Speaking in a new interview, Morello discussed how West inspired the album, which is set to arrive on October 15 and features a star-studded line-up of guest appearances.
“The ‘Atlas Underground Project’ – this is the second ‘Atlas Underground’ record, the sister-record to the one that came out in 2018 – was to forge across different genres, like-minded musicians to create powerful music,” Morello told Loudwire Nights. “During the last year, where much of that year has been spent in lockdown, for me it was a real life raft.”
Morello recalled how depressed he felt when the coronavirus pandemic started, since he didn’t know when or whether he’d ever be able to tour again or how he’d write and record new music.
“I read an interview with Kanye West, who was bragging about the fact that he had recorded vocals for two of his albums on the voice memo on his phone. And I said, ‘Well if it’s good enough for vocals on a Kanye West record, maybe I can record guitar riffs into my phone,'” he explained.
“I just bypassed all the microphones and set my phone on a chair, hit the red dot, and all of a sudden was sending these riffs to engineers and producers around the world — to [Bruce] Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, the Bring Me the Horizon guys and Damian Marley — and created this like, global community of collaborators that, in the midst of a very, very stressful time, was a tremendous lifeline and a way to create.
He concluded: “That was the genesis of ‘The Atlas Underground Fire’ album.”