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AC/DC Discuss the Release of New Album, ‘POWER UP’, With Zane Lowe

Angus Young and Brian Johnson open up about the record’s composition and the long road that brought them to where they are today

AC/DC's Brian Johnson, Angus Young, and Cliff Williams discuss their new record 'Power Up' and how they pieced the shattered band back together.

Josh Cheuse*

With just one more day to go until the release of their 17th studio album, POWER UP, AC/DC members Angus Young and Brian Johnson have spoken to Apple Music’s Zane Lowe about the record’s composition, its release, and the long road that brought them to where they are today.

Set to arrive on Friday, November 13th, POWER UP has long been rumoured amongst AC/DC fans, with countless claims of new records, returning members, and stadium tours flying around for the last few years. Eventually, the rumour mill came to a standstill just last month when the band released the record’s first single, “Shot in The Dark”.

A perfect example of everything AC/DC stand for, the track was a welcome return for the band, who hadn’t released a new album since 2014’s Rock or Bust, and had gone through rumours of a split following the departure of Johnson and the death of Malcolm Young.

Speaking to Lowe recently, both Angus Young and Johnson discussed the topic of new music, and how after so long at the top of their game, it’s still something of a struggle to keep the group sounding as fresh as they have ever been.

“I get very excited with doing something new and going, ‘Well, it’s AC/DC, but it’s got a little bit of a different angle on it,'” Young explained. “That’s always, for me, the big puzzle, finding something that’s AC/DC, but it’s something you’ve not heard AC/DC done before.

“You try to look for new ways of doing riffs and you experiment a little bit with those, but then when you get something, you go, ‘That’s definitely AC/DC,’ and you know that you’ve cracked the puzzle there. That gives you a little bit of excitement and a little bit of a rush. Then I go, ‘Okay, you’ve done that now. Onto the next thing,’ and then find another song idea that you can go, ‘Right. I’ve got to now get better than what I did with the one before.’ So it’s a constant puzzle.”

Elsewhere in the conversation, Young also noted how the record was in fact set to arrive earlier in the year, with a tour set to follow. However, the prevalence of a global pandemic helped scupper these plans, with the guitarist telling Lowe why they decided to release the album now.

Well, we depended mainly on what record company… They were the ones giving the advice and they said, ‘We can do it now,'” he explained. “Because originally we had geared up for it […]. It was going to come out early, we had done all promo, video stuff for it, and as he said, we were even planning maybe if we do some shows, if it worked. We were geared up to go earlier, but the virus thing kicked in big time, and so it was a case of leaving it up to them.

“When they thought they had the clearance when putting into the production and getting CDs and whatnot, if they had all the tools to do that. And they said, ‘We should be able to do that.’ At this point, we were depending on them. And that’s when I said, ‘Well, if you believe you can do it, we’ll do our best to help you promote it.'”

“I think we waited until the world hit a misery level, a limit of misery with this thing, and just said, “Right, time to cheer it up,'” added Johnson.

AC/DC’s POWER UP is set to be released on Friday, November 13th, with pre-orders available now.