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lunedì 31 ottobre 2011
Translation: Dope Fiend
Joe Nurre - Guitars, Vocals
Simon Dorfman - Drums
Melodic death has its birth in Sweden, can anyone deny that? But now the genre has been absorbed across the ocean and fortunately there are still people who do not contaminate it with metalcore, is the case of Shaded Enmity is the case, they have come to the third album with "Hijo Perdido" and which we learn more about with this interview.
Welcome to Aristocrazia Webzine Joe, how are you?
Joe: Hey Gabriele and thanks for having me on the Aristocrazia Webzine. I am doing well today. It's Sunday and I just got back from breakfast with a friend.
Strangely, your name has little public in comparison to what you deserve, you are already on the third disc, how did the band born and how has it evolved in this decade of activity?
Shaded Enmity actually had a very strange beginning. I was fifteen and a sophomore in high school and it was my first year living in Seattle and i didn't know anyone at my school. I was in a video production class at the high school and in this class of about thirty kids, were Eric Haugland (original bassist) and Andy Mannino (original drummer). I overheard the guys talking one day about how they were playing in this band called Shaded Enmity but they were having problems finding a vocalist. I approached Eric one day and talked with him a little bit and I showed him some stuff that i had written on guitar which ended up being the song "Tears Of Anger" which is off the 2003 EP "From The Heavens They Fell" which is out of print. At this point in time, Shaded Enmity was not looking for a guitarist but they were looking for vocals. Shaded Enmity was Rob Steinway (guitar), Chris Mannino (guitar), Eric Haugland (bass) and Andy Mannino (drums). The band was also not a melodic death metal band and I had no influence on the writing or the lyrics. Chris Mannino originally came up with the name and the band was a straight up Death Metal band. Eric invited to Chris's house to try out and I screamed a Morbid Angel song (I can't remember the song), "I Am The Black Wizards" by Emperor and "Worlds Within A Margin" by In Flames. The guys asked me to join the band immediately and asked me to enter the studio the following week to record vocals to the poorly produced EP "Tyranny Within" which, thank god, not many people have heard. After playing some shows with the band, Rob and Eric were interested in taking the band in a different direction, and Chris was wanting to stay on the death metal path. Rob and Eric had heard some of the material I was writing and they were really into it and so we started jamming some of the songs I had written. We ended up splitting from Chris who went on to form the band Evangelist, and we kept the name Shaded Enmity but I took control over the writing part of the band. Shortly after jamming with Eric and Rob, I asked a good friend Jer Keller (drums) to join the band and this is what became Shaded Enmity until Jer and Eric left the group shortly after 2005 "Thought and Remembrance" album. This is how Shaded Enmity was born. The biggest evolution in the band obviously came when I had Simon Dorfman take over the drums for Shaded Enmity. We also don't play any of the songs from before "Like Prayers On Deaf Ears" because our style has drastically changed so much. It can be frustrating at times because like you said, we are on our third disc and still not many people know about the band, especially in the United States. We will continue on regardless.
I already had the pleasure to contact you last year for the release of "Like Prayers On Deaf Ears", album that I liked much. How did it go with that album? For what I read on the network the responses were very positive.
"Like Prayers On Deaf Ears" was a great experience as far as making a record goes. All of us were a little apprehensive about who to go to for our record. We didn't just want your average "local" sounding recording, and we found Don Gunn who ended up doing a great job with us for our album. We then had Troy Glessner master the album and he has worked with many bands, labels, and producers. We were all very happy with the production and it was just a matter of time before we were able to get the album out to the world. After the pressing of the album, I submitted it to several magazines for review and someone from those magazines ended up leaking our album on a Torrent site which is how Shaded Enmity really started to get recognized. That album was received extremely positive. There were fans putting our songs up on Youtube and Last.Fm and I was starting to get emails from all over the world saying how much they enjoyed the band and wondering where they could buy a cd. The internet has been a tremendous help to this band. We still remained fairly unknown though after that album came out, but our name was definitely out there.
New chapter, but not different stylistic coordinates from the previous one, "Hijo Perdido" continues to be a legitimate child of the Gothenburg sound with a modern look, what were your references? What are the bands that influenced you and that have made you love that genre?
