Last month, somewhat out of the blue except to those in the know, NWOAHM pioneers Shadows Fall announced that their imminent UK and European tour with Unearth, The Hell On Earth Tour 2014 would be the band’s last full European tour and that the band would be going on hiatus following that tour and certain other final runs (still to be confirmed). With this in mind Rock Sins sought out Shadows Fall when they were on the last of their three UK shows on the Hell On Earth Tour at The Camden Underworld in London and over a pint of Pilsner, Jamie caught up with Shadows Fall founding member and guitarist Matt Bachand to set the record straight on a few things and reminisce about Shadows Fall’s appearances over the years in Britain.
Standard Questions To Get Out Of The Way First, You guys have been here for a couple of days so far, how have the other two shows been?
Matt: It’s been great! I love coming to the UK, it’s a great country. At least I can speak the language *laughs*. And I love the food, and I know that a lot of Americans don’t say that.
Jamie: Yeah that one is a bit of a mixed response.
Matt: I love it! I love it, I just came from Nandos about ten minutes ago so I’m all set.
Jamie: Awesome, Nandos is a big favourite with some of the bands who come here.
Matt: Oh yeah, well we just don’t have it (back home).
After this you’re going round the rest of Europe for more shows, with the announcement last week (of Shadows Fall’s impending hiatus) you may not be back for some time, if ever, has it been a bit of a surreal tour as a result?
Matt: I don’t see it as being any different and I’m trying not to think about it. I know we’ll be back at some point and somewhere along the way, I just don’t know when, that’s the big thing. I think people took that press release and made up their own story about what it meant. We’re not breaking up, we don’t hate each other, we’re not stopping, some people just need to take care of their families. There’s young kids involved and sometimes life just gets in the way.
Jamie: And the need to pay the bills too.
Matt: Yeah! If the time arises where it makes sense financially and personally for us to do something else, we will. There’s nothing really weird about it. It’s just there’s no set schedule like there used to be. It’s not like “oh we’ll be back next year”. I just don’t know.
Are there plans in place to do at least one more run of shows in the States and maybe a few other places?
Matt: We’re going to try to hit other markets we haven’t been able to do before or for awhile. We’re talking about doing a short run in Australia, a US run will definitely happen, I think that will be in the spring (of 2015). Whatever we can fit in.
Jamie: It would be cool if you guys could get onto Soundwave (touring festival) in Australia or something like that.
Matt: That would be great. I love Soundwave. We’ve done it twice I think already and I’d love to do it again. But even if it’s small club gigs like this or whatever I just love going there, it’s a very cool place.
You’ve already said you don’t know what’s going to happen from here on in, is it a case that nothing whatsoever for a period of time or would you still be writing stuff?
Matt: I think everything is going to be on hold. There’s no way to really write music at the moment with Jon (Donais, Shadows Fall’s other guitarist) playing with Anthrax now and he lives in Hollywood now so he’s not nearby me anymore. Him and I write a lot of the core “riff parts” and get the music going. Without him around to even get that ball rolling. Then again if we’re not going to tour on something and with the state of the industry, if it was back in the time when you could make money from putting a record out and you didn’t have to tour as much that would be a different story too. It’s just not the case anymore, you have to stay out on the road and right now that’s just not possible.
Will you personally look to get involved in anything else while Shadows Fall is on hold?
Matt: Absolutely. I am for hire, I am available. I’ve got nothing keeping me at home so I’m ready to keep going. So if anyone’s got an opening, or I might start something new. I’ve got some stuff that was intended for a Shad record but I don’t know, I could do something else. Right now I’m just trying to get through this tour and get some closure on it. We’ll see what happens when I get home. But I’m definitely going to stay busy, I still love doing this and I don’t want to stop.
As we were just alluding to prior to the interview, you guys have been coming here for a long time, nearly fifteen years, do you have any favourite moments or favourite memories from your trips to the UK?
Matt: Ah man, it’s all been good. Of course all the Download (Festival appearances) are amazing, and the club gigs are always great. We’ve played here, played The Barfly, it’s all good. I really have nothing bad to say. The UK has treated us well and I love being here.
Jamie: It’s a shame because I know in recent years you’ve had to cancel a couple of tours for different reasons like the Ill Nino tour for example so the last few years you maybe haven’t been able to get here as much as you would have liked.
Matt: Right. The tour with Ill Nino was never even supposed to happen really, someone confirmed that without our knowledge and we were already busy doing something else. So it was just a conflict of time schedules. Suddenly we were told “oh it’s happening” and we were like “uh, no it’s not! We already have this!”. So that was just a scheduling issue and often that is the case. We don’t not want to come here – that’s why we’re here now!
Aside from your most recent Download the last time I saw you guys was down the street a few years ago at the (Electric) Ballroom with Five Finger Death Punch, that was an awesome show.
Matt: Oh yeah man, that was.
Jamie: I guess they’re an example of a band, one of the few metal bands who’ve exploded since the industry has gone the way it has.
Matt: Yeah, but you just have to look at the numbers. People aren’t buying records, they’re taking the music. At least people are still coming out to shows, that’s what would kill it. If crowds were lighter and people weren’t coming to shows any more the whole thing would die. Then, after awhile, people would wonder “hey how come these bands aren’t coming to my town” and it would be like “well you’re not buying the record and you’re not buying a ticket why am I going to be there?!”. If you’ve got to work at Walmart to pay your bills you can’t just drop everything. So long as people support live music hopefully it’ll bounce back and there will be some way the industry can recover. Right now it’s fucked.
Jamie: Yeah, so many bands in the UK, even ones that are getting to decent size are still going back and all doing day jobs and using their time off to do the tours.
Matt: We’re still doing that too. A lot of us will be straight back to work as soon as we get back to the States. We’re only in Europe 18, 19 days and then it’s back to work. It’s one of those things, you don’t really have a choice.
I’ll give you an open ending, anything you want to say for the fans to read or hear?
Matt: Don’t believe the hype. We’re not breaking up! We’re just hibernating for a little while. You will probably see us as a festival here and there or random one offs, it’s just not a full time thing anymore. But you’ll probably see me popping up with other bands here and there, I’m going to keep going.
You can read a review of Shadows Fall’s show at The Underworld with Unearth and the rest of the Hell On Earth tour 2014 line up right here. Shadows Fall’s future touring plans for final full runs of shows in America and other locations are yet to be confirmed. If and when anything is announced it will be covered here on Rock Sins. For up-to-the-minute information please follow Shadows Fall on Twitter @ShadowsFallBand and on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/shadowsfall.