts in the past few years that you’ll be putting into practice with this AIC release?
“Everything revolves around great content. Our artists simply deliver great music and that will cut straight through the noise and assure that the bands’ core fanbase will always be there for them.”
Rainier Fog reaffirms Alice In Chains as one of the most important bands to emerge from the Seattle scene
So how have you gone about getting the word out to AIC fans again?
“The campaign kicked off with the release of The One You Know during the first week of their US tour. It was the first new song to be released in five years and the excitement within the fanbase quickly built a lot of traction. That reaction made it our first official single and the song has already gone Top 10 in the US. The marketing approach of the record is a mix of traditional efforts aimed at their core fanbase and new discovery initiatives that introduce their rich legacy to a new legion of fans.”
The music landscape has changed a lot since they last released an album, how big a focus is streaming this time, or will physical copies still be the priority?
“Rainier Fog is being released digitally as well as on CD and two different versions of a double 180 gram LP. We’re working closely with our major physical and digital partners and have been receiving strong playlisting support so far. Of course, there is a focus on streaming but physical product is as much of a priority as everything in the digital space.”
Subscribers can read the full Alice In Chains interview here. You can hear the band's new song So Far Under below
[Photo: Paul Harries]