It's very flattering when someone compares us to the Gothenburg sound because so many of the bands I first started listening to were from that area. I have never set out to copy or mimic that certain Gothenburg sound, all I knew was that this style of metal was one of the first genres of music that really moved me emotionally and evoked so many things. A melodic death metal song can have emotions ranging from angry, happy, sad to destruction and beauty. The very first song I heard from a European melodic death band was "Warhearts" by Children Of Bodom. After that, I knew that was the music I wanted to play. Some of the first bands that I heard were Gardenian, In Flames (I spun "The Jester Race" cd hundreds of times), Children Of Bodom, Eternal Tears Of Sorrow, Amon Amarth and Kalmah. I obviously take influences from other styles of music, but as far as the Gothenburg/Melodic Death Metal genre, these were the bands that really got me into it. The very first concert I went to with a melodic death band was In Flames opening for Iced Earth. Jag Panzer was on the bill as well. The "Clayman" album had just came out and I was so amazed when In Flames hit the stage. I was sixteen or so at the time and seeing these guys was just awesome. They opened with "Bullet Ride" which was my first introduction to In Flames and I remember thinking to myself that night that this was all I wanted to do was to tour and do exactly what these guys were doing. The live dueling harmonies that In Flames did were quite impressive to me at that age and I wasn't too sure how a band that sounded so good on cd, would sound live, and they exceeded my expectations.
I noticed more various dynamics and settings of this latter work, there's more atmosphere but there are no lack of outbursts of speed, there were substantial differences in the process of songwriting?
As far as the writing process goes, there wasn't a whole lot done differently. I handle all the song writing in Shaded Enmity, and Simon handles all his drum parts and I almost never tell him what to play. The one thing I did want to do with "Hijo Perdido" is I wanted the songs to have a little more room in them and a little less vocals. In looking back at "Like Prayers On Deaf Ears" I think I screamed a little too much and I probably could have done the arrangement of vocals better, but you live and you learn and that is why you try to do different things every record. I was a lot happier with the way I arranged the vocals this time, and I tried to make the guitar melodies even catchier. Songs like "Man At The Edge Of The World" or "The Botanist" were definitely a lot different than all the songs on the "Like Prayers On Deaf Ears" record, but songs like "Hijo Perdido" and "One Way Out" sound like stylistically they could have been on the "Like Prayers On Deaf Ears" record.
Evolution seems underway, you were slowly approaching to write the perfect disk for Shaded Enmity. Why you have not revived a fully acoustic track like "Adventures In Suicide"?
That's actually something I was a little disappointed about as far as "Hijo Perdido" goes. I wasn't able to get a proper instrumental on the record. I actually did have an acoustic instrumental written and we only had two hours left in the studio and I tried to record and finish the song but when the engineer sent me the mix of the song, I was not happy with it and decided not to put it on the record. If we would have had a bigger budget to work with, you definitely would have seen an instrumental on this record. I plan to put at least one on the next record. Sometimes we open our live shows with "Adventures In Suicide" playing as our intro but it would be cool to do it live.
You are a duo now started, how you find the motivation for composing and shaping your texts? What are the issues you face and how you treated it? Who is "Hijo Perdido"? There is a clear reference to the ecclesiastical figures in the cover and it's hard not to notice the constant decay of words like "faith", "religion" and "believe", are the dogmas dropped and now they are paying the consequences?
