Musicscan: Hails to you, what`s going on in the Shadows Fall camp these days, any news to tell?
Shadows Fall: Matt: Well quite a bit is new actually. Our new album "threads of life" is about to be released and we will be hitting the road non stop for quite a while to come.
Musicscan: Why did you especially choose mardi gras-time to come to Cologne? Only for promotional reasons or do you pay attention to the mardi gras as well?
Shadows Fall: Matt: We actually had no idea that it was happening until we got here. I guess we just got lucky! Im sure we will try to take part in some of the festivities while we are here. If there is anything we like to do, it's PARTY!
Musicscan: Do you like the idea of doing promotional tours and to give lots of interviews? What's your attitude towards this business-side of being member of a band?
Shadows Fall: Matt: It comes with the territory I guess. It can be hard since we spend so much time on the road already. So doing a tour when we should be relaxing at home can be tough. But it could be a lot worse I guess.
Musicscan: First of all, why did you decide to leave Century Media in order to join Roadrunner?
Shadows Fall: Matt: Our agreement with century media was over and after 7 years with them I think we decided that we needed a fresh perspective on things. It was time to move on and see what else is out there.
Musicscan: Don`t you fear that Roadrunner got a different audience compared to Century Media, I mean, RR is better known for modern Nu-Metal than for melodic Death Metal (ok, they also got some Death stuff, that`s right)!
Shadows Fall: Matt: I do not fear it at all. We are certainly NOT a death band anyway. We are a rock/metal band. I think the diversity of the roadrunner roster is a perfect fit for us as we have so many different styles of music incorporated into our sound.
Musicscan: How do you feel about the viability of having prog-rock/-metal become the 'new' thing in heavy music? Did you ever expect Mastodon to become this big?
Shadows Fall: Brian: We have been friends with the guys in Mastodon for awhile and their new record is absolutely amazing. To have something so evil, complex and challenging is a surprise but I think it shows how much more open to new ideas the general public is. It has shattered all perceptions of what a major label rock/metal record can be and has opened a lot of doors for newer bands.
Musicscan: How big can a band like Shadows Fall grow commercial-wise, what do you think? What are the limits for an aggressive metal outfit?
Shadows Fall: Matt: We try not to think about that at all. Our goal is to write the best possible music that we can. If people in the commercial world can get into it, thats great. If they dont, thats ok too. We just try to make the best albums we can. There are no limits anymore. Once you start thinking about restrictions, it will affect your writing and performance in a negative way.
Musicscan: Due to downloading music a lot of people probably will have "Threads Of Life" before its actual release. How do you feel about that and downloading music in general, and does it have an effect on Shadows Fall?
Shadows Fall: Matt: It helps as much as it hurts. Free downloads will gain new fans that will come to shows and buy merchandise. I think if people like it they will buy it to have all the packaging, lyrics and such. I dont believe it is the evil thing everyone thinks it is. However that being said, at the end of the day it is stealing. I dont believe anyone should have it before release date though. They should have to wait like everyone else.
Musicscan: Would you say a band of your size makes more money touring or selling records?
Shadows Fall: Matt: At this point it is definitely touring. It seems that no bands are doing very well anymore when it comes to selling records but as long as people still go to shows it makes up the difference.
Musicscan: Is Shadows Fall out to make a difference or to make people more aware of heavy music?
Shadows Fall: Brian: We are out to make the music that we have always loved. As a singer and lyricist I am trying to give a voice to ideas and share my personal philosophies with people.
Musicscan: How hard was it coming up with new material this time around? Did you feel any pressure for "Threads Of Life" because of the changed label situation or expectations from the outside?
Shadows Fall: Matt: It wasnt all that difficult because we didnt think about it. Like I said earlier, once you start thinking about limitations or expectations of someone else, it can affect your writing in a negative way. We just tried to make the best album we could and I believe we accomplished that.
Musicscan: Out of your view: In which way does your new album differ from the previous works, in which way are there similarities?
