James Hetfield Shares How He Writes Amazing Riffs Into A Song
via NickSong / Youtube
James Hetfield, Metallica’s lead singer, and songwriter, recently joined a small interview on Nicksong. He was then asked about his thoughts on composing riffs.
Hetfield then shared what it’s like for him when he’s riff writing. He said:
“I definitely did not learn full songs, it’s a riff at a time.
“I’m not writing a full song, some songwriters, I think, do that. They just started the beginning and all of a sudden it all flows and then it’s done. It’s not like that for me, you know.”
“The riff is the basis for the song, you know. Like in the early days, ‘Kill Them All’ or ‘Ride The Lightning’ you know ‘Hey we’ve got eight riffs. There are eight songs’ that’s it you know.”
Hetfield also shared what works best for him and he stated:
“So starting with the riffs, single note riffs you know were always pretty easy. Black Sabbath was like ‘the thing’ to… you could learn a single note riff and feel good about it.”
The singer concluded:
“Learn the riff, love the riff. If the riff is good anything you add on to it, will hopefully add to it and make it even better.
“But if you don’t have a good riff, at least in my opinion, it’s kind of a dead end.”