Actually, for the past nine months or so we have had a guy named Steven Cheng playing guitar with us, and it looks like he is going to be a permanent member of the band. Same thing with Jesse Heidner who is currently playing bass for us. We consider him and Steven permanent members of Shaded Enmity. During the time we were a duo with just Simon and myself, it didn't affect the band at all because in all reality, Shaded Enmity is Joe Nurre and Simon Dorfman. Rob and Zach never had any influences on the writing since I handle all of it. I wrote all their parts including bass, and then I would tab them out and give it to the guys to practice. Simon is the only other one besides myself who has creative input in Shaded Enmity. My motivation for composing music comes from the daily struggles in life. Always remember that from something sad can always come something beautiful but it won't just happen for you. You have to make that beauty come alive. I write about everything from past drug addictions, close friends with bad drug problems, child molestation, the church and religion in general, depression, relationships, and suicide. All my past struggles in life and even my current ones are dealt with in my music, and Shaded Enmity is my outlet for all of that. "Hijo Perdido" or in English "Lost Son", is myself and anyone who has ever felt like me. My entire life I have felt lost and that I didn't belong anywhere. No, this is not some emo cry for help, this is a human being saying that there is something in my brain that says I am the child that was not meant to be like the rest and that in my mind there is a constant reminder that for some reason this life doesn't seem like it is for me. If you have ever felt like this, this album should hit your heart and you should take this into consideration when reading the lyrics. The lyrics come directly from a soul that has lost its way. "Hijo Perdido" can be you, me, or the sixteen year old girl down the street who just hung herself. There is nothing in my lyrics that offer a solution, but they can be a mirror to anyone who lets it. The front cover is a reference to all those that have fallen prey to the perversion that lies within the catholic church and the christian church in general. And in essence, even the priest is a Lost Son.
The metal scene is completely clogged with releases, many of which, frankly, are products designed around a table, bullshit for teenagers and mirrors for larks with pussy to the microphone. Do you think there was a moral "sellout" of metal mentality after the mid-nineties?
I couldn't agree more with your statement. The metal scene is completely clogged and flooded with utter crap. Unfortunately about 70% of bands that are on labels don't even deserve to be on one either. I think it had more to do with song writers getting stuck in certain ruts and not wanting to do anything creative or original because they were comfortable in the style they were playing in. There is a big lack of creativity and it's much easier to copy than it is to create. So I don't know if "selling out" has as much to do with that as there is being a complete lack of creativity.
"Some time ago" when we talking about melodic death (and not even added melodic) the names that jumped out immediately were At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity, In Flames, Eucharist, A Canorous Quintet, etc.. Now, in many cases, when I find in my hands a platter in this style and I have to write of it, it happens more often to have to do with metalcore riffs, pop choruses and I don't want to think of those who enter electronic at random. What is your thought on the scene today? After all your sound, although it is also grown in terms of production, is still tied to an orthodox form of the genre, even in this case is only a matter of money and an unfortunate generational development?
I don't really listen to much modern melodic death metal although I am always open to suggestions to check out various bands, I just think that the melodic death genre has become extremely overcrowded. There is a reason you have such classic melodic death albums such as Eucharist "Mirrorworlds", In Flames "Jester Race" and Amon Amarth "Once Sent From The Golden Hall", these guys weren't trying to copy anyone, they were just writing the best music that they could. I think as I get older my music is going to change and progress but I will never leave out the key elements that make Shaded Enmity what it is. We are an extreme band and I want to keep it that way. We are not about pop choruses and electronic beats, we are about aggression, anger, passion, and hate. Bands also seems to be more focused on image than the actual music these days.
As I said earlier you are also improved in the regard of production, you have always released good material, is not got no decent offer? There was not a label that he wanted to bet on you?
Not only have we not had a decent offer, we haven't even had one single offer from any label. I submitted our 2009 album "Like Prayers On Deaf Ears" to over fourty labels and didn't get one response. I have been submitting "Hijo Perdido" to several labels but I haven't heard anything back.
Selfproduction is one of the most used path and has always led in many cases quality results, while not supported by "important" budget and it guarantees freedom of expression. Seeing the situation in which sail few labels (Regain in crisis, an SPV that was about to fail) and the opportunity to use Internet as you want, it's still important to have one label behind?
The internet is a great tool for bands, especially unsigned bands. I don't ever think that this will replace the need for a record label. I do believe that in order to be successfull as a metal band, you need a good record label behind you. I believe that Shaded Enmity is slowly getting to the point to where we will have done just about everything we can do for ourselves that is within our knowledge and capacity as a band as well as financially. A lot of bands need the guidance of a label that contains experienced professionals in the music industry and can open doors for bands all over the world. The right label can also give great promotion to a band, get the band on national tours, and provide a recording budget.
Reviews, friends and fans who are following you for some time, how they are welcomed the album?
Just about everything I have heard from various fans reactions has been extremely positive. The new songs have been going over really well live. I get several emails a day from people that enjoy the album, and I am glad that the fans of ours who like "Like Prayers On Deaf Ears" album also enjoy "Hijo Perdido". We have also gotten great reviews from several webzines including Metal.de, Metalnews.de, and Muzik Portal.
