Tom Morello shared with us what he thinks is one of the most important factors in making a good song: having the “What The Fuck” factor.
What exactly is the "what the heck" factor you might be asking? Well, according to the Rage Against the Machine guitarist, that means a bit of a shock factor.
Morello released his second solo album, The Atlas Underground Fire, last month and spoke to Guitar World magazine about playing "outrageously and uncompromisingly great rock & # 39; n & # 39; roll".
“That was the common thread through everything, regardless of whether it is an Atlas Underground record or an Audioslave record. I have to feel a ram air, but I also want it to challenge me, ”he explained.
"Vernon Reid called it the 'what the fuck' factor, you know? For example, when you put on a record and hear what a guitar has to be, but it can't possibly be a guitar, you think, 'What the hell?'
“I remember thinking about it again and again as a young person and as a young guitarist. With every record I make, I try to include as many 'what the fuck?' Factors as possible. "
Elsewhere in the interview, Morello revealed that the inspiration for the new album he created during the pandemic came from an unexpected source.
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"Honestly, it was a time of great anxiety and depression," Morello told Guitar World. "Oddly enough," he continues, "the inspiration … came from Kanye West."
“He talked about how he recorded the vocals for some of his big hits on the voice memo on his phone,” recalls Morello. “And I was like, well, I have a voice memo on my phone. Can I record guitar riffs that easily? So I did. "
Those riffs, he continues, “sounded kind of great, so I started sending them out to various engineers and producers around the world. And that was the genesis of The Atlas Underground Fire. "
Throughout the interview, Morello touched on the roles both the West and the pandemic played in creating Atlas Underground.
“This is a record that emerged from the lockdown. From the time I was 17 to the time the world collapsed in March 2020, I had an uninterrupted creative engine of writing, recording, and performing. And everything came to a screeching standstill. I have to tell you the guitar sounded damn good recorded with my voice memo app.
“For the first four months or so I was absolutely helpless. You know I have a nice studio in my house but I don't know how to deal with it. I don't know how to move any of the buttons. So I thought, 'I won't be able to do shows. I won't be able to record music. "
“But then I read an interview in which Kanye West said he recorded the vocals for some of his big hits using the voice memo on his phone. So I did that. "
You can find more information on this topic in the Classic Rock Observer.