Interview Filter

SHADOWS FALL (BRIAN FAIR/MATT BACHAND)

YOU JUST RETURNED FROM A VIDEO SHOOTING IN LOS ANGELES. ON YOUR WEBSITE YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU’VE NEVER BEEN THIS EXCITED ABOUT THIS VIDEO. WHAT MAKES IT SO DIFFERENT? Brian: We’re really excited with the video. Our director Zack Merrick shot it all on like letterbox, high definition film. I mean it looks more like a movie than a video. And then he is doing a bunch of post-production stuff with animation, kinda like similar to the style of movies like „A Scanner Darkly“ and things like that where they actually paint over the actual film and stuff, so it’s gonna look amazing. And it was cool to have like real actors doing the story and things like that. Usually I end up just hacking my way through the main role. So this time I was like: „Naah! We’ll just be the band on the roof and let real actors tell the story!“ And we’re just excited. It looks just also a lot different than a lot of the typical metal videos right now. We didn’t want to do another metal band in the desert playing with a bunch of fire, you know. (laughs) Let’s do something different, so… So hopefully if it comes out the way we see it in our head and the way Zack was trying to get it to do, it’s gonna be amazing. So we’ll see. But we literally, yeah, we just flew from L.A., had one day at home and flew right here. So it’s been kind of a world win but it’s good. So hopefully it all works out. YOU DECIDED TO RELEASE THE SONG “REDEMPTION” ON ITUNES AS A DOWNLOAD, THERE WON’T BE A „PHYSICAL“ SINGLE ON CD OR VINYL UNTIL THE ALBUM RELEASE. IS THAT CORRECT? Brian: The way it’s gonna happen is they will debut it on the radio on two different places. One of them is like a digital radio and then there is an east coast and west coast in the U.S. premieres. And then the next day after they debut it on the radio it’s gonna be available on itunes. And it’s kind of a cool way cause, to give people a chance to be able to download the song, you know, like a month before the record comes out, and kind of get an idea of what’s coming, you know. So, we didn’t want them only to be able to hear it on the radio and not be able to have a copy. So that was kind of the best way to do it where people worldwide can just download it from itunes instead of having to trying, you know, either tape it off the radio or find a copy somehow. „REDEMPTION“ IS A SIGNATURE SHADOWS FALL SONG, BUT THERE ARE A FEW OTHER POTENTIAL SINGLES ON „THREADS OF LIFE“. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE „REDEMPTION“ TO BE THE FIRST SINGLE? Matt: Why not, I suppose? (laughs) It’s just one of those things. I guess, you know, when we are writing our record or putting a track list together we don’t really think about so much what the single is gonna be until we have the total package together and hear everything in it’s entirety, and then start to make those decisions. And it was just one of those tracks that stood out as, you get a little bit of everything as far as what we are. And it’s so many different styles going on. And that song has a little bit of everything in it. So I guess it’s a good way to represent the band and as a whole in one, you know, in four minutes you can tell the story who SHADOWS FALL is in four minutes. I guess that was the best track to do it with. THE CHORUS LINE IN THAT SONG IS: „…ALL THE WORLD WILL HEAR YOU, OUR VOICES CAN’T BE VOWED“. WHO ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ADDRESSING WITH THAT LINE? Brian: Pretty much everyone. For me, like just the human voice is probably the most powerful instrument for change that we have, whether it’s through music, poetry, conversation, just the exchange of ideas. That’s really what it’s about. It’s about never being afraid to share those ideas regardless of what people may think, just kind of standing up as an individual regardless of the pressure to conform, you know. And I think it’s kind of a universal idea that everyone can relate to. And it’s, and for us, I mean this has always been our outlet and our forum, so it’s just kind of even describing that. You know, like what inspires us to make music is to be able to share these ideas and thoughts with people and it’s just a kind of a celebration of that idea, and also reminding people to, you know, speak up and let it be heard and not worry about how people may react, you know. So it’s this thing, you know, your ideas aren’t always right, no one is ever right all the time. But hey, if you don’t get ‚em out there no one will ever know and nothing will ever progress. BUT IT’S NOT NECESSARILY MEANT IN A POLITICAL CONTEXT? YOU CAN READ IT THAT WAY, TOO… Brian: If you want to use your voice for political means, that’s fine, too. That’s what I’m saying. But for me, we’ve never been a political band. We’ve been a band that’s more about just ideas and self-expression. All five of us have very different views on things but we constantly, you know, we’ll have conversations about that stuff and just that exchange is more important than what the idea is to me, you