Synyster Gates Explains How Hip-Hop Inspired Guitar Tones on New Avenged Sevenfold Album, Calls It a ’Guitar-Centric’ Record

As Avenged Sevenfold are slowly preparing for the release of their “Life Is but a Dream…” album, guitarist Synyster Gates appeared in an interview with the 101.1 WJRR over at the Welcome to Rockville festival. Since we waited for a long time after 2016’s “The Stage,” he was asked what made this album so hard to make. Syn replied (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):

“Covid was tough, writing was tough… The older that you get, the less you just throw yourself into a situation where you start writing shit that can’t sound the same but you’re not Mr. I-can-do-fuckin’-anything.”

Avenged Sevenfold - Nobody (Official Video)

“You’re older, you run out of goodies at some point. So finding unique inspiration was big. And then, being able to execute, figuring out how to make those sounds a reality.”

He also added:

“When we went in to record drums, I believe in June of 2020, the restrictions have lifted barely, meaning you could get into facilities. So we were at Henson Studios to do drums and everybody’s got masks and you’re taking your [body temperature] measurements, there’s only a few people in there at a time…”

Avenged Sevenfold Perform “Nobody” LIVE for the first time!! 5/12/23 Las Vegas!!

“And it was really tough to be creative. You see some people walking by and you’re like ‘Ah, it’s Justin Bieber!’ Just crazy.”

“But we got it done and we’re just super proud of it. But yeah, it was a lot of work.”

When reminded of the band’s single “Nobody” and how the guitar tone was completely different, Syn was also asked about how he got the inspiration for these types of sounds. He replied:

“Not in an exact sort of manner, a lot of it came from experimenting and finding our own sounds and what I call, like, ‘soundscapes.’ But, like, a lot of hip-hop.”

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He also added:

“So figuring out the different soundscapes and how that applies to our DNA so we don’t sound like we’re making a Kanye [West] record or anything.”

“This is the most guitar-centric record, by far. It’s all fucking guitar and it’s all fucking crazy. But we really wanted to not just into a fucking bridge where get into some clean or fucking halftime shit or just bringing the chorus back in a different way.”

“It was like ‘How do fuck do we make these soundscapes, these riffs, these things that will sound like Avenged, but how do we make them fresh? And how do you hear guitar like for the first time for the guys who have been playing guitar their whole lives? How do we have them hear it for the very first time with brand new ears or eyes?”

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And, as he further explains, doing this album wasn’t the usual metal riffage that we’re all too familiar with. Even with such a guitar-centric album, as he explained, they strayed away from what the fanbase already knows of, all while trying to, somehow, stay true to their style. Gates added:

“I plugged into a fucking amp, I tried it a couple of times [and started playing] stale Metallica riffs, stale Avenged riffs, stale old Pantera riffs. Like, I was just done with it. The band was done. So we had to go somewhere else.”

To conclude, Syn shared a humorous remark on how they came up with the album:

“And Kanye had us over for a sleepover and after a few pillow fights, we were writing ‘Life Is but a Dream.”

Avenged Sevenfold (Full Set) | Rockville 2023 | (5/19/2023) @ Daytona International Speedway

But we’re 100% certain that there was no Kanye sleepover.

Going more into it, Syn was asked how much he practices these days and whether he simply just wakes up with the guitar in order to keep himself on the, as interviewers said “The Mount Rushmore of guitar players.” He replied:

“I’m certainly not, in my mind, on the face of the Mt. Rushmore. But what I would consider the best guitar players to have accomplished [that] is beyond playing solo guitar. I’m more impressed when somebody that can do this craziest shit that you’ve ever heard write a song.”

“Like Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme, ‘More Than Words’… Are you kidding me? He can do that too? That fucking touches my soul.”

“So that’s what I try to provide. I try to write, I try to produce, I try to orchestrate, and our entire band thinks like a multi-hyphenate in that sort of thing. It’s how many different dimensions can we bring to the table. So it’s like ‘He always does that, that’s our one-trick-pony guy over there that does that, one-trick-pony guy over there.’ It gets stale after a while.”

Recently, Synyster Gates has been seen playing an unusual headless guitar at Avenged Sevenfold shows. Particularly, this instrument is used for their new song “Nobody.” While we still don’t know many details about this instrument, it seems that we’ve got a one-off headless prototype for Syn Gates by Schecter. For more info, read our report here.

Photos: Altriascarlett13 (Avenged-sevenfold-synyster-gates)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.