During a recent virtual interview with Flood Magazine, Tool and Puscifer’s Maynard James Keenan was asked to explain why there has been a change in the mood of his music, and Keenan’s response was a surprising one for the listeners and readers.

As you probably know, Maynard James Keenan founded the rock supergroup Puscifer in 1995 and he is the only permanent member as the other members are often changing. Maynard has worked with over 10 people and after a 5-year break, the supergroup released a new album.

Puscifer’s 4th studio album, ‘Existential Reckoning‘ was released on Halloween this year, on October 30. It has already achieved critical acclaim and has received positive views. Although the music Puscifer usually created was whimsical, humorous, and a funny criticism of important matters, their latest electro-rock album has a more serious tone.

In a recent interview, Maynard was asked why he decided to adopt a more serious tone in their last album. Maynard’s answer, paired with vocalist Carina Round’s response cleared the air about why the supergroup has gone down a different path.

When the interviewer asked Maynard why they have decided to adopt a new attitude, he said that they did not do anything deliberately but that he was rather ‘reacting to what Mat put in front of me in a folder.’ As you might recall, Mat Mitchel is the person who co-produced, recorded, and mixed the new album and is also the musician playing the guitar, bass, and keys.

Maynard said that he just worked on what Mat gave him and the music he created was not a deliberate attempt towards seriousness but just a reaction to the work he came across. He stated that he just existed at the moment and created the music that he felt he should.

Here’s what Maynard said:

“I was just reacting to what Mat put in front of me in a folder. As far as headspace? That’s hard to put a finger on. It’s really just reacting to sound, the moment. The song. Anything now in hindsight.”

At this point, Carina Round chimed in and said that Maynard was responsible for the lyrics but everything else that can be found in ‘Existential Reckoning’ is a product of their instincts. She added that maybe it is they who got more serious which in turn shaped the music they created.

Then Carina Round chimed in and added:

“The lyrics are down to Maynard. Everything else is just instinct. Each of us is reacting to what the other person is doing, and then reacting, instinctually, going back and forth between us. Either peeling away the layers or adding layers on. We’re just absorbing the world around us as artists. Maybe we just got more serious.”

Maynard also discussed the logistical aspect of their previous recordings and albums while refusing that they got more serious. He said that their first album for example was recorded in hotels, buses, and dressing rooms which affected the tone of the vocals. Thus, the vocals of the first album ended up being lower register.

He tried to demonstrate how circumstances have affected their album recording which can be detected in the music they created. Thus, he explained how the ‘serious tone’ of their new album was not something that they deliberately worked on but a circumstantial outcome.

Maynard finished his answer by saying:

“I don’t know that I see that we got more serious. Maybe it’s logistics. Example: The first album was recorded while we were on the road with Mat as a tech for one of the other bands. We recorded it in hotels, on the backs of buses, and in dressing rooms. Logistically speaking, recording in hotels, you’re just a wall away from people, and you don’t wish to disturb strangers. You notice, there, that so many of the vocals on that first album are lower register. That’s because I wasn’t screaming in my hotel room—an absolute logistical reaction to the circumstances that we were already in.”

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