know. It’s just sharing those ideas is how you learn and kind of grow as a person. BUT NEVERTHELESS THE SONG „ANOTHER HERO LOST“ IS A VERY PERSONAL SONG TO YOU IN THAT WAY THAT IT DEALS WITH A COUSIN OF YOURS WHO DIED DURING THE WAR IN IRAQ – WHICH OF COURSE HAS TO BE PUT IN A POLITICAL CONTEXT. WOULD YOU SAY IT’S SOMETHING LIKE A PERSONAL REQUIEM TO YOU? Brian: To me it really doesn’t have a political agenda because it was just a way for me to remember someone who passed away this past year. Just because he happened to be a marine, you know, in Iraq and, you know, killed during the war really wouldn’t have mattered to me as far as remembering his life. And also anytime someone dies so young – he left behind a two year old child and a young wife and all that – that was more of the feelings that I was dealing with more than why he was there or if he shouldn’t have been there and all that. I have my own personal views on war. I’ve never really seen it as a productive means to an end. It always seems to just leave more trouble than (it) helps. But as far as that song, for me it was just a way to kind of help myself sort through a tragedy but also to keep his memory alive, you know, in a song. And it was probably the most personal and vulnerable song we’ve ever done as a band, and for me lyrically definitely the most difficult song. But it also helped a lot and I’ve become more and more comfortable with the idea of sharing those feelings with people as well, cause I think it’s unfortunately something a lot of people can relate to right now. I REALIZED WHEN I WENT THROUGH THE LYRICS OF ALL OF YOUR ALBUMS IT’S KIND OF HARD TO PINPOINT YOU DOWN WITH WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO EXPRESS WITH YOUR LYRICS. YOU SEEM TO LIKE IT IN A MORE ABSTRACT WAY. WHY DID YOU PUT IT THAT PERSONAL THIS TIME? Brian: I also never experienced something like that so it was kind of a way for me to deal with it. I didn’t want to cheapen the feelings by making it too poetic or trying to make it metal or anything like that. I just wanted… Those lyrics were written in one night straight through after visiting, you know, the cemetery. So that was just: here it is! This is: lay it out where sometimes in the past probably the lyrics are more philosophical, a little more of a wider range of interpretations that can be taken from them. Whereas this was just: „Hey, this is about an amazing person who is no longer with us!“, you know. And that’s really why there is no sort of literary allusions or anything like that. So… OK, MATT, BEFORE YOU FALL ASLEEP HERE, LET’S GET BACK TO THE ACTUAL MUSIC. THE TWO KEYWORDS I FIGURED OUT FOR SHADOWS FALL ARE PROBABLY „VARIETY“ AND „EQUILIBRIUM“. DO YOU CONSCIOUSLY TRY TO ACHIEVE THAT WHEN YOU’RE WRITING SONGS? Matt: Not really. I mean the thing is – at least me personally – I listen to so much different music. It can go anywhere from Yanni (?) to CANNIBAL CORPSE. So it’s like: where do you find that middle ground, you know. I feel that not listening to metal during a writing process helps me get more creative because I can give a band like Snow Patrol or The Fray or something like a metal make-over. It’s more about melody and arrangement structure than being brutal all the time. And that helps me actually come up with more interesting parts I wouldn’t normally think of if I just got thrash metal stuck in my head the whole time. You know, everything would kind of just… write the same line and I definitely don’t want that to happen. This band started ten, eleven years ago based on the fact that there were no lines to be drawn. We could… if we want to drop a bluegrass break-down in the middle of the song we can do it if we feel we want to. ARE YOU A GUITAR-PLAYER WHO FEEDS OFF THE CLASSIC METAL BANDS OR DO YOU STILL GET INSPIRED BY OTHER ARTISTS WHO BELONG TO AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT GENRE LIKE, LET’S SAY JOHNNY CASH OR BLUEGRASS FOR THAT INSTANCE? Matt: Oh, definitely, definitely. I mean, there is just so much music out there and different stuff to take influence from that it’s endless essentially. And obviously those early influences – why I started playing in the early bands and I was starting to learn how to play – those definitely come across because that’s just the style I picked up. And you’ve got that, you know, early, you got Bay area, early METALLICA, TESTAMENT kind of vibe that is why I started playing. And that definitely comes across but I try to apply it with some of the different stuff that I do listen to all the time and make it interesting. You know, why write the same album twice? If it’s already been done why do it again? YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE BANDS WHO ARE ALWAYS BEING COMPARED TO METALLICA. AND TO ME IT FEELS LIKE A LOT OF BANDS AROUND ARE TRYING TO RE-CREATE THEIR VERSION OF METALLICA’S „MASTER OF PUPPETS“. AND IN MY OPINION YOU GOT PRETTY CLOSE WITH THE SONG „FINAL CALL“. WERE YOU AWARE THAT THE STRUCTURE IS KIND OF SIMILAR? Brian: It’s a metal epic which, you know, the best blueprint for a metal epic