Thrash riffs, Grammy nominations and dreadlocks aren’t terms you’d usually find in the same sentence, but doing their own thing is something Shadows Fall have become particularly good at.
In the midst of their second Australian tour, SF front man Brian Fair was good enough to fit us in for an interview…
Interview w/ Brian Fair (Vocals)
of Shadows Fall (USA)
By Cameron Chambers
it’s Cam from Killyourstereo.
Hey man! How are you?
Really good mate, how was the
show in Canberra last night?
Oh, it was great! It was a really
good time and it was the first time we’ve played in that area so kids
were going nuts from the beginning to the end. It was nuts!
And the rest of the tour’s
been going well?
It’s been killer man. The two Soundwave shows were huge and then both of the sideshows with Killswitch Engage… Sydney was great and last night was sold out.
The bill was all bands that we’ve known for ten years as well… From Autumn To Ashes, Killswitch Engage and Divine Heresy,
so it was like a big family reunion.
Shadows are one of the few
metal bands on the Soundwave line up, what have the crowds been like?
They’ve been killer. It’s
a pretty heavy stage that we’re on, with Bleeding Through,
ourselves and As I Lay Dying, and even though they are in the
more hardcore vein it’s still all heavy, aggressive music.
If we were stuck on a stage with
the Plain White Tee’s it may have been a bit more noticeable,
ha ha, but on our stage it all fits together.
Any tour hi-jinks that you’d
like to share with us?
It’s all been pretty mellow
so far but we’ve had some good drinking nights with the From Autumn
To Ashes boys. Tonight we plan on hitting the town so hopefully
something goes down, ha ha.
Now that you’ve had almost
12 months to digest “Threads Of Life” how do you think it compares
to previous Shadows records?
From a production and song writing
standpoint it’s our best effort. We just try and push everything forward
on every album, you know? We’re always learning more as musicians
so we just wanted to write a cohesive album, and it feels like we did
Seeing the live response is the
final testing ground really, and we’ve been tour for a year now so
we can see that the songs are really hitting it. The other great thing
is seeing the songs evolve after a year… you know? You throw
in some cool new guitar tricks and stuff like that, ha ha.
Commercially the album’s
been a great success, what’s the feedback from your fans been like?
Oh man it’s been great. It’s
great just to see kids singing along and knocking each other down during
the new songs, ha ha. We’ve still been playing a lot of older songs
as well because we’ve been together for over ten years, so we have
a lot of material to choose from.
A lot of bands feel obligated
to undergo some massive stylistic change between records, whereas Shadows
Fall has maintained a consistent sound while still improving the song
writing from album to album. Do you guys sit down and discuss what kind
of record you’re going to write or do you just let it flow?
We just let it happen man. We
know what we do well and we go for it. We have such a wide variety of
influences but once you put us all in a room together we are a metal
band. We’ve always played thrash influenced metal so it’s not like
we’re going to throw in calypso parts, ha ha. Still, we don’t want
to write part two of every album either… we want there to be some
We know what we do best when we
form together. I always compare us to Voltran… we are 5 parts
that form one machine! Ha ha
Awesome comparison, ha ha.
Upon the album’s release you stated that it was simply time to write
some metal and not worry about what other people are doing. Do you feel
there are too many bands out there jumping from sub genre to sub genre
to keep people happy?
It can definitely happen man.
For bands like us, Killswitch Engage and Lamb Of God,
when we first got together there was no agenda for success. If you were
playing metal at that time that was basically a decision to not be successful,
Too many bands see the potential
to sell records and get on tours and that can motivate bands differently
to try things that they maybe aren’t doing for the right reasons.
If you’ve got a business plan before you’ve even written a record
then you’re arse backwards!
We went through the hardships
of releasing our own records and booking our own tours and now that
things have got to the point where we are making a living off our music
and that gives us so much appreciation for every little bit of success
that we have.
Traditionally a band signs
to a major and there’s a cry of sell out from their fans, yet you
guys seemed to avoid that for the most part. Why do you think that is?