If you have the opportunity to present "Hijo Perdido" in public, what are the pieces that you play and with what terms you describe it?
We actually have been performing tracks off the new album for a few recent shows that we have had. We have played every song from the new album in a live concert, and the ones we play the most are "One Way Out" which is about suicide, "Man At The Edge Of The World" which is about a lonely greedy man living at the edge of the world and his only friend is a bird he keeps in a cage that ends up flying away, and we play "A Crystal For Your Life" a lot as well which is a song about addiction to methamphetamine's. These are the terms I use to describe the songs when playing live.
What are your daily listeners in this period? There are discs where you can not detach yourself and that have marked you in particular way (metal and not)?
I have been listening a lot a band called Die Apokalyptischen Reiter. Their album "Licht" is really good. Also been listening to the new Rammstein, and a band called Fair To Midland who have an amazing album out called "Arrows And Anchors". Shining "The Eerie Cold" has also been in my cd player a lot. For the non metal stuff, I have been listening a lot to a reggae artist by the name of Alborosie. He has an album called "Escape From Babylon" which is very good. Also been listening to DMX "Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood" and Dr. Dre "The Chronic 2001". All these discs have been in constant rotation the past several months in my truck cd player.
Shaded Enmity have had or have a live dimension? There have been experiences that you like to tell?
Ever since the addition of Steven Cheng and Jesse Heidner to the band, we have been able to keep playing live shows. There was a short period of a few months where we were unable to do any shows because Rob and Zach had left the band but we fixed that after a while. We have actually have a couple crazy shows this year. A couple months ago we played a small bar in Seattle and there were fights breaking out during our entire set and beer was flying all over the place. We are also the only metal band in Seattle that does our own crowd control! During our song "Black Diamond" our drummer Simon stopped playing in the middle of a song to break up a fight that was about to get really bad in the crowd. We played a show last weekend and the mosh pit was very wild and i got hit several times in the mouth from my mic stand which kept getting knocked into my face. The stand also spent some of the show on the ground because some of the more drunk people would get knocked into the stage and lay on the stand. Definitely an interesting show.
Who is Joe Nurra and what he does once out of the band? Other passions?
I don't exactly know who I am myself, but I can give you my best idea. I work a lot with the "Medical Marijuana" community in Seattle and have done so for several years. Washington state is one of the few states in America that allows the medical use of marijuana and I qualify for medical marijuana so I am very passionate about the herb. Most of my time outside Shaded Enmity is dedicated to working inside the "Medical Marijuana" community in Seattle. I have a few close friends that I hang out with as well, as I believe good friendships are really important. I also like collecting 80's and 90's action and horror movies. Other than that, I am a pretty boring person.
Where and how we can buy "Hijo Perdido"? Let's take a couple of links and the opportunity to those who are outside of the States to be able to buying it.
Sure! Right now you can purchase "Hijo Perdido" and "Like Prayers On Deaf Ears" from www.cdbaby.com. You can also purchase them directly from us by emailing email@example.com and I will respond to you with purchasing info. You can also download digital copies from Itunes, Amazon, Emusic, and Cdbaby. You can also view all of our merchandise and cds under the photos section of our facebook at www.facebook.com/shadedenmity. We ship worldwide.
What's in the pipeline now? We're already back to work or...
Right now we are spending our time promoting the record and sending cds and promo packs out to various magazines/labels. The goal is to get signed to a record label and start touring, preferable over in Europe. Most of the cds I sell are to Europe and it seems that we have a larger fanbase than in the States. Our goal is to be playing over in Europe in 2012 so that is something we are looking forward to. Although I have written two or three new Shaded Enmity songs, we probably won't record for a while as we would like to take some time and promote the albums we have.
It's been a pleasure having you here with us, but we are coming to the end of our conversation, so I'll leave you one last time the word, you could close the interview with a greeting or a direct message to our readers.
Thank you once again for giving Shaded Enmity the time of day on your webzine. Without zines like yours and many others, we would not have the fans that we have today, and we would not be selling cds all over the world. I hope to see all our European fans very soon.
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