is probably „Master of puppets“. So yeah, that’s gonna be there but I don’t think – yeah, subconsciously all that stuff creeps in cause to me that still is the perfect metal album is „Master of puppets“ from the beginning to end. And that’s something we’ve always tried to achieve with each album is creating an album. Not just like six songs that all sort of sound the same. We want like the thrash, the fast thrash tune, the slow heavy song, the balladish moment, the epics. Cause it seems like that’s kind of disappeared a lot in… Because people don’t think of an album anymore. They think of a bunch of songs they can download whereas I still think „side A and B“. You know, that’s still the way I look at it. Where I always want „side B“ to, you know, like to start with something that’s gonna kick you right in the ass again, you know. So, and that’s the way we look at just how we write. And so they’ve always been a huge influence on us but as far as consciously-, like, I don’t think we ever write like: „Alright, we gotta write our „Master of puppets“ right now!“ but subconsciously it’s probably happening. SO, ARE YOU GETTING SICK BY NOW OF THOSE COMPARISONS? Matt: No, I can never get sick of that comparison. It’s just that’s a lot to live up to, you know. (laughs) that’s a tall order. Brian: Yeah. There will never be another METALLICA. So it’s funny when you see a lot of bands being called: „Oh, it’s the second coming of Maiden or the second coming of METALLICA!“. You’re like: No one is ever gonna do that again, you know. Cause also those bands had no reference point for what they did. They created something entirely new. All the rest of us are just hacking it into pieces and, you know, (laughs) and trying to re-create it. So which is why, like he said, we are trying to go into our own new direction because you can never be something that already existed. And that vibe is not gonna be there either because it’s not new, you know. So it’s like, these bands are trying to go backwards, to me it’s kind of unproductive. Seems kind of like a waste of time. STICKING WITH LABELS – THE TERM „NEW WAVE OF AMERICAN HEAVY METAL“ HAS BEEN APPLIED TO YOU AT AN EARLY TIME. HAVE YOU STEPPED OUT OF THOSE SHOES BY NOW OR ARE STILL BEING LABELLED AS THE „LEADERS“ OF THAT SCENE? Matt: We will always get that label I think, just because it was applied to us so early on. But I mean even when it was applied it wasn’t exactly new, you know. (laughs) All those bands that are labelled like that: ourselves, KILLSWITCH, CHIMAIRA, LAMB OF GOD – we’ve all been around for ten plus years, you know, doing the same thing we are still doing. And just now people are starting to notice it and if they want it to label like that, that’s fine, whatever. So I don’t think that will ever go away. But like I said earlier, too, we don’t want to be a band about being labelled or following a certain category – here it is – you know, we want to be able to do whatever the hell it is we feel like doing when we want to do it and just trying to make the best songs that we can make. That’s really all it’s about. There is no other agenda there, we’re just trying to make kick-ass rock songs and leave it at that. I’VE HEARD FROM A LOT OF MUSICIANS THAT DEMOCRACIES IN BANDS JUST DO NOT WORK. BUT YOU’RE MAKING A POINT THAT THERE ARE NO EGOS IN THIS BAND, THAT IT’S A COLLECTIVE SONG WRITING PROCESS. HOW DO YOU WORK IT OUT WHEN YOU HAVE DIFFERENT OPINIONS ABOUT SOMETHING? DO YOU JUST TALK IT OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN? Brian: Pretty much just through discussion and through, honestly you can tell… We are all on the same page pretty much musically and everyone kind of understands what we’re trying to accomplish and what your role is within that. So when something is not working you know it right away. So it usually doesn’t have to be any sort of battle. But if someone feels very strongly one way or another we take that and it has to…If someone is not feeling something we can’t do it then. You know, we really can’t and even if that means shelving a whole idea, if someone is not into it it’s pointless to kind of push it because it’s their song as well, you know. We’ve always written that way, it can make things take longer, but it’s worth it, because you also know that when you get to the studio, you get on stage, everyone is stoked on it. Everyone is excited. There is no like: „Ah, yeah, I’m playing Matt’s song, great! I can’t wait to move on to mine!“ You know, there is never that feeling because everyone put something into the song. Even if it’s not a riff, it’s a different groove or trying to tweak this little bridge. (On) this record especially, more than in the past, we jammed a lot on ideas where we were trying to see how it went into a riff naturally. So everyone was really involved. Even if Matt or Jon had come with a full like bunch of riffs together, you know, so… It’s just the way it’s gotta be. I mean, we’ve always done… We do that even on the business level where all five of us have to approve everything, you know, like whether it’s merch, this, that. And it takes forever and it can be a real long process but at the end of the day you know no one can complain because, hey, it’s everyone’s decision. It’s all for one, you know, one for all. Otherwise it doesn’t get done. So… ONE THING YOU DID CHANGE THIS TIME IS THE MAN BEHIND THE PRODUCTION DESK. ZEUSS USED TO BE THE PRODUCER OF YOUR PREVIOUS RECORDS, THIS TIME YOU GAVE THE JOB TO NICK RASCULINECZ. