Friday, June 9, 2006
The following article was originally posted over at MTV.com:
SHADOWS FALL frontman Brian Fair lives more than an hour’s drive from the band’s practice space in Springfield, Massachusetts, where they’ve been working on their forthcoming Atlantic Records debut the last six months. But he doesn’t mind after all, the practice space is also above one of New England’s biggest nudie bars, Mardi Gras.
“It doesn’t make it too hard to go to work,” he laughed. “Us and STAIND both have a practice space up there. It’s amazing, too, because I’m used to Boston practice spaces, which are like $500 closets. So this is actually real spacious, and they have $12 pitchers downstairs. It’s not that hard to drive an hour and a half to practice when I know what’s waiting.”
At this point, Fair said, SHADOWS FALL have “the outlines of eight or nine songs” finished. The bandmembers meet three times a week for intense writing sessions. “We’re trying to overwrite,” the singer said. “We were just out in Los Angeles, and we shot a video for ‘In Effigy,’ ” off the band’s final LP for Century Media, Fallout From the War. “Beyond that, we’ve just been writing like hermits up in the practice space.”
Fallout From the War, which will be in stores Tuesday, features eight original SHADOWS FALL tunes and three covers: ONLY LIVING WITNESS‘ “December,” LEEWAY‘s “Mark of the Squealer” and DANGEROUS TOYS‘ “Teas’n, Pleas’n.”
Most of the new songs were borne out of the recording sessions for 2004’s The War Within. The video for “In Effigy,” shot with director Zach Merck (ATREYU, LACUNA COIL), will be a straight-ahead performance clip, according to a Century Media spokesperson.
“Some of these ideas started with The War Within, and this album’s being packaged as a companion piece to that, but for us, it took on a whole new life because after two years, those ideas changed so much it’s ridiculous,” Fair explained. “Like sometimes it was one or two riffs that were somewhere in the vault that we never got a chance to work on, and those original riffs might not have stayed the same. The vocal lines and lyrics were written this fall after [our stint on last summer’s] Ozzfest. To us, it’s a whole new record. One song, ‘Deadworld,’ goes back to the original SHADOWS FALL demo. It’s cool to hear 10 years of progression in one song.”
Fair said the album, while inspired by ideas the band was forced to abandon because of post-album touring commitments, is an LP that marks “another step forward for this band. With each record, we try to progress sonically and as songwriters. This album bridges the gap to The War Within, but for us, it stands on its own.”
The singer said there had been discussions with the label about re-releasing some of the band’s older material. “There was talk of remastering this and that. Someone suggested a box set. But it was like, ‘Dude, we have new songs. Let’s release new songs. The kids don’t want to hear old sh– again.’ “
Fair‘s had his hands full in recent months with both SHADOWS FALL and the recording sessions for OVERCAST‘s forthcoming album, Reborn to Kill Again, which he finished tracking vocals for three weeks ago. OVERCAST, the band Fair was in with KILLSWITCH ENGAGE bassist Mike D’Antonio before entering the SHADOWS FALL fold, reunited several months ago for a handful of live gigs and to record Reborn.
“It’s been a lot of fun, which normally isn’t what happens in the studio. Just a bunch of old friends getting together,” Fair said. “It’s been a blast. We’re never going to recapture that energy of a bunch of 16-year-old kids who didn’t know what they were doing, so this is a total different approach to it, and it sounds f—ing monstrous, man.”
As for jumping ship for the major label’s often choppy waters, Fair said it’s a decision he and the rest of the band had to make.
“We were friends with [the folks at Century Media] before we signed with the label, and they definitely went above and beyond what we thought an indie label could possibly do,” he said. “They did offer us a great deal, but we wanted to … see if we could take it to another level.
“It was a tough decision, but one we felt we really needed to make. We’ve been together 10 years, so we came with a contract and we knew exactly what we wanted. If people weren’t into that initial thing, we knew we could cut them off right away. We weren’t settling. We were brutally honest right at the beginning, and it stopped a lot of those dinners right away.
“These labels knew they weren’t signing Britney Spears,” Fair continued. “They were just getting a bunch of Ma–hole metalheads. We were just psyched to get some free pizza and beer.”