Lisa Sanchez of El Paso, Texas’s KLAQ 95.5 FM radio station recently conducted an interview with AVENGED SEVENFOLD bassist Johnny Christ. You can now listen to the chat below.

Asked how new AVENGED SEVENFOLD drummer Brooks Wackerman‘s playing style influenced the sound of the band’s latest album, “The Stage”, Christ said: “Well, it was heavily influenced by that, to be honest. From the beginning of talking with Brooks, and before we even really started putting the pen to the paper, we knew that we wanted his… we wanted to let him go, we wanted his raw sound. We knew what he was capable of and his feel on everything, and we loved the way that just the natural-sounding drums sound. Not a lot of hard rock bands are just letting it all be — they’re adding a lot of samples on things, or effects or whatever — and we just wanted the drums to be raw so you could really hear what Brooks Wackerman is capable of.”

“The Stage” came out late last month. The group made the album available at midnight on October 27 with almost no promotion beforehand, save for the arrival of a new song one week earlier.

The surprise release of the disc, which was announced the night it went on sale, earned the lowest sales of an AVENGED SEVENFOLD album in 11 years — less than half the tally of its previous two efforts.

“The Stage” is a 71-minute, 11-song concept album centered around the theme of artificial intelligence and inspired by the work of Carl Sagan and Elon Musk. Instead of a science fiction storyline, however, “The Stage” takes what a press statement called “a futurist’s look at the accelerated rate at which technology’s intelligence is expanding and what that means — good and bad — for the future.”

The album’s epic 15-minute-plus closing track, “Exist”, features a guest appearance by award-winning astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, giving a spoken-word performance he penned specifically for the album.

The marketing plan and launch of the album, the band’s first for Capitol Records, was months in the making, starting with the projection of the band’s logo, the Deathbat, on buildings in cities around the world. The campaign even included some misdirection, as the group had its friend Chris Jericho “accidentally” leak a fake album title and release date.