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BRING IN SOMEONE ELSE THIS TIME? Matt: I think we needed a different perspective. I mean Zeuss has done all of our records previously for the most part. And just making all these different moves that we have done, you know, new label, new everything. It was like time to make a change to just see… I mean, Zeuss knows us so well at this point that it almost seems like there is… He knows what we’re gonna say before we say it and vice versa. So having some fresh blood come in that doesn’t really know what we’re about or where we’re gonna go, and getting those outside opinions I think was really important in the process. Very crucial. Brian: He also, Nick had no expectations on what we couldn’t do either, like whether it was vocally, drumming-wise, you know, the guitar playing. So he would like make you try and do things you didn’t think you had in you. And that really pushed this record to another level. And it worked out perfect cause we had Zeuss come in and mix it because he understands our sound so well. And honestly that’s his strongest suit is probably his mixes. So it was perfect where we got to kind of pull ourselves out of the safety zone of being at home and recording at home, we went to L.A., got a whole new perspective on it, you know. Like locked ourselves in the studio with Nick and had this awesome record. But then we also got to come home back to like that comfort zone and work with Zeuss to mix it, so we actually got the best of both worlds: the familiar as well as the new, like, style. So yeah, together they combine-, they talked a lot throughout the whole process about how they will work it out. So they were on the same page right from the beginning and Zeuss started mixing as Nick would finish tracks, and they would go back and forth. So it was really, they worked together to make it just as amazing as it could get. So it was great to have both of them kind of on the same page and on the team together ON THE WEBSITE NICK RASCULIECZ IS QUOTED WITH THE LINE: “…WORKING WITH SHADOWS FALL COULD HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE WORST EXPERIENCES OF MY LIFE”. WHAT COULD HE POSSIBLY MEAN BY THAT? Brian: He means we’re a bunch of assholes! So… (laughs) No, no Nick is, he is a funny guy. I mean, as you notice as each webisode (WEBSITE-VIDEOSTREAM) comes out, they are definitely a little tongue-in-cheek, like we wanted to show people what it was like to make our record but we also didn’t want it to be this boring, like “Here we are playing a guitar!” So we definitely… (laughs), they’re pretty random. Matt: That’s just it! I mean, if anyone doesn’t know by now we’re a band that doesn’t really take ourselves too seriously. You know, we like to have a good time and then just… You know, it’s the best job in the world that we’re doing. Why do you have to be so serious about getting your message across and, you know, this is how it was. Let’s have fun with it, and that’s what it’s all about. STAYING WITH THE “WEBISODES” HERE: YOUR DRUMMER CLAIMS IT WAS “PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY VERY STRAINING” AND “ALMOST PAINFUL” Brian: That was our drummer and that was because he’s old and always in pain! (both laugh) No, no. Jay is a very physical player. I mean, he’s all over the place. So he pushed himself to the point where some days he would track for six, seven hours and he couldn’t even stand up in the end. So for him it was probably the most physically demanding of all. Honestly, if you’re playing metal the drums are probably the most physically demanding part of it. So he definitely… And Nick didn’t let him off easy. He would be like: „Oh yeah, that was great! It was almost perfect but: do it again!“, you know? (laughs) So he heard that a lot. So, yeah, he pushed him. But it also made him a better player, and to me this is definitely his best recorded material. You gotta… no pain, no gain. So… And for me, myself, too. Even the singing, there was hours and hours and hours of screaming and yelling and singing. After a while you just get so burned out, and physically… Cause it’s not like, (turns to Matt) these guys they could change strings you know, and they are ready to go again. Whereas it’s like: if your throat is shot you’re done for the day. Same with the drummer: if you can’t feel your feet you’re done, you know. So we definitely, Nick definitely pushed… he wasn’t too brutal though. He knew when it was time. He knew when you’re done. You also know when you’re not gonna be able to accomplish anything by just doing it to do it again. So… YOU’RE HERE IN COLOGNE OVER THE CARNIVAL PERIOD. SO WHAT DID YOU THINK WHEN YOU LOOKED OUT OF THE WINDOW TODAY? Brian: Unfortunately we didn’t know we should bring our outfits to represent for the carnival, you know. So we look a little underdressed unfortunately. Matt: I would have brought my inflatable pig suit but I left it at home. Brian: Normally I feel like when I walk around I’m probably the one who stands out the most with the long hair and the dreadlocks and stuff, but today I’m the most normal-looking dude that was in that lobby. That’s what’s great today. So I’m just gonna, I’ll run with that. And just be like: „Heey, carnival! Here we go!