Coop: That high pitch Rob Halford screaming, you hear a little in metal, but not as far as you guys take it.
Shane: Seriously, not in North American music, contemporary stuff; y’know there’s a lot of that stuff coming from Europe.
Coop: As a band how do you find that range?
Shane: Jamie does a lot of that Thomas Lind burg kinda stuff, but as far as the range, yeah, a lot of the Priest stuff, Merciful Fate, stuff like that.
Coop: I imagine some Maiden as well.
Sonny: Yeah, oh yeah.
Coop: So how did you get to that sound, trail and error, just pushing your music?
Shane: The way it happened was very natural, this happened before I was in the band but, I do know the story very well. They started out with just Jamie, and then they decided they wanted to add a little bit, cos they were writing old school, early sounding stuff y’know? Because of everyone’s influences. They decided, cos they were friends with Cam, they wanted to get some back up vocals; in that Halford/King Diamond kind of thing.
Coop: A little bit of the earlier type of stuff.
Coop: The Seventies, moving into the Eighties kinda era.
Shane: For sure, and it sounded great, so they just decided they wanted him to join the band, and he actually ended up taking more of a forefront; being kind of like the lead, they are both lead vocalists but Cam has that range that cuts through everything.
Coop: Did you find you changed the music to go with that?
Shane: It just worked perfectly, cos a lot of the song writing was that effortless, it just sounds good.
Coop: So how many times have you been over here?
Shane: The bands been over, this is the third time. This is the second time for me.
Coop: How do you find the audiences differ?
Shane: There is a difference, for sure, the audiences in the U.K seem to be the wildest, as far as enthusiasm and there’s like Thirteen year old girls who know all the lyrics and everyone’s going crazy. That does happen in North America, everywhere we play in Canada, is completely insane.
Coop: Do you find its select audience, or is it quite broad?
Shane: It’s very broad, that’s one thing we noticed is we get a lot of hardcore kids we get tons of the old metal dudes. Lots of those guys, cos y’know they have no new music that they love, like they grew up with.
Coop: Do you think there’s an absence of that then?
Shane: Yeah. For sure, if you’ve noticed a lot of the new metal bands who totally rule like if you listen to Children of Bodom and Trivium's very popular over here, theres elements of older stuff; But it’s almost like were taking all the elements that are not being used, a lot of the vocals a lot of the maiden type guitar harmonies, just the old style pummelling.
Coop: Do feel that people are trying to mix genres
Shane: That’s happening a lot.
Coop: Do you feel it’s a good thing, or that mixing can sometimes weaken something?
Shane: It all up to the influence, like where you’re coming from, I guess.
Coop: Did you tour with Strapping Young Lad?
Shane: Before I actually joined 3 inches of blood, I guitar teched for them.
Coop: Devin Townsend has that high vocal range.
Shane: oh yeah. He’s one of those guys that I’ve had a chance to work for and hang out with, and he can pretty much do anything he wants, and he’s definitely got that going on.
Coop: He’s more of an experimentalist. Did you play with the darkness?
Shane: That was when the band first came to the U.K, before I joined.
Coop: What do you think of them?
Shane: I think there a great band; I’m a big fan of just straight up rock and roll.
Coop: Cos that’s what it is
Shane: That was a big turning point for the band, for our band, that was the tour right as the Darkness where breaking, right before the really broke huge.
Coop: Was it in this country?
Sonny: It was strictly the U.K. There was a lot of shows where people were there to see the Darkness and didn’t give a shit about our band, and there were other shows that really great.
Coop: Good exposure.
Sonny: Oh yeah, we meet kids all the time, who were at those shows. That got us some fans that definitely helped us get a record deal too. Just getting a buzz over here.
Coop: You joined the band before or after they got signed to Roadrunner?
Shane: Right before the album was released.
Coop: So how’s the tour going so far?
Shane: Brillant, Leeds was awesome, we played at the Cockpit. Himsa packed the place pretty good and it was great. The fans from front to back were just like all metal horns (laughs) – it was great, a few plastic swords.
Coop: I was gonna ask you about that.
Shane: That happens a lot.
Coop: The albums called ‘Advance and Vanquish’ – is that something of a code or statement?
Shane: It was a little more of the theme of the lyrical content. A lot of songs about battle, y’know-futuristic battle, old school kinda dungeons and dragons style battle, there's Tolkien references in there.
Coop: What’s interesting is that like say Bolt Thrower your songs about conflict are from a positive perspective.
Shane: It’s more of like an attitude of us as people, where it’s like, were more of like ‘the glass is half full’ kind of people. It’s not like ‘War is going on, were all gonna die’, it’s more like ‘Pull up your socks, were going to battle’ – can’t go to battle sitting down-can’t win.
Coop: How much research goes into the songs and themes?
Shane: The lyrics are strictly Cam and Jamie; both of them are well read. Jamie grew up, since he was like four years old, his parents reading him like ‘Lord of the rings.’ books. Both of those guys play D & D.There well read in like sci-fi.
Coop: Is there ever a time when they bring an idea and you like ‘No way’ it’s to far.
Shane: No, no anything goes, the next records lyrics are going to be a lot different, they’ll probably be a different theme.
Coop: Is that what you’re going to go for-a totally different theme?
