Steven Kowalski of Swigged! recently conducted an interview with bassist Paul Romanko of Massachusetts metallers SHADOWS FALL. A couple of excerpts from teh chat follow below.
Swigged!: SHADOWS FALL is unique because you first started off by getting signed to Century Media, an independent label, then you moved to the major label Atlantic Records. Things have since come full-circle with the band releasing its own music. How would you compare those three different points in the band's career?
Romanko: When you're starting off, getting signed to an indie was a huge step. At that point we were getting national recognize for something we loved. It was sort of the same situation on the major. It was a different sort of challenge. We did what we could with the indie thing, but we wanted to see where this could go. Not necessarily by changing our sound or views. It simply gave us a bigger force through which to push us. They both have their pros and their cons. The thing that we've learned is that it's best to own your own music and try to control as much of your career as you can. Since we've parted ways with Atlantic, we've set a deal with Independent [Label] Group. It's kind of going back where we came from, but taking the lessons we've learned along the way.
Swigged!: Whose decision was it to try the "on your own" route?
Romanko: It was a discussion between us, our management, and some other people involved. The way things are going, with the whole industry being shaken up with sales going down, there really are no secure places as far as labels go. We worked out some deal with a distributor who wanted to work for us with a passion and not use us for such a commodity.
Swigged!: Looking back, what would you consider the low point of the band?
Romanko: I think one of our low points was when we split with our drummer Dave. After "Of One Blood" and "The Art of Balance", we went a whole year without a drummer. Most of "The Art of Balance" was actually written with Brian [Fair, vocals] playing drums at practice. It was a cool way for us to get in sync with each other as songwriters and having Brian so involved. When Jason [Bittner] joined, we had most of the album actually written. I would consider that our low point because it was hard to stay creative and we weren't playing shows. It was a very slow 9-10 months.
Swigged!: Is there anything you would change?
Romanko: Overall, we've been pretty fortunate. Perhaps if we listened to some other people who came ahead of us or were doing things at the same time as us and take some advice. We haven't gotten ourselves in a situation business-wise where we've been completely screwed over for very long. We've made mistakes, but they've been smaller.
Swigged!: Obviously being connected and having the band be involved online is the way things are going in the music industry, what has band done to adapt?
Romanko: Right now we just finished recording a new album and we're going to try and come up with some cool package ideas — make some download applications. We're going to try and incorporate things like songs, videos, unreleased material and things like that. Staying active and current — like with Facebook and MySpace. That's become the new avenue of promotion.
Read the entire interview from Swigged!
SHADOWS FALL will release its fifth full-length album, "Retribution", on September 15. The follow-up to 2007's "Threads of Life" will be made available on the band's own label, Everblack Industries, which was created in conjunction with Warner Music Group's ILG, Ferret Music and ChannelZERO Entertainment. The CD was produced by Chris "Zeuss" Harris (HATEBREED, MUNICIPAL WASTE), with vocal production by Elvis Baskette (INCUBUS, ALTER BRIDGE). The cover artwork (see below) was created by Sons of Nero (UNEARTH, EVERY TIME I DIE, BRING ME THE HORIZON).
Video footage of SHADOWS FALL performing a brand new song entitled "A Public Execution" on June 20, 2009 at a private party in Southwick, Massachusetts can be viewed below.