“ (chuckles) YOU OVERWROTE FOR THIS ALBUM SO YOU GOT A FEW EXTRA SONGS LEFT IN YOUR POCKET. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THEM? ARE THEY GOING TO END UP ON VIDEOGAMES OR B-SIDES? Brian: They will probably end up on bonus tracks. I’m sure there will be one for like, you know, the Japanese bonus track and maybe like a limited edition release or some re-issue of it. They definitely will be released. We recorded two other songs that didn’t get included on the record. So they’ll definitely be coming out in some way or shape to perform. That was the first time we have ever gone into the studio though with more material than just the album. So usually they’re always like: „Oh, you guys got any bonus tracks?“ And we’re like: „No!“ (laughs) „We barely have our record!“ So with this one it was kind of nice going in with that kind of like, a little bit of a buffer zone where we knew we had more than we needed. So we were also able to pick the songs that flowed the best as well. You know, the two songs that aren’t included stand up with all the other songs. It’s just the way the album laid out, it worked perfectly with the track listing we had. We also didn’t want it to be too long. I don’t know, I like metal records that are like 45 minutes or so. Where it’s like you never loose that intensity, whereas some of the eighty minute stuff after a while I’m like: „Uhuh!“ (makes a bored sound) So I like to keep it nice and concise, the way it used to be. Because I’m still used to listen to cassettes like I said. So… (laughs) REGARDING THE MUSIC: IT IS KIND OF OBVIOUS THAT YOU ARE INSPIRED BY BAY AREA BANDS FROM THE EIGHTIES, YOU CAN HEAR THEM SHIMMERING THROUGH IN ALMOST EVERY SONG. DO YOU THINK YOU WILL INSPIRE SOME KIDS TO DIG DEEPER INTO THAT SCENE AND GO PAST YOUR AVERAGE PANTERA/METALLICA ROOTS? I HAVE THE FEELING THAT A LOT OF KIDS DON’T DO THAT ANYMORE… Matt: I hope so, I hope so. And there was so much stuff out back in the day and it’s . I used to go and find anything that was on RC (?) back in the day or Earache or whatever. If it was there I would just buy it. It wouldn’t matter cause I knew it was gonna be awesome, you know. (laughs) And that’s how I discovered a lot of those bands. I mean, even the obscure ones, like bands like LAAZ ROCKET or stuff like that, that people would never even think about. That’s how I discovered those bands and there is a lot of great stuff out there that kind of just got lost. And a lot them, I mean HELSTAR, so many amazing bands that no one has heard of. Brian: I really do hope kids will go back and listen to some of those like more obscure thrash bands because there are just so many amazing ideas and different approaches to the style that I think would really open their minds to thinking about it in a different way. Especially then, it was such an experimental type of music as well, there was no formula, there was no blueprint. They were making it up as they went along. And I think that that kind of vibe gets lost if you only focus on the biggest ones of them all. You know, so, hopefully. There is a lot of great thrash metal out there that you should definitely check out. And a lot of the bands are still even touring: DEATH ANGEL did a new record a little while ago and things like that. And EXODUS are still out on the road. You gotta go check it out, man. Know your roots! IN WHAT WAY CAN CLASSIC METAL OUTFITS BENEFIT FROM THE SUCCESS AND RISE OF „YOUNGER“ BANDS – SUCH AS YOURSELF? AND IN WHAT WAY CAN YOU PROFIT FROM THEM? ONE EXAMPLE FOR THAT WOULD BE THE UPCOMING TRIVIUM TOUR WITH ANNIHILATOR AS SUPPORT… Brian: For a band like Annihilator, they’re like: „Wow! We’re gonna get in front of a young audience that we never would have!