SLAYER - A Chat with Tom Araya, Part III Page 4
by Tim Henderson

MTH: 28 minutes and absolutely no filler...

Araya: "Yeah ... but the filler ends up being the second album (laughs). I'm being serious. Rubin was working with SYSTEM OF A DOWN on one of their recent records, and he said they had over 30 songs. And out of those 30 songs they were going to pick out songs for the album. And I thought 'wow, that's great you have so many songs, but now you have to pick the better ones of the bunch?' And to us, when we're in that song-writing process and a song is being worked out; rather than working on something and not liking it, we go with what we know. We go with how it feels and whether we want to spend time working on it. It gets trashed immediately. If it's something that's not grooving, it gets trashed. But we save all the good bits! If we have a song that's going in the right direction, that's the one that gets worked out. And we all have to like it - we all give our opinions. We just tell the person 'this song sucks.' That's how this band is. If something sounds great and we all say 'this sounds awesome,' we collectively work on the song. You work on the ones you like and you enjoy and try to make those even better. The songs on the last album (Christ Illusion) had stood the test of time cuz they'd been around for four years. When I first got the stuff on disc from Jeff (Hanneman) and then Kerry, it sounded OK. Then they did a demo. I gave the music some time and I came back to town and we worked out the music even more. We demoed more songs. Dave (Lombardo) and Kerry recorded some more demos. Then they sent me the music and I'd listen to it to see what I like and what I didn't like. All the songs weren't bad - musically they were pretty cool songs. There were one or two that were weak. Then we ended up with the ten songs - actually 11. We had a total of 15 songs, but 11 were the ones we were focusing on. We knew the other ones weren't going anywhere. So we recorded those 11 for the label."

MTH: How does Christ Illusion sit with you today?

Araya: "Yeah, yeah, I'm still happy ... the album came out great. Coming back a year later and doing the song I couldn't do - cuz we did ten songs, but we had 11 recorded. I was going to work on the last song ('Final Six') during the last week of recording, but I didn't get a chance to. Exactly a year later we were in the studio and I was finishing up the last song. Kerry and Jeff had to throw some solos in there too. Of course that song was put on the reissue of the album. In the course of four years, every time I listened to those songs I thought they sounded great. To me, that's the important thing about music - if it can stand the test of time, you've got something good there. I can listen to the record and enjoy it. Recording that new song and making that song a part of the album - the song was really exciting. It was a really energetic song. It really went well with the album - it wasn't a song that was written out of place."