I think it’s because we never
listen to those people to begin with, ha ha. On our first demo we had
melodic singing and kids were like “fuck you, you sold out”! It’s
like “what the fuck”!? We just did a demo in our basement, how have
we sold out!? Ha ha.
It never crept into our minds.
We just established ourselves as a band that stuck to our guns and didn’t
Kids are too underground for anything
these days. If it’s not on limited colour vinyl and you can buy it
in more than one store in the whole world then it’s not cool enough,
ha ha. If you think about other people’s thoughts then you start to
second guess yourself and hold back… and we’re too selfish and bitter
to do that, ha ha.
Have you started throwing around
any ideas for your next release?
We’ll be finishing this touring
cycle in summer and then we can think about writing again. There may
have been a riff here or there that we recorded really quickly but we’ve
been in full tour mode. Once that finished this summer we can buckle
down and write.
December of last year marked
the second time Shadows Fall has been nominated for a Grammy. I know
Tim from As I Lay Dying had a lot to say about the validity of the awards
and how un-important they were to him, but what are your thoughts on
It was cool to be nominated honestly.
I didn’t put a lot of stock in it but it was cool nonetheless. I’ve
never really watched them before but it’s cool to have the industry
recognizing actual metal. I remember the first year Jethro Tull
beat Metallica! Now to see King Diamond nominated it’s
actual metal… so it’s really cool.
At the end of the day I got a
free trip to LA and got to party with some friends. Machine Head
were all there and As I Lay Dying was there except for Tim.
I was more thinking it was a good party with some hot celebrities and
some free drinks, ha ha… bring it on! I didn’t expect us to win
so I was just like “where’s the buffet”!? ha ha
What touring plans have you
got once you’re finished in Australia?
We have a one off headlining date
in Korea and then we’re hitting Japan with Arch Enemy and then
we’re going to the Philippines for the first time. After that we’re
setting up some shows in the US which is focusing on the cities that
we haven’t been to this year… the smaller towns I guess. They are
usually the most fun anyway because the kids are starved for live music.
It’s usually insane! Canberra
was like that last night! Kids were just going off! So we’re putting
together a bill for that and then we’ll hit Europe for some festivals
and decide whether or not to do another tour or hit the studio.
Any idea of when we’ll be
seeing another headlining run down here so we can hear some longer Shadows
Hopefully soon but I doubt we’ll
have time to do it on this album. We’ll finish the next record I think
and then do a headlining tour. Festivals are great but you’ve got
to trim it down… ten years of material into thirty five minutes is
hard, although it’s better than the twenty minute sets we get at Ozzfest, ha ha.
Hopefully next year though. This
has been our second time here and it’s been great so we can’t wait
to get back again!
Having spent most of 2007 on
the road are there any new bands that you heard or saw that think people
should be checking out?
This one band, The Showdown
from Tennessee! They are heavy, grooved out metal and they’re really
cool. We also did some shows with Skeleton Witch who are this
blackened, old school thrash band. They are two that stood out this
We toured with a lot of bands
that people probably already know. Divine Heresy is another band
who is getting their name out there now but we took them on their first
If you could assemble you’re
dream tour, with any bands (dead or alive), who would
you have on it and why?
I’d want to tour with Zeppelin
if Bonham could get behind the kit. We’d stand out but I don’t
care, ha ha.
The only big thrash band that
we’ve never played with is Metallica. We’ve played with Megadeth, Testament, Anthrax, Death Angel but not Metallica! We played a festival with them but we were
three stages away so it doesn’t really count, ha ha. If James
is out there and listening then please make it happen! Ha ha
We’ll spread the word man,
Awesome! Make it happen! Ha ha
That’s all we’ve got time
for Brian, is there anything else you’d to say?
We’re just stoked to be back
here and once the new record is done we’ll be back for a headlining
Thanks to everyone for their support
and for making this happen and thank you for your time man and for spreading
It was a pleasure Brian, enjoy
the rest of the tour.