Shadows Fall: Matt: There are many similarities but also many differences. Threads of life I believe is the natural progression that shadows fall was supposed to take. In the past we didnt have the time to really focus on songs and recording due to the fact that we needed to stay on a schedule. This time around we spent a very long time in the writing process and pre-production process. We needed to make sure that we had the time to refine the songs and make the arrangements the best we could. There certainly was a more intense focus on melody and arrangements this time around.
Musicscan: Do you feel you'll always keep a brutal edge to your music? Over the years Shadows Fall have become less extreme compared to the earlier releasesï¿½
Shadows Fall: Matt: that part of us will always be there but there is no reason to make the same album twice. We try to keep our music interesting not just for the listener, but for ourselves as well.
Musicscan: In the past you've always been compared to Metallica. This time Iron Maiden seems to have influenced you a lot while working on the new record, right?
Shadows Fall: Brian: Maiden has always been a huge influence on us. We toured with them on Ozzfest and watching people singing along to all of those timeless songs really inspired us on this album. For me Maiden has always been the perfect balance of melody and aggressiveness and that is something we have always strove to achieve.
Musicscan: As for Threads Of Life Brian got great range from his singing to growling to screaming. Has he had any vocal training in support of the new album?
Shadows Fall: Brian: I worked with Melissa Cross, an amazing vocal coach from New York, for the past few years. She helped me develop better warm up techniques to protect my throat on tour and helped me to gain confidence to try new things and push myself as a singer.
Musicscan: And when you were writing, did you kind of write with the intent of displaying Brians vocal range more in terms of the screaming and singing?
Shadows Fall: Brian: I dont think it was a concious thing it just sort of headed that way. I tried not to think about what style to sing for each part and let it happen naturally in the studio. When the song called for something melodic I would approach it that way when it was a really heavy part I would let out the full on screams.
Musicscan: Threads Of Life seems to be a little more groovy, less speed and technical oriented. Is it just me, or is there any truth to this? Because you simplified things to a more general, complete sounding with a groovy rock base itï¿½s easier to listen to as well as more remindable. Has this been something you were heading for?
Shadows Fall: Matt: It was not something we thought about while we were writing. The goal was to create memorable songs that we enjoy to play. There are many elements of the older shadows fall sound present on threads of life. If you listen to a track such as failure of the devout the speed/thrash element is there. We have always been and will always be rock fans and that definitely comes across in the new material.
Musicscan: Did you have something like a main focus while working on Threads Of Life? Have there been certain issues you specifically wanted to address with this new record?
Shadows Fall: Brian: For me each song we write has to have a personal connection for me. I can only write about what is on my mind at that time. On this record I was in a very positive place in my mind and I think that was reflected in some of the lyrics. Other songs may have a more aggressive vibe but the overall meaning of the lyrics is to overcome those negatives. The meaning behind the title Thread Of Life is about how each individual life combines with all others to form the fabric of existence. We are all in this together and everyone affects each other regardless of what we think. It is time to come together and stop all the division among humanity.
Musicscan: Over all I would say Threads Of Life is focussing on traditional metal a lot. Why did you choose to take this direction instead of playing a more modern crossover-style of metal?
Shadows Fall: Brian: It wasnt really a choice. The common influences we share as a band are traditional metal like Maiden and Judas Priest, thrash like Testament and Anthrax, rock and roll like early Aerosmith and Sabbath and the original metal/hardcore crossover bands like the Cro-Mags and Leeway. All of that combines to make us sound how we do.
Musicscan: What message where you trying to portray through the album lyrically? Do you feel you were successful in this respect?
Shadows Fall: Brian: There was no overall theme for the lyrics of this album. Some songs are directly from my personal experiences like Another Hero Lost and Final Call where as other songs like Just Another Nightmare are total works of fiction based on short storied I had written. I Felt like the lyrics complemented each song so in that respect I feel like it was successful.
Musicscan: Are there already European touring plans worth to speak about?
Shadows Fall: Matt: There are no plans as of yet but we will be touring Europe sometime in 2007 I hope!
Musicscan: A last question: Did Overcast finally find a label to release the record that has been recorded last year?
Shadows Fall: Brian: No label yet but soon!! We are going to master it in the next month then finally try and release it. I can not wait for this album to see the light of day.