“ And for them, they are probably really excited. They are like, they could either keep playing to the same people over and over again or they could get in front of younger kids and trying to bring in a whole new scene. So I’m sure they are really excited about it. And it’s cool for a band like TRIVIUM to give the respect to a band that influenced them and take them out on the road, because they are at a level where they are getting some success and bring in these kids. So I love ideas like that. We’ve done shows with, you know, trying to bring bands like… When we did the Leeway cover and the Only living witness cover on our last EP, that was that same idea. It was like, these were two bands that were huge influences on us, that other people may not have heard of, especially the younger kids. And for the older fans, they were just excited we did a Leeway cover, you know. So it worked both ways. And playing shows with bands like that, you know, like I think it helps back and forth cause we learned from those bands, where hopefully bringing bands like that out with you will expose this to younger kids and the cycle will continue, you know. And it doesn’t just get to the point where there is like „the old guard“ and „the new guard“, it should all just be one big scene, you know, So… I didn’t even know about that tour, that’s an amazing line-up, that’s crazy! Matt: I didn’t hear about that, either. LET’S TALK ABOUT THE BUSINESS SIDE OF THINGS: YOU WERE WITH CENTURY MEDIA FOR AGES, THEN YOU LANDED A MAJOR DEAL WITH ATLANTIC FOR THE STATES, IN EUROPE YOU’RE WITH ROADRUNNER RECORDS. IS IT STILL ATLANTIC FOR THE U.S. OR HAVE YOU SWITCHED COMPLETELY? Brian: No, we’re still with Atlantic in the U.S. which, I mean, now it’s the Warner Music group (that) owns both, Roadrunner and Atlantic anyways. But we originally started with Atlantic and for the rest of worldwide we felt like a label like Roadrunner would totally understand what we’re doing more than like being on a major label over here where we aren’t quite as big, you know. So it just kind of, we were able to work out the perfect balance of those two. And so far it’s been great. They also now that they are under the same sort of, you know, within the same family they’ve been working together back and forth, so there is no conflict there or anything. So we ended up somehow in the perfect situation – which never happens to SHADOWS FALL. (laughs) SHADOWS FALL and the word perfect very rarely end up in the same sentence. So… Matt: It will backfire somehow! (both laugh) YOU’VE BEEN IN THE BUSINESS LONG ENOUGH TO HAVE HAD SOME UGLY SCENES THERE. WHAT WAS THE HARDEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNED IN THE LAST TEN YEARS? Matt: Don’t trust anybody! (both laugh) Brian: Own your own publishing, you know. (laughs) Those are the thi-, I mean, we’ve either done things the hard way and learned the hard way or watched someone that we were friends with or knew go through some weird.thing. So we were in a very good situation going into… Once our contract with Century Media ended we really knew what we wanted as far as the contract went and what kind of, you know, like how we wanted the label. We broke down, even where we wanted our money to go and everything. It definitely eliminated some interest right off the bat because we were like: „Whoa! Wait a minute, we can’t do that!“ We were like: „Alright, good! See you later!“ You know, (laughs), that’s fine because we know what we want. It’s been ten years as a band and we were all doing this for eight years before that in other bands. So it’s like, if we can’t get what we want we weren’t gonna compromise. So we were lucky enough to find two labels that felt the same way and really understood our vision and that we were this more of a career-orientated band than a band based on singles and radio play and all that shit WHAT WAS THE UGLIEST SCENE YOU REMEMBER? Brian: I can’t think of anything specific… They are probably suppressed somewhere. Matt: (laughs) You deserted five years of therapy right now! (both laugh) Bringing all the bad memories back! Brian: Yeah, I don’t know. We’ve been pretty lucky where we’ve never had those individual moments. We’ve had like brutal contract dispute over like stupid things money-wise and things like that. But like, that’s…luckily it was all lawyers dealing with us and us waiting, you know, like to see what happened. But there’s some shady people out there. And that’s the one thing younger bands gotta realize is: especially with some of these really small labels that people always think like: „Oh, the evil major and the evil big label…“ But sometimes these small labels will get you to sign away your life when you have no idea, cause you have no understanding of the business. And then if you do get big they will go around and just sell you off to someone else for millions of dollars and then you never get anything. It’s like, so those… you really gotta know the business side of things. It’s an unfortunate reality, you just want to go and rock out and have a good time and tour but: if you let other people control everything, all of a sudden it can get real odd. Like to the point where you don’t even know what’s going on anymore, you don’t know who… Other people are getting huge cuts out of your money and this and that. And there is not like… There is not a lot of money in metal to begin with. So you’re gonna struggle to survive anyway. So if you don’t stay on top of that it can get bad quick. So… And like I said, we were stubborn old dudes and won’t give up control of anything at this point. So we’re like, we got our hands in everything and trying to control as much as possible from publishing to merch to just anything we can learn about. I mean, he is over here taking classes still about music industry and business stuff just to like learn every aspect. And that’s something that any young band should at least get their foot in, you know. WHAT KIND OF CLASSES ARE YOU TAKING? Matt: It’s a whole music business certificate course. It’s just for publishing, for general business, digital media, things like that. Especially now, at this point the business is so tricky because people are just not buying CDs anymore, and it’s all about the internet and everything else. And knowing where the business is gonna go from here? We’re at a transition point right now.