Monday, March 10, 2014

Shrapnel Interview

Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?

Well, we finished recording at the end of October 2012, so it’s been quite a long time from then up to the release date at the start of the February this year. Essentially, the whole album was a DIY job so most of last year was spent trying to get a label to pick it up haha! We had a pretty cool year and played some awesome shows, but really it was a case of getting some loose ends of the album tidied up with artwork and everything. Luckily around September time, Candlelight expressed an interest in releasing it, which was great for us. We’ve also now started working with Factory Music who will be helping us book up tours from now on, so we’re expecting to be fairly busy from now on.
We’ve also started looking at the next album and have begun throwing a few ideas around, but we’ll really be getting started on that more seriously around summer time.

You have a new album coming out early this years, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical direction it has taken and also how does it differ from your 2 previous ep's?

Yeah, the album finally came out on February 3/4th. Really, I think it is just a big step up from anything that we’ve done in the past. It’s been quite a long time since we started writing it, maybe around Christmas 2011, but there was definitely a feeling that we didn’t want to stray too far from it being an out-and-out fast thrash record. I think the difference from the EPs is that we allowed more of our other influences to come through a little. Me and Jae (singer) especially spoke at length about our various more extreme music tastes, and about putting in the odd riff or vocals  that might have a bit of a death metal nuance in there.
I think one of our aims was to make sure that the album was quite well balanced. We’d never written a full length before, so we were careful to make sure that people wouldn’t get bored listening half way through. We wanted to make it as memorable and exciting to listen too as possible. We looked at a lot of our favourite records and asked why we kept going back to albums like “Peace Sells…” or “Seasons In The Abyss” or whatever, because they still sound fresh and interesting. So that was something that we really set out to achieve.

The new album is going to be the first release since 2010, can you explain what has been going on during the last 4 years?

Looking back, 2010 seems like such a long time ago now! Time flies. Really, last year was the least busy we have been, it kinda sucked. It seemed like we did a lot of waiting around trying to find a label. Thankfully we finally did. 2010 to 2012 was really busy, recording and releasing the 2nd EP with Russ Russell, playing loads of shows and trying to get our name out there, then straight away getting on with writing and recording the album which took us into early 2013. Now the album is out and everything is kicking into gear again and we’re looking forward to the next few years of touring and recording!

Can you tell us a little bit more about the lyrical topics and subjects the new release explores?

I’m really happy with a lot of the lyrical stuff on the album. Chris and Jae did a killer job of coming up with some awesome content. There’s quite a diverse bunch of subject on ‘The Virus’, from political themes, social inequality, questioning religion, and then there’s just some straight-out serial killer shit in there too haha. Jae is usually fairly happy to go off on his own and write lyrics, but Chris (guitar) and I spent some time bouncing ideas and titles off of each other and really trying to think of some interesting stuff. There’s a song on there that I love called ‘Red Terror’, which looks at the Russian Revolution which Chris wrote some awesome lyrics for. The title track and album art explores the idea of a powerful elite controlling world events and resources, and again I think the guys did a really good job on it. I think one of my favourites is ‘Braindead’, which is pretty much about how much we fucking hate reality TV and celebrity culture. It makes us wanna puke, seeing these idiots held up as celebrities.  

What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Shrapnel'?

I think the name shows how little we really thought the band could achieve when we started. Obviously we had the hope that we would do some cool stuff, but I don’t think we ever expected to get this far, so we really didn’t care what we were called. We just thought it sounded cool for a fast aggressive band. It kinda sums up the music and our attitude at the time pretty well. We were never into these modern, super long band names that appear out there. We miss bands having names like “Vio-Lence”, “Death”, “Venom”, “Slayer”, you know? It does what it says on the tin. We probably didn’t think about it as much as we should have done because there’s more than one ‘Shrapnel’ out there, but we didn’t give a shit. I think Chris just shouted it out in rehearsal, and the rest of us thought it was cool haha!

What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

There has been so many awesome shows! Each time we played with Exodus has been insane. Last August was the latest at the Underworld in Camden, London. It was rammed and boiling hot, and everyone in there just seemed ready for chaos. The place just exploded, it was fun haha. Bloodstock has always been cool, last year again was insane. We got to play second stage and it just seemed huge compared to anything we’d done before. Our stage show has become fairly aggressive haha.

What are the touring plans for the new album?

We’re actually heading out pretty soon on March 13th with Overkill and Xentrix for a short UK run and Hammerfest which is gonna be killer. We’ve also got another UK run later on in the year around September time. Now that we’re with Factory Music, we’re should be booking up shows into next year, but we’re just waiting on a few thing at the moment.

On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of thrash metal?

The feedback has been incredible so far! It’s been pretty mind blowing to be honest. We’ve been getting press and reviews coming in over the last month or so and it has just been really positive. There seems to be a consensus that we’ve managed to balance out the old school, and new school feel of thrash so we’ve been able to appeal to a pretty broad base. It’s been really cool that a lot of old school thrash fans have really taken to the album. To see our name listed among our influences is incredible, that’s the kind of thing you dream about when you’re younger and it is just awesome. We were really cuffed that Candlelight have released it in the US too - which wasn’t the plan to begin with - and the feedback from there has been great. We’re really desperate to get over to some other countries to see what folk think of it in a live setting!

9. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?

That’s a tough one. I can’t see us abandoning thrash anytime soon, but I do think they’ll be some more extreme stuff on the next album. In November last year we actually went back to Russ’ studio to record some new stuff. I wanted to try experimenting with a few things before we started on the 2nd album, just to see if we could pull off a few different ideas and messing about with tunings etc. Hopefully that’ll see the light of day at some point. We listen to a lot of different stuff, so there will be the temptation to take a bit of a left turn, but I think it will just be an evolution from ‘The Virus’, in the same way we grew from the EPs. From the stuff that’s being demoed at the moment, I don’t think it will be disappointing though! We won’t be going and chucking a bunch of overtly poppy singing in or anything haha!

10.  What are some bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

I’ve been playing in bands like this for quite a while now, so the list of influences that have helped up to this point is pretty long. Obviously they’ll always be the Big 4, Bay Area, German and other European thrash influences, but there’s a lot of other genres that provide ideas. My favourite band will always be Sabbath, but my music tastes have been going a bit mad recently haha. Lots of Miles Davis and Art Blakey and jazzy stuff. But metal-wise; lots of death! Grave and Asphyx! Maybe that’ll show on the next record?!

11. Do you have any non musical interests?

Sometimes it’s hard to think of what else I do when we’re not rehearsing, getting ready for shows or recording haha. I think it’s because music in general and this band have played such a central part of my life for so long and most of the time it’s what I’m thinking about. Any time off work is usally going to shows and festivals, and that’s been my thing for years. It’s probably the same with the other guys too.  I’m studying modern history right now and looking at starting university this year. I love reading, so that tends to take up most of my time between working and Shrapnel stuff. I sound dull haha, I wish I could say I was an enthusiastic extreme-base jumper or some shit, but no; reading and music haha.

12. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Cheers for letting me ramble on and thanks to everyone for the positive comments and for checking out the album! Hopefully you can come do some thrashing with us live soon!!!

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