SHADOWS FALL Singer On Songwriting Process: ‘We Always Want To Bring In Some Twists And Turns’

Chad Bowar of Heavy Metal recently conducted an interview with vocalist Brian Fair of Massachusetts metallers SHADOWS FALL. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. Heavy Metal: When did you begin the songwriting process for “Fire In The Sky”?

Brian Fair: Once we got off the road last year for “Retribution”, we took a little time off, but Matt [Bachand] and Jon [Donais] started getting riffs together pretty much right away. Then over the next year we worked on tunes on and off. We played some shows here and there, and both Paul [Romanko, bass] and I got married and took some time off. We really started getting refocused around mid-summer. Throughout the summer we were writing and jamming. In early fall we started doing demos and getting slightly more polished versions of the songs together. Adam [Dutkiewicz, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE guitarist and acclaimed producer] came in for pre-production around that time and helped us out. We went into the studio at the end of the year and we were writing up until the last day of drum tracking, so there were still ideas coming out. Heavy Metal: Did you have a specific musical direction you wanted to go in for this album?

Brian Fair: No, we never really do. Usually the first couple of songs set a vibe or tone, but we don’t sit down and say we are going to write a really fast record or a really melodic record. It’s whatever comes out at the time, and that’s usually based on what we’re listening to or where our heads are at during that time. As the band progresses, we know what we do well, and have that groundwork we come from, but we always want to bring in some twists and turns. Heavy Metal: What led you to work with producer Adam D again after all these years?

Brian Fair: We have wanted to work with Adam D for a while. Zeuss has done an amazing job for so many years, but after a long time you want to mix things up a little bit and bring in a different set of ears. Even a change of location can make a difference. Adam has made a lot of great records, but he’s also a friend and an incredible musician. It makes the working environment very easy. He knows our sound backwards and forwards. He can also present his ideas in a way that other musicians can understand. He can physically show us what he’s talking about. He’s also great at subtle ideas; a tiny harmony here, a small guitar layer there, a little percussion in the background that really makes a part pop. Those are the kind of things as a band we may not think of. His perspective for that kind of stuff is invaluable. Heavy Metal: Your last album, “Retribution”, you released on your own label. This time you signed with Razor Tie. What led to that decision?

Brian Fair: We had a cool experience with our imprint on the Warner label and had a lot of success with that. It was definitely cool. But one thing we did notice was that when you don’t have a full-time staff of publicity and things like that, it can become more difficult to keep the life of the project going. We weren’t sure there were even traditional record deals left. Then Razor Tie came with a very band-friendly, straight-up record deal. No 360 stuff, no publishing, merch, touring. It was strictly a recording deal. They have had great success recently with bands in the metal world like ALL THAT REMAINS, but they also have backing from a totally different world, like the KIDZ BOP. That’s what bankrolls a lot of stuff. Yeah, we’ll spend some KIDZ BOP money! [laughs] The staff there is great. Their publicity team is awesome, the radio team has had tons of success. They got a metal band like ALL THAT REMAINS into the top five in commercial radio, which is unheard of. We were really confident that they understood a band like us. They also had a lot of proactive ideas, with the changing landscape of the music industry and trying to figure out how it’s going to work. That was also very important to us. We wanted somebody with a finger on the pulse of what’s happening now, but also an eye for the future.

Read the entire interview Heavy Metal.

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