AC/DC’s longtime engineer confirms the band’s new album includes Malcolm Young riff ideas

Mike Fraser says Young and his brother Angus wrote "tons of songs" together before the former passed away in 2017

AC/DC‘s longtime engineer has confirmed that the band’s comeback album includes moments that were inspired by the riff ideas of the late Malcolm Young.

The recently reunited band continued to teaser their forthcoming ‘PWR UP’ project last week by sharing a snippet from a new song, ‘Shot In The Dark’.

Speaking to the AC/DCFans.Net podcast over the weekend about the upcoming album, producer and long-serving AC/DC sound engineer Mike Fraser discussed how the band’s songwriting and recording process this time around echoed the approach that was adopted on their last album, 2014’s ‘Rock Or Bust’.

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“I think Angus [Young, guitarist] kind of came into this with a lot of ideas and riffs and not too many completed songs,” Fraser said. “But that was similar on ‘Rock Or Bust’, ‘cos him and Malcolm had written tons of songs before Mal got sick and eventually passed away [in 2017].

“So he’s got a whole treasure trove of ideas and riffs and all that. He’s probably spent a few years before we came in to do this record pooling ideas together and all that, and then when he came into the studio here, he just sat down with a whole suitcase full of little demo things he had done. And him and Brendan O’Brien, who produced the record, would sift through all the ideas and say, ‘Hey, that’s great. That’s a really good song. Let’s put that riff here.'”

AC/DC
AC/DC (Picture: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Fraser said that the album “mostly” consists of “all these great riffs and ideas Ang had”.

“He had — I don’t remember exactly — maybe three or four songs sort of completed that they maybe adjusted, added a chorus here or something like that. But yeah, it was just basically from a stockpile of all these riffs and stuff that Angus and Mal had put together over the years.

“So they had to sort of piece the songs together before we’d record them. They’d probably spend a day or so doing that, and we’d come in, blast off the song. And these guys work, it’s pretty much live in the studio: what you hear is what they did, what you get. They fire up pretty quick.

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“They all work really good together, ’cause they’ve worked together for so long; they’re a unit. They try and get as much energy into the song as they can live in the studio, ’cause that’s what they are — they are just so great live.

“So, yeah, it was [pretty] much the same as ‘Rock Or Bust’.”

Last week’s preview of ‘PWR UP’ was accompanied by the news that AC/DC have officially welcomed back Brian Johnson, Phil Rudd and Cliff Williams into the fold.

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