Brendan Crabb of Australia’s Loud magazine recently conducted an interview with vocalist Brian Fair of Massachusetts metallers SHADOWS FALL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Loud: On the topic of the new album ["Fire From The Sky"], can you tell us about the lyrical approach that you adopted there?
Brian: Well, each song kinda has its own vibe, but there was definitely an overall kind of theme of the record… corruption, chaos, the apocalypse and things like that. The music that the guys were writing just had this really eerie, dark vibe, so that kind of inspired the lyrics to fall that way. Like the title track is about a star going like supernova, just devouring the planets and just destroying everything its way. So it was cool to me to write in almost like a fictional way for the first time, because usually our lyrics tend to be more philosophical or personal. So for me to write like that, do something different, was interesting. It’s not like a big concept album or huge theme, but there’s definitely a vibe that’s there.
Loud: Do you ever envision SHADOWS FALL doing a full-fledged concept record if you came across an idea or topic that inspired you to such an extent that you’d want to head in that direction?
Brian: If there was something that inspired me enough to write that many songs about one subject, I might be into that idea. But it’s just that each song usually inspires like its own kind of train of thought when I’m writing. If it’s a really aggressive song the lyrics tend to head that way. So I’d hate to try and like force a theme in the song that just wasn’t fitting, just to follow some sort of storyline. But one day if I had enough material that all [was able] to follow that same sort of direction, that’d be cool, but we’ll see.
Loud: How much, if at all, has the band’s songwriting approach changed during the course of seven albums?
Brian: We’ve kept the same basic format. Usually Matt [Bachand, guitar] or Jon [Donais, guitar] will come with like a rough home recording of some riffs that all tie together. So we usually work on that for a bit and jam on it until we have kind of an outline, a skeleton, and then I’ll start chipping away at the vocals from there. So that part has stayed the same. But what’s really been different is taking the time to just re-write and have the home studios that we all have [where] we’re all able to work on ideas maybe a little more… Just spend a little more time on it individually. So that’s probably helped to tighten things up quickly and by the time we get in the studio, we really have the songs pretty much nailed down, with just room for experimentation from there. So that part is pretty much the same, but you just learn more with each record and we’ve kind of learned more about each other’s [writing style] from just playing together for so long. We start to sort of either anticipate what they’re going to do or almost like read their minds at this point, you know?
Loud: Do you think that being among the first American bands to do that has helped you stay fresh and vital within the metal scene, while other bands mixing similar styles have come and gone in the meantime?
Brian: I think one of the important things is that we’ve always stayed true to kind of like our core sound and just really tried to stay as the band we started out as. I think a lot of times, a lot of bands that are kinda sticking to such a formulaic approach do what they think is supposed to be the metalcore sound or whatever they call it. Whereas we’ve always just tried to write great metal tunes, keep the musicianship as a huge part of our sound and never take away the guitar solos or only start writing three-minute tunes. And I think maybe that’s just what’s allowed us to kind of keep doing what we’ve done and not have to fall into place with whatever was happening at the time. We were just kinda out there before, showing what we were all about.
Read the entire interview from Loud.
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