Skillet's story isn't one of overnight success, in fact, their last album 'Awake' was the band's eighth full-length release in their 15-year long career. Despite their long trip to commercial success, frontman John Cooper says they're just getting started.

Skillet made the difficult jump from Christian rock to mainstream success with their 2009 album 'Awake' -- selling over 800,000 copies. The band's current single, 'It's Not Me It's You', is the album's sixth and is currently sitting at #12 on the active rock charts.

Though 'Awake' is still doing well, it is a two-year old album. Artist Direct recently asked vocalist John Cooper if the band had begun writing for the follow-up yet:

I have. I've got a good handful of songs—probably 20 or so for the next project. We're starting to do demos for that. I'm moving towards that way. I'm assuming we'll enter the studio early next year sometime between January and May.

When asked if the band were picking up where 'Awake' left off, Cooper said yes...and no:

"I think that Skillet has an identifiable sound at this point that people recognize. I don't want to get too far away from that. At the same time, I don't want to just release an album that sounds exactly like the last record. We are trying some new things. It's probably a little too early to say right now. My goal is to release the next record with the signature Skillet sound but with a lot of fresh ideas."

Their next album will be the first since the departure of guitarist Ben Kasica, who left to focus on producing, his family, and other business endeavors. Skillet is currently on the road for the 2011 Awake and Alive tour.