It's appropriate that the refrain "Deep End," the first single from Daughtry's new album Cage To Rattle — whose video premieres below — is "I'm not scared." That's exactly what Chris Daughtry and his crew had to learn to be while making their fifth studio album.
Cage To Rattle, which comes out July 27, is Daughtry's first new effort in five years (with a greatest hits package during the interim). It finds the group working with a fresh producer, Jacquire King, and exploring some new musical styles far away from the earnest, polished pop-rock its predecessors.
"We wanted different," Daughtry tells Billboard. "We hadn't recorded anything since (2013's) Baptized, and we hadn't recorded anything with our new drummer (Brandon Maclin). So it was a lot firsts, and after doing things a certain way for so long everything felt slightly fresh and different and slightly out the comfort zone. There was that whole having to trust the process thing, and that wasn't always easy to do. You have to step back and realize you chose to do this for a reason, and you have to trust that."
Top the different list for Daughtry was King, who with credits such as Kings Leon, Modest Mouse, Of Monsters and Men and more came from a vastly different world Daughtry inhabited. "We wanted someone with a little indie sensibility to bring that organic flair to the record and hopefully challenge us — and he did," Daughtry says. "There was some head-butting here and there, but that's what needed to happen. I think it made us a much better band in the long run."
"Deep End," course, serves as a kind gateway track, maintaining a commercial flavor, including a big, hooky chorus, while dipping a toe into different sonic territory the Coldplay-like ambience the verses. The video, meanwhile, is a soundstage performance clip, mixing color footage the band playing the song with black-and-white behind-the-scenes scenes the group members chatting. "Man, I love playing these songs already," Daughtry says. "'Deep End' takes on a different life when we perform it on stage. It's got that raw emotion combined with the guys all adding their own touch to it. I absolutely love it."
Daughtry — who also moved his family several times between albums, partly to pursue acting opportunities — is now anxious to see how fans will receive the new sounds, both on record and when the group hits the road to support it. But he claims to be more excited than apprehensive. "One the things that continues to make us want to make new music is we get bored," he says. "We get bored playing the some stuff. We get bored not having something new to promote or something new for people to wrap their heads around. And we want to challenge ourselves. I wanted to not limit myself to just, 'OK, the fans expect a rock record or exactly like what we did on our first couple records,' and be OK with that."