Jonathan Donais / Shadows Fall

Kenneth Beaumont
interviews Jonathan Donais
Shadows Fall are carving new ground in metal once again. Their fourth studio album has hit the shelves and for the first time it carries both the Atlantic and Roadrunner label. The music once again forges new ground in music but as you are about to discover, the band was pushing in new directions with album art as well.

You’re over in the states and correct me if I’m wrong but you’re playing at the UFC Arena tonight. Are you going to pull out any Ground n’ Pounds during the show?

HA! Yeah right, I’d get my ass kicked!

How’s the tour going at the moment?

Well we’re four days deep and it’s been great so far. It’s always fun to do these festival packages because there’s a lot of fun bands to hang out with and you get into a bunch of stupid shit with a bunch of other guys.

Congratulations on the new album, I’ve got to admit that the first thing that strikes you about it even before you get it into the player is the original album art by Alex. I’m curious as to what kind of process do you go through for finding album art?

Yeah, we know this guy called Angry Johnny who did some Dinosaur Jr. stuff a while back and he was in our home town and we hang out at the same bars and we’ve always loved his artwork and we thought it would look a lot different from what anybody else is doing in the metal world. So we wanted to have our own theme going and we thought it would be perfect to see what he would do so we gave an advanced copy of the cd after we were done recording it and we were like, “here’s what it sounds like” and so he just listened to the cd and painted away. He came up with, well there’s not a name for that guy but we’ve been calling him Rootman. He did four or five different versions of him and we just picked one.

And like you said it is vastly different to what others are doing art wise within the metal scene.

That was one big thing, we just really wanted it to stand out. It’s my favourite cover but unfortunately no one buys cds anymore. I’m glad you actually looked at that because I love buying a cd and checking out the art and everything. It seems that it has been lost these days, no one really cares about that stuff anymore.

Yeah, it’s nice to get your hands on a metal album that isn’t just all black for a change.

Yeah that’s it, most of them just have skulls and crossbones everywhere. With the album art we just wanted to explore some different options.

This is your first release with Atlantic records, what is it that ended you relationship with Century Media?

The contract was done, we did all the records that were in our contract and so we figured why not take a chance to see what could happen. If we didn’t go do it and we stayed with Century Media I don’t know what could have happened. I don’t know, maybe we will just fall flat on our face.

So far they’ve been great, they haven’t tried to change us at all and they’re doing all they can for us right now.

The band isn’t shy about trying new things with music, what surprises you the most about the new album?

More than anything, I think the vocals really stepped it up this record, more than any previous record.

They’re bright and clear at the front of the mix as well.

Yeah, and not just the vocal performance. I love the sound that Nick got, we had to use a lot of different microphones and we had time to experiment. We were out there for months so we really had time to try everything that we could, we finally had a budget that gave us some time. We didn’t chop everything, like vocals or just play the riff once and loop it seven thousand times. Nick made us play, he’s a performance guy so we treated it like pro tools wasn’t even there. He made us play and get it right which is cool.