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Once Human’s Logan Mader Chats ‘Scar Weaver’ and the Band’s True Potential [w/ Audio]

Once Human’s Logan Mader chats about ‘Scar Weaver’, his life post Machine Head and how the band are now showing their true potential.



When you see the name Logan Mader associated with an album or band, you know the standard is going to be high. Having been a key member of US metal titans Machine Head during their Burn My Eyes breakthrough album, the guitarist is one of the major names in modern metal. Having dropped out of the limelight to turn his hand to producing (amongst other things), Mader returned in 2014 with his new project Once Human.

Two solid albums down the line (2015’s debut The Life I Remember and 2017’s Evolution), the group returned earlier this month with their crushing new recording, Scar Weaver. Following the release of the album, V13 jumped on the phone with Logan to chat about the music, his life and how he feels that, only now, are Once Human starting to show the potential of what they can offer the modern metal fan.

Thanks for your time, how is life treating you at the moment?

Logan Mader: “Pretty good, man. Today’s our album release day. Finally. Feels good, man. It’s like, it’s been a long time coming. It feels good.”

It’s a great record. Going back to the very beginning then, was the original plan for it to take four years or did the last couple of years throw a spanner in the works?

“There are a few reasons why it’s been so long between our last album and this one. One of them is Lauren, our singer, she had an opportunity to do guest vocals for the band Camelot. She did two songs on their album and they were both released as singles. Then they asked her to join them on tour and she thought that, as we all thought, that was a great opportunity for her to have that experience and so she did that like for 18 months. We felt that it was worth waiting for her to go do that as it was a great experience for her.

“Then when that was winding down I went to Machine Head for the Burn My Eyes 25th-anniversary tour so that took some time away doing the pre-production for that and then the actual tour where we did two tours. We did a full Europe and UK tour then we did North America. So, that was really important for me to go do. That was a great experience and super stoked I got to do that as there was nothing but good vibes the whole way from start to finish.

“Unfortunately, that got cut short because of the end of the world but we did get the full Europe / UK with a massive production in really big venues 3000 to 5000 cap rooms. A great, great tour, and then North America was amazing as well. So that took away from Once Human focusing on Once Human. So, those are the main factors.

“Then there was the whole of 2020 being just deleted from the music industry because of the pandemic as well. We were planning to get a record out in 2020 right when I got back from Machine Head. Our label did not want to release an album in the middle of the pandemic and we thought that was a good idea to wait because we really wanted to be able to go out there and perform and be on tour. We did negotiate that and we got to at least start putting some music out as soon as possible, which is seven months ago when we put our first single out for this album, which is a long gap between the first single and the album release. We felt it was important to let people know we’re still here. We’re still making music and we do have an album coming. So now, we’ve put out five singles now including yesterday when we put the song ‘Scar Weaver’ out.”

One of the things you said was that it’s not been an easy path getting to this point with the band. Going back to 2014 what was your original vision for the band?

“Well, the original, very original vision was me just helping Lauren as a producer and a co-writer, and a kind of like a project developer. That quickly turned into me joining the band and playing guitar in the band and I’m glad I did. She really kind of pushed me to do that and helped convince me to do that and I’m really glad I did. Prior to that, I was only producing only in the studio. I had stopped performing for many years but I was happy and I was lucky to work with some amazing bands throughout all those 15 years. I worked with bands like Finger Death Punch, Gojira, DevilDriver, Fear Factory, Asking Alexandria, Butcher Babies. I did the first Devil You Know record.

“I also got into visual media music. I scored a couple of movies. I did music for the game Metal Gear Rising. I did half the soundtrack for that. A bunch of movie trailers and TV commercials and stuff. So yeah, I love the studio side of the process and I love engineering and mixing and recording. You know, to me, that’s half of being a musician. Half of it is being in the studio and the other half is being on tour. I really went full blast into the studio life and producer life for all those years and then came Lauren and got me back on stage, which just reminded me how much I love that side of it too.”

One of the things you also talked about was Once Human being a passion project for you. Given the break of the last two years and like you said the music industry being deleted, has that vision or feeling changed now especially as you’ve come back with such a strong album?

“I have passion for everything that I do. Everything is a passion project otherwise I don’t want to work on stuff that I’m not passionate about. I still have that, we’ll see where it goes. Yeah.”

Now, for me, if I see your name on the record, given that I grew up on that first Machine Head album, and it being one of the most important metal records of that time, do you feel that Once Human are just now starting to show the potential of what the band can offer?

“Well, I feel like the second record really kind of created the identity of what Once Human sounds like and what we are as a vibe. This third record really expands upon that and pushes the boundaries from super dirty, ugly guitar tones with the disgusting heavy parts that are just almost wrong but they just work. There’s that and then there’s a lot of the more melodic, groovy, beautiful parts as well. Powerful and epic.

