10/21/2013 03:59 EDT

Metallica 'Dances' With New Material For 10th Album: 'We've Got A lot Of The Basic Stuff Waded Through'


Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich says they've had a few "dances" with new material and have been grading parts to potentially be used for songs for their tenth album. He calls their writing process "peculiar."

The legendary metal band, which has sold 110 million albums worldwide over 30 years, hasn't released a studio album since 2008's "Death Magnetic" and that came five years after "St. Anger." It will likely be seven years between albums by the time this new album comes out.

Paired up separately to do interviews for their 3D movie, "Metallica: Through The Never", singer James Hetfield and guitarist Kirk Hammett are less revealing than Ulrich.

Hetfield says they need a concentrated time period to really buckle down. "Writing music is somewhat important to us," he understates, smiling. "We focus. Focus."

"That's the plan," adds Hammett. "We'll start writing the album. We were supposed to start last year [laughs] but there you have it; we'll see how it goes."

Ulrich, who is teamed with bassist Robert Trujillo for his interview, opens up a bit more about the next album when asked if Metallica has next year penciled off to write and record.

"We do," says Ulrich. "We are looking forward to making a record."

"It's not even penciled anymore," says Trujillo. "We're going to have to do this."

"Up at HQ in northern California, we've already done, what, two or three dances there," says Ulrich. "We've got a lot of the basic stuff waded through. When we write, we have a very peculiar writing process; we don't sit down and go, 'Okay, A to E to let's come up with something.' Ninety-five percent of our records come from jams -- literally pre-concert jams, tuning room jams, all this kind of stuff -- so everything we do is always recorded," he explains.

"The biggest time consuming element of us making a record is listening to all the stuff that we've recorded. So there's five years worth of stuff. We've listened to about 80 per cent of it. We've done two or three dances maybe, collectively six weeks to just listen through the ideas and kind of grade them."

"Process of elimination, too, at the same time," Trujillo interjects.

Continues Ulrich: "Grade them. Five stars, four stars, three stars, and then we take all the five stars bits and try to make songs out of them."

"But during that time we're having a blast, really a lot of fun doing it," ads Trujillo, "so if we can continue with that spirit, we're gonna have a good time making this record."

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