By JOHN DALY
Bruce Dickinson has been on the interview circuit for the new Iron Maiden album Senjutsu, which translates to “tactics and strategy,” reflecting the band’s thoughtful approach to the latest release.
Senjutsu is Iron Maiden’s 17th studio album and was produced during some of the most challenging times in Dickinson’s life and for the fans as well.
Dickinson told Audacy interviewer Remy Maxwell that the music on Senjutsu took on a new style, especially the lead track plus the concept video for “The Writing On The Wall.” The animated video got an immediate response from Iron Maiden fans around the world, amassing more than 12 million views to date.
“The idea was to do something to yes, fit the music and also was a stand alone kind of work on its own so we made a special effects version,” Dickinson said. Some of the tracks are longer and reflect vivid storytelling.
“We’ve actually got a couple of tunes on there, like ‘Darkest Hour’ which comes in around seven minutes or something like that,” Dickinson said. “There’s a lot of intro and outro — which is effectively seagulls and waves washing up on a beach. Even the same for ‘Writing on the Wall,’ that’s a lot shorter than the version on YouTube appears. There’s a varied bunch of songs on the record — a trip through all the kinds of styles that the band has embraced over the last 40 years.”
The lockdown time gave Iron Maiden the time to complete the work, he said.
“What the pandemic did … is it actually gave us time to do it,” he said. “It took us eight months. ‘Writing On The Wall,’ that is a little bit left field for us…The concept of the video, once we decided that that was going to be the opening track, we thought it was a fairly catchy tune, a bit more conventional than we normally do. Steve [Harris] really loved it, and said that’s got to be the first track, and we were like okay, cool.”
Dickinson said Iron Maiden has been working on new tracks for Senjutsu during the last few years. And given the situation of the pandemic, the band took a new approach to the production of the video.
“Because of the pandemic we weren’t going to film it with other people because of the restrictions and everything, maybe we should do something with animation,” Dickinson recalled. “We had some friends who used to work at Pixar. So I wrote a story, they storyboarded eight scenes from it, and I went well these are the right guys to produce it with, and we settled on this English company called Blink Ink to do the actual animation. The whole thing took eight months from inception to finishing up.”
During his interview Dickinson touched on his bout with cancer
“I had a fruit bowl growing in my throat,” Dickinson said of his overcoming cancer. He said he has done his best to retain his sense of humor throughout.
“The best solution is to not take life so seriously,” he said. “Because life doesn’t take you seriously.”