Shane: I don’t know about entirely, it will be different, like something all six of us agree on is we don’t want to do ‘Advance and vanquish part 2’ cos that would be boring and redundant because coming from the fans, it’s like ‘We don’t wanna hear the same album again’ and for us we don’t wanna tour for another year, basically doing the same thing.
Coop: How much of the new material has been written?
Shane: We’ve got about six songs, skeletons, were Justin and I have sat down-we’ve got like a million riffs and song ideas, Jamies got like 12 songs and lyrics.
Coop: How’s that come together?-Just get in a room and thrash it out?
Shane: Absolutely, we’ll just sit down, we’ll all arrange together.
Coop: How long did it take to put the trilogy (Upon the boiling sea) together?
Shane: The way it’s gonna happen now, is that were not going to have any rules, as far as the writing process goes, just to keep it fresh, were one day I’ll have enough ideas for everyone, to go ‘O.k. here’s all the ideas’ and the next day it may be Justin has an idea, Brian has one.
Coop: So everyone gets there say.
Shane: Especially with the new line-up,cos there’s been many line-ups.Theres been three: right before the record started the original bass player and drummer left, that’s when are old drummer Matt wood and our current bass player Brian joined and then right after recording the original guitar players left and that’s when Justin and I joined, so that’s movement two; and then recently Matt wasn’t able to tour anymore, and y’know musically there were some differences with him-I’m still great friends with him. He was more of a ‘stay home’ kind of guy. The last fourteen months we’ve been on the road for twelve-he’s got a relationship at home, he and I have A Melvin’s cover band at home
Coop: What are they called?
Shane: Snivlem (Laughs.) Alexi joined the band like three and a half months ago and now were like a well-oiled machine.Everyones on the same page No-ones going to be leaving cos of girls or stuff. Now it’s very solid; but what I meant to say earlier was that opposed to the very first line-up, whereas there’s basically one main songwriter, now there’s like everyone.
Coop: Do you think this shows on the new album?
Shane: It definitely shows on the newest one.
Coop: What did the band want to achieve with ‘Advance and vanquish’?
Shane: In album form, that would be, speaking for the other guys, having lots of different parts, not just throwing parts together and y’know, heres a song with 10 riffs. It’s more like epic sounding songs that would really work.Theres a lot of great hooks on there, like ‘Wykydtron’-that ones one of my favourites to play live.
Coop: How did Lee Turner fit into the production?
Shane: He was kinda like ‘Here’s what the band is’, he brought out everyone’s strengths, a few arrangement ideas, he’d say ‘You only play that riff once, we gotta bring that riff in again’. A good example would be the main riff in ‘Fear on the bridge’. He was just bringing strengths out of the band. Very patient gentleman.
Coop: Did he need to be?
Shane: No, I think the album only took like, 3 weeks. The band at that point had played a lot.
Coop: So how did you hook up with Ed Repka for the artwork?
Shane: He was on suggestion, there kind of a list of people to work with, from the label. He’s most famous for the cover of ‘Peace sells…’ by Megadeth.He recently did a band called ‘Municipal waste.’ He’s done lots of obscure bands like ‘Uncle slam’
Coop: You look on stage is very much straight off the street, as opposed to maybe what some might expect from subject matter and artwork?-If you had a bigger budget would you have more of a elaborate show?
Shane: Probably not, the lyrics are certainly a fantasy, storytelling whereas, were not going to be like Dio y’know, don’t get me wrong-we all love Dio, but he’d have a big dragon on stage with lights coming out of its nose (Laughs.).We are strickly, what you see is what you get.We just wanna pummel you live, as opposed to pummelling you with sets. If we ever have a budget, we’d love to have a great light show.
Coop: Guitar wise how do you split the parts?
Shane: I take on more of a lead guitar role, but Justin takes on leads; as far as the harmonies go, it’s just who’s the most comfortable doing them. Our playing styles and influences are completely different, it comes together nicely we work together well.Theres no big egos.
Coop: What works for the song?
Shane: Exactly, it more like were thinking of the band and the song. I’m more like pentatonic, Angus young, Tony Iommi.I’m really getting into Michael Schenker,it’s just more of that tasty feel thing, those guys like in Trivium,those fret burners are great, that’s just not what I do.
Coop: Jimmy Page influences too.
Shane: Oh yeah, Jimmy Page, it has a lot to do with when I learned to play, my listening tastes has a lot to do with that too. For the last 6 or so years I’ve more into that ‘Doom’ sound.
Coop: Like stoner metal?
Shane: I love that shit man, it’s to me very primal, where they can take one note. That may shine through on the next album. I’ve always been more riffs orientated. Just awesome right hand stuff.
Coop: ‘Premonition of pain’ has a riff like that.
Shane: For sure, and going back to ‘Wykydtron’ that’s another one.
Coop: That Iron maiden ‘Gallop’.
Shane: That’s something in our playing that’s going to stay that kind of ‘gallop’ it’s just fast ass picking.
Coop; what have you got planned for Christmas and New Year?
Shane: When we go home we gonna spend Christmas with our families,start the writing for the next album,from January were going to be doing a few select dates,and basically January and February is all writing. Were recording in March.
Coop: So someone who’s never seen you before, what should they expect?
Shane: Most definitely to be sonically pummelled, a lot of head banging.
INTERVIEW BY MARK COOPER