Shadow Age Interview by Kris Hex
- Hi guys, for our readers out there, would you mind introducing yourselves?
I’m Aaron, I play guitar and sing. Evan plays the drums, Bruce plays the bass, and Davey plays synth.
- Ok, for those who may not know, the band shares members of Lost Tribe though their sound is markedly different with a very early 80’s darkwave bent instead of the bombastic eerie dark punk of the former; Aaron, I know you are fond of bands like Clan of Xymox and even the Cassandra Complex, how does the more dance oriented darkwave stylings fit in with the bands punk pedigree? I know so many who are distinctly anti-dance which shouldn’t matter but hey some people think if it’s got a beat then its abomination.
This is a great question. I’ve always considered darkwave as sort of a sub genre of punk. Both are very similar in terms of song sensibility and structure, and in terms of fashion I suppose as well. I mean, most of those early darkwave bands were made up of people actively involved with their respective punk scenes. Even some of that attitude is present in bands like the Cassandra Complex. I feel like they are definitely more similar than they are different.
- Did you guys just happen to meet at a show and decide that you’d like to form a band or was it the old story of that you heard there was someone who might dig a goth-y side project and just reached each other through the grapevine?
I guess its probably a bit more of the second one. A little over a year ago I started seriously fleshing out songs that I had written for this band with Bruce, who I met through a mutual friend. A friend of a friend said that he was interested in playing drums for a post-punk / darkwave sorta of band so I got in touch and it was just the three of us kind of getting a bearing on the songs and playing with one another. But we were still missing the synth. This band needed to have a live synth player. Around this time I was working on what would become Nocere with Davey. I had met Davey years ago. We had been talking about doing a darker synth driven project since before Lost Tribe but we were both so busy we never really were able to meet up regularly enough to make the project stick. It took maybe two years of off and on sessions to get anywhere with our synth project, but once we got into a good groove he was doing an excellent job constructing things on synth. Since he was doing such a phenomenal job riffing on the synth I thought it would be a good idea to ask him to join up with us. Things were going well but after a few months it was evident that Matt wasn’t going to work on drums so we asked around and found nothing. One day I hit up Craigslist and found Evan who was looking to play drums for a band. In our emails he talked about his love for the early Cure stuff and how one of his favorite bands was the Cocteau Twins and I was like “Yes! This could be perfect!”. He ended up being exactly what we needed. I can’t imagine playing in this band without him.
- I know Davey is probably busy due to Lost Tribe’s increase in popularity and other commitments plus everyone has their own responsibilities to attend to so how does everyone manage to make time for practice and who handles songwriting duties? The lyrics are typically melancholy (in a good way) and thoughtful from what I’ve gathered from listening to the demos.
I’m always writing. At times I can get a bit compulsive about it. I usually have basic ideas as to how the bass and drums should work. Sometimes the synth too. I’ll typically program a beat and record a demo of it by myself and present it to the band and see if its something everyone wants to try to work out. Once everyone settles into what they want to do with the song I’ll go ahead and figure out the words and vocal patterns. We are slowly moving away from that. We’ve recently written our first song from nothing premeditated which was pretty cool. I’d like to see us do more of that in the future. In terms of practicing we just try to have set days during the week that don’t interfere with Lost Tribe or Nocere. To be honest scheduling out practices isn’t nearly as difficult as trying to schedule a tour because there are two whole other active bands to consider. There have been times when we and Lost Tribe have kind of had to move things around in order for us to do our respective things. Recently, while Lost Tribe was on tour with Solace the three of us were writing while Davey was gone and I was sending him recordings and was like “Do you like this?”. We essentially wrote three songs and then had to kinda rework them a bit for the synth a month later. So yeah, it can be pretty tough sometimes, but for the most part it just takes a lot of communication. We are all always talking with one another.
- The band had changed their name from Colony to Shadow Age, was their another band in your neck of the woods that prompted that or was it just done on a whim?
There actually was another Colony from our area, but it seemed like a guy’s solo project, it wasn’t an active live band or anything. Once we became active he took down all of his stuff. What it really boiled down to was that there were a million other bands called Colony. We could have easily found ourselves in a position where one of them had legal rights to the name and demanded us to change ours. It just seemed like something that we should do on our own terms and before we released anything official.
- I talk to a lot of bands about this issue because it’s topical but given that there is no true goth scene in the U.S. anymore, how do you handle show bills? Do you just play with punk bands because it’s closer to the roots musically or do you just play with whomever you find interesting?
A bit of both. We try to play shows that we would go see even if we had nothing to with any of the bands. So far I’d say that about 80% of our shows thus far have been like that. So, I guess to be more direct, we typically try to play with darker punk bands or straight up synth driven bands.
- Ok, for a more unusual question and this is because you guys are close enough to the South (for all intents and purposes , you are in the south haha), how is being a band of your ilk and being in a region of the U.S. more known for southern rock, bible belt mentality and bad country? I’m from Louisiana so I know how it goes to be the only guy in the room who actually knows a certain band when everyone else is listening to pop country or gospel.
I think that we are so out of touch and disinterested with that stuff that it never really pops up, and I feel that people who like what we do kinda have similar feelings. Richmond has such a diverse and solid music scene here that the fact that we are from Richmond and so many great bands come from here it specifically overshadows the fact that we are from the South. If that makes any sense at all.
- I understand you guys were supposed to play down in Texas but had issues with support so you had to back out, are you doing any shows in the mean time to make up for that? I know stuff happens but that’s when you have to hit the ground running.
Yeah, we are still bummed about Texas. We are doing a short run up North. We are playing with Population in Chicago which we are beyond excited about. We are also hitting Detroit, Cincinatti, and Pittsburgh which is cool because we haven’t really spent too much time playing in that area. Aside for this short run we are kind of holding off on booking anything too long because we are waiting for our records. Once we have them we will be everywhere all of the time.
- To wrap things up, what material do you have available as a band right now for people to listen to? You’re still fairly young and I’d love to see people noticing that there is more dark punk influenced music out there and finally end this whole “oh that was an 80’s thing” nonsense once and for all!
The current demo that we have on our bandcamp is just me with a drum machine with Davey’s synth dubbed over top of it. We are in the middle of recording a new tape to help hold us over until the records are in. Once its recorded you’ll be able to find it online.
- Any parting words to the readers?
Be on the lookout for our 7 inch ‘Silaluk’ on May 19th. Check out for our tape ‘Reign’ on our bandcamp on Feb 14th. Listen to Nocere. Listen to Asylum. And if you have been doing yourself the disservice of not checking out Lost Tribe’s ‘Solace’ go ahead and take care of that.
We can be found at these places on these dates:
February 18 – Cincinatti @ Cide Central
February 19 – Chicago @ The Burlington
February 20 – Detroit @ The Wrecktory
February 21 – Pittsburgh @ The Rock Room