- kind of like with the whole transition of cassettes over to CDs. And that period took quite a while but eventually cassettes were phased out, CDs were a whole new form of entertainment. And it’s gonna go again. It’s gonna switch over to something else. But trying to predict where it’s gonna go? That’s the hardest part. So I’m trying to get my hands in the pot here as much as possible to really have a grasp on what’s going to happen in the future. Cause, you know, we’re not 18 anymore, if we gonna make things happen we better know what’s going on otherwise I’m gonna be a fry chef next year, you know. (Brian chuckles) Brian: Don’t you remember you could just have a guitar and a six pack and a good time? Those days are gone! Matt: Those days are long gone! BUT OBVIOUSLY YOU ARE TRYING TO KEEP UP WITH THE CHANGES IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY, BECAUSE OTHERWISE YOU WOULDN’T RELEASE THE FIRST SINGLE OFF THE ALBUM ON ITUNES FIRST – AND YOU WOULDN’T LAUNCH YOUR OWN „YOUTUBE“ VIDEO CHANNEL. WHAT WAS THE MOTIVATION BEHIND THAT? Matt: Just keeping up with the times, really again. Those are the… The internet right now is the number one way people discover new music. Be it, you know, streaming the album on air, or downloading off the illegal sites, or downloading off itunes, or myspace or any of those kind of things. That’s the number one way, more so than radio, more so than television. That’s it right now. So, you know, having a firm grasp on that whole entity is probably THE most important thing, especially to launch your record. A LOT OF THE BANDS WHO ARE DOING REALLY WELL AT THE MOMENT – FOR EXAMPLE YOU GUYS OR KILLSWITCH ENGAGE AS WELL AS A FEW OTHERS – ALL STUDIED IN BERKLEE. WOULD YOU SAY IT’S LIKE A BREEDING GROUND FOR MODERN METAL THESE DAYS? Brian: It’s always been a huge just, you know, like starting point for a lot of bands. It’s funny, because a lot of… most of the musicians I know who are in bands that actually are doing stuff never actually graduated from Berklee, cause they are usually like, meet the people they need, figure out what they are gonna do – and then take off, you know. (laughs) So.. But it’s cool because Berklee is also adapted to-, They focus just as much on management, business side, production, all that stuff. Cause they also realize that just the performing side of it, you know, isn’t enough to keep them like in the forefront. So it’s just funny how much it has all changed. But Berklee, it’s an amazing place to not only learn but also to meet other musicians with, you know, similar ideas. BRIAN, I THINK IT’S VERY IMPORTANT THESE DAYS TO VARY YOUR VOICE – UNLESS YOUR NAME IS LEMMY, TARDY OR CAVALERA – AND ESPECIALLY ON “THREADS OF LIFE” YOU DO PERFORM A FEW DIFFERENT SINGING STYLES. DO YOU ALWAYS KNOW WHEN TO SING IN WHAT STYLE? Brian: On this record more than on any of the past I really didn’t think about it that much as far as… Most of the riffs you can kind of tell what kind of vibe it’s gonna be. If it’s a big open rock chorus there is no reason to scream brutally death metal over it. So… But with this one, like me and Nick would kind of run through it in our heads, we talk about and then he would be just like: „Alright!“ And then turn the mike and just let it go. And there was no right away if it’s good or bad, you know. So there wasn’t kind of that conscience like. „Ok, use the fresh voice over the verse, and then scream through the bridge, and then sing the chorus!” It really wasn’t like that approach to it, so which is why this album more than any of the others is even more mixed up where some songs are almost screamed straight through. Like, you know, songs like „Dread uprising“ is pretty much all brutal vocals whereas another song like „Burning the lives“, which is more of a rock vibe, was all singing straight through, you know. So it really was all about what the song kind of demanded this time. And for me also I feel like you loose some of the impact of the heavy vocals if you overuse them. If the riff builds to a point, and the song builds to a peak, and it’s, the intensity is there, then you gotta let it rip. But if not – otherwise you take away from those moments, you know. If your screaming through the whole thing becomes normal it doesn’t even become extreme. You know, whatever, it becomes standard. And after a while you’re like: „Wow!