“It has been a long journey but everything is a long journey in life I guess. It’s more about the journey than the destination in general. The present moment is a good place to be in. Lauren really has evolved as a vocalist and a frontwoman and has displayed that a lot on this record. There are a lot of new voices and new characters coming out that she’s able to master and deliver with a lot of power. There is also this kind of raspy, dirty, half-dirty, half-clean, melodic style that she’s doing now that she wasn’t doing before. Her clean vocals are more powerful now as well… more confident. I think that just comes from experience and practice and going out there with Kamelot.”

Artwork for ‘Scar Weaver’ by Once Human

What do you think she’s learned a lot from that. Do you think that experience changed her?

“Yeah, she forced herself to step it up and play that role That was a little bit intimidating. I mean, you know, it was a little bit out of her comfort zone for her, but she did it and it really paid off. Yeah, so I’m really proud of Lauren.”

What do you think is the main difference with her now to looking back to the first record?

“It’s like night and day in a way. She came as a guitar player. I just thought she was gonna be a frontwoman. I asked her could she sing but she didn’t really think she could sing. So I asked her could she growl and she told me she could growl. So, she got in there and, you know, she could definitely growl. So we started with that, that was ground zero and we went from there.”

“Evolution came out back in 2017. Do you think the forced break over the last two years gave you time to focus on the sound and where you want to go with it? Do you think that’s changed the way the record sounded?

“Yeah, it gave us a luxury time to be perfectionists. A lot of rewriting took place because of that. If you know Lauren, you’ll know she’s a perfectionist. She writes all her lyrics and her topline melodies. I’m producing and recording and mixing it. There was a lot of moments where she would come in with a part, we would track it, produce it, edit it, and then she’d say she didn’t like it, delete it, and then would start over completely rewriting parts.

“Having that luxury time has allowed us to do that but, at the same time, it’s a double-edged sword because we like to have deadlines and when the goalposts kept moving as it has, we didn’t know when we were gonna put it out. It didn’t make it feel urgent. So yeah, there are pluses and minuses to the whole thing but, ultimately, where it ended up is great. It’s as good as it could be.”

Listening to the album, it also feels like, given what’s gone on in the last few years in the world, it feels like a very now record. It’s very angry. It’s a very passionate record. It feels like it fits. It’s the perfect time for it to come out. Would you agree with that?

“Yeah, I believe it’s the vibe. Yeah. It’s a reflection of the time and an expression of where we’ve all been and what we’ve gone through.”

Lauren said that she didn’t want to go into writing Scar Weaver as a dark record, but lyrically it’s come out like that. Is the album lyrically inspired by what’s going on?

“Some of them. I mean, you’ve really got to talk to Lauren about specifics of this kind of question, because she writes it all herself. You know, ‘Deadlock’ is pretty obvious. That was a collaboration between Lauren and Robb Flynn and is definitely a reflection of the media mind control and all the madness that has been going on.

“‘Cold Arrival’ I know is written about a friend of ours who passed away during the pandemic, and it was a good friend of ours. They passed away all of a sudden, it was really unclear about why and it really hit us all hard. The song ‘Erasure’ is about the blood diamond industry. ‘Scar Weaver’, that’s a more personal song that Lauren wrote about the inner workings of her brain and her thought process and her emotional states and stuff.”

Max has been credited as the chief writer. What was the thought process behind handing over the reins to him to do that? Or did it just kind of happen?

“He’s that good. Yeah, Max is good. His musical mind is extremely unique and has a very identifiable sound when it comes to riffing and he’s super-efficient. In this case, I came home from the Burn My Eyes tour, and he had completed 10 songs instrumentally and they were just epic. Like, what you hear right there, that’s what they were. I didn’t need to change anything. I didn’t need to fix it because it wasn’t broken. You know, Evolution was a collaboration and we brought Max in to co-write with us and Lauren and I wrote music together with Max.

“On this one, we told him just be yourself. We want to see him go be Max because we see how amazing he is as a writer, I just wanted to give him that because he does also a lot of co-writing with other projects and these projects often have parameters because they’re not his project. They’re someone else where he’s helping. So, in this case, we just wanted him to really have free rein to be Max and show an expression of Max completely. That’s what he did and it turned out really well.”

Like I said earlier, you were part of one of the most important records in modern metal to my generation. For someone that doesn’t know your history and just picks up the Once Human record what do you think the record will offer the modern metal fan in 2022?

“It’s kind of everything you’d like about a modern metal band. It’s one of those records that makes you want to get in the mosh pit and let out all your stresses and all your anger and all your emotions. Also, you like, look at Lauren and think holy shit, that voice comes out of her? I think it’s got it all when it comes to modern metal…”

Brilliant, thanks for your time, just to wrap up is there any message for Once Human fans?

“I just want to say thank you to all the fans in the UK or wherever people are checking this out. We appreciate your support. The record is out today. Go pick it up. You can support us, you can get it on our website. We have a few limited vinyl special bundles left that you can get directly from the band. You can support us by ordering from Otherwise, yeah, check out our new single, ‘Scar Weaver’ and we hope to see you on the road soon.”

Perfect. Thank you for your time. It’s been great catching up. Looking forward to doing this again when you come out to the UK soon.

“Hell yeah. Thank you.”

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.