“ That just took all the intensity out of this, you know. So, but like I said, there wasn’t really a lot of thought into it. It was just like: whatever is working, just let it go, you know. So… BRIAN, YOU RE-RECORDED THE MATERIAL FROM YOUR OLD BAND OVERCAST IN WHICH YOU PLAYED WITH MIKE D. FROM KILLSWITCH ENGAGE BEFORE YOU JOINED SHADOWS FALL. IT HAS BEEN RECORDED AND PRODUCED – BY ADAM D., ALSO FROM KILLSWITCH ENGAGE – BUT A FEW WEEKS AGO THERE WAS STILL NO RELEASE DATE IN SIGHT. HAS THAT CHANGED BY NOW? Brian: Yeah, still no release date yet. We’re still not sure who is gonna be putting it out. We kind of had to take a step back because, you know, the KILLSWITCH record came out and they went on tour. And then we were in the studio working on our new record. We are hoping, you know, we could have rushed it to get it out earlier before all these things happened. And we didn’t want it. We were like: it’s been so long, why would we bother rushing now, you know? So, we are really excited about it, we re-recorded like eleven older songs that had been released before but on different seven inches and EPs and things like that. But we also recorded two songs we never recorded before either, that were written right at the end of the band and then we broke up. So we never got a chance to record them. So we finally got to record them. And Adam D. from KILLSWITCH produced it and it sounds amazing. I just got the final mixes actually the other day. It sounds incredible. But now we just gotta figure out the business side of things, you know, like, so which… Unfortunately we didn’t think about it when we went in to do it. We were just kind of like. „Oh, it will be fun!“ And then you forget about the whole business side. Now we’re dealing with that but it definitely is gonna come out. We just don’t know when or where or how. But it’s happening. YOU RECEIVED A GRAMMY-NOMINATION, YOUR VIDEOS ALL END UP ON HEAVY ROTATION ON MTV. HOW HARD IS IT FOR YOU NOT LET IT GET INTO YOUR HEAD? Brian: It’s really easy, when you wake up and you are still the same asshole that you were yesterday. (Brian laughs) Matt: And you realize how shitty your apartment is and you can’t afford the rent. You know, like: “Wow!” Brian: Who do people think we are? We suck! (laughs) Brian: You just can’t define yourself too, by how other people see you because it’s probably so twisted. And it’s funny because, you know, people assume we’re like: “Oh, you got a Grammy nomination, you got some videos on MTV!” They figure you’re like totally living some rock’ n roll lifestyle. You’re like: “Nah!”. Still living in the same little crappy apartment, still you know… But at least we get to do this for a living. For a while we were balancing the fulltime jobs and trying to tour and all that stuff. So it works out. It’s real easy to stay grounded, too, cause I mean we’ve met some of the most amazing people in music. Whether it was, you know, touring with Dimebag Darrell or just recording at Dave Grohl’s studio. And these were two people who were in the biggest bands in the world at points. And they are the humblest, mellowest, like friendliest people you can meet. And that reminds you like, man, there is no reason to ever be a dick. Like, there is nothing you can do that like gives you the right to, you know, not be cool. So, it’s really easy to stay that way cause it’s the only way to be. PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE IN THE BAND IS WORKING A SIDE JOB IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THINGS – MATT AND JON HAVE AN OWN COLUMN IN A GUITAR MAGAZINE, YOUR DRUMMER JASON JUST WROTE A BOOK, AND YOU, BRIAN, ARE CO-HOSTING “HEADBANGER’S BALL” FROM TIME TO TIME. DO YOU THINK IT’S NECESSARY TO HAVE A “GLAMOROUS” SIDE JOB TO GET YOUR NAME OUT THESE DAYS? Matt: It’s not really side jobs, because we didn’t get paid to do any of that stuff. (laughs) No! Brian: None of that stuff gets paid. Matt That’s just extra work for free! Brian: So, but all those things are fun, you know, that’s also a way to keep the band out there and spread the word. But yeah, I mean those are just like opportunities that come along. They are like: “Yeah, take it or leave it – cause we’ll give it to someone else!”, You’re like: “Alright!” So, but it’s worth doing, it’s just no money. (laughs) So that’s the thing, that’s what people need to realize is – especially if you’re getting into metal – don’t do it because you want to get rich! You better do it cause you love it. So, and we’ve dedicated ourselves to this a long time ago because we love it. And also at this point, this is really like: you kind of put everything into. You gotta ride it out as long as you can. And we’re also at a point where we are, we may have gotten to a point where we can live off the band and run a good label and this and that. But that motivates us to work even harder. Because there is a million bands that would kill for the opportunity that we have and would trade places in a second. So as soon as you start trying to rely on what you did before it’s all gone, you know. You’re only, you really gotta make the most of those opportunities because there are few and far between. RECORDED FEBRUARY 15TH 2007, COLOGNE

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