sábado, 6 de setembro de 2014

Snowy Shaw: The Shaw Must Go On!

Snowy Shaw is undoubtedly one of the most charismatic, talented and interesting characters in the history of Metal, having a fantastic curriculum and history, a career, like everyone else, with ups and downs, but always without fear of daring and looking forward . (Para acessar a versão e português clique aqui)

Completing more than 25 year career, Snowy has just released a package with a live DVD/CD, entitled "Snowy Shaw: The Live Show, 25 years of Madness in the Name of Metal", bringing an overview of this history, who was part and collaborated with several bands, like King Diamond and Mercyful Fate, Dream Evil, Memento Mori, XXX, Notre Dame, Therion, Dimmu Borgir, Sabaton and many others. 

In addition to this release, which marks not only a celebration of his history, but also the beginning of a new phase, we talked with this true superhero of Metal to talk more about this release, a little of history, plans and much more in a very cool interview with many curiosities and very humorous, another mark of the always friendly and charismatic Snowy! Check out, "The SHAW must go on!

DVD Front cover
Road to Metal: Well, you will release your live DVD/CD in September. Tell us a little more about that, like how was the choice of the set list? After all, are so many albums and bands that you have worked! Must have been very hard!
Snowy Shaw: You’re right that there’s a bottomless treasure coffin of songs to choose from, but that was hardly the tough part. As the slogan on the posters said ”Snowy Shaw plays all his favorite song by all his former bands” I basically just selected the songs I like the most and that I thought would make a great mix for the live shows also depending on what guest stars were featured for the occasion.
That the bulk of the songs was songs I’ve written myself is just a mere coincidence... Naw, naturally one tend to like the songs you’ve created yourself, otherwise you’re definitely doing something wrong.

The biggest problem picking the songs was actually all the great ones I had to exclude because you simply can’t play a 5 hour show. Nothing stops me from including them in future shows though.

RtM: And the really hard part?
Snowy Shaw: The hard part, and then we’re talking the kind that would kill off most people, had very little to do with the music itself but by organizing and co-ordinating the event with everything from the filming, recordings, gathering the right crew, flying in guest stars, stage production and props, designing and building, merchandize, promotion and the list goes on and on, and since I’m basically doing it all myself it’s an almost inhumane workload. By the time of the actual show I’m a worn out zombie, but that most people don’t realize of course. Put on a big smile and just go for it, The Shaw must go on.

RtM: And are so many different bands, this DVD will also show all your versatility, you have worked with bands like King Diamond and Merciful Fate, Dream Evil, Therion, Notre Dame, among others! I believe you also had to think well about the musicians who would accompany you in this live show.
Snowy Shaw: Absolutely, this sure is no easy task, and far from all musicians are that broad, versatile and capable as to pull off every style of playing convincingly.
Undoubtedly my band features some of the best musicians in the world, second to none. For these two shows that I’ve recorded and filmed for the DVD/CD package it’s a complete different line up from the first to the second.

Not so much by choice as by pure coincidence and in the future it might be a mix of both depending on the circumstances and who’s available when it comes to touring and playing shows.
I can be seen as quite a demanding leader but in truth, I’m about ten times more demanding on myself.          
                                             (Watch a DVD trailer below)

RtM: How about choosing the right place to recording this CD/DVD? In addition, of course, the production stage and everywhere image and sound, are many details that involve recording a show, also tell us a little more about the production!
Snowy Shaw: Unfortunately Madison Square Garden in New York City was already booked on the dates I had in mind... No! just kiddin‘ obviously (He he he). I picked for the first show my hometown Gothenburg, a.k.a Metal Town. Not only out of convenience and logistical reasons, but because, believe it or not I rarely play in my hometown or in Sweden at all.

I did however change venue a few times based on the increase of ticket presale but also because one venue would better suit the kind of stage production I intended to build and also for the purpose that it’d be better from a filming point of view.

                                            (Watch another DVD trailer below)

RtM: And maybe will we find some surprises and some special extra content on DVD?
Snowy Shaw: Yeah, apart from the actual stage shows there are some bonus stuff like behind the scenes, interviews and stuff.

RtM: On 22 July you released the single "Dusk". Would you also talk a bit about this single? 
As for the single Dusk, I was very pleased to see it went straight to number one on iTunes rock charts. I’ve never paid any attention to that kind of stuff in the past, but I thought this song deserved a second chance as it had real good potential, and as it turns out I was right. It’s taken from the upcoming live DVD/CD and what not everybody knows is that it’s a Notre Dame song that was originally released on an album I released in ´99.

Single "Dusk": Get Number One on Itunes!!
RtM: And maybe it's coming around a solo album?
Snowy Shaw: Of course, but not just one. This DVD/CD package suitably titled The Liveshow: 25 years of madness in the name of metal could be viewed as a summation of my past but also function as the kick off for the next 25 as a solo artist.

RtM: A lot of work with the DVD, and many more to come!
Snowy Shaw: The whole process of making and finalizing this DVD/CD package have been such a drawn out process, not to say hellride but I wanted it to be as good as it could possibly be so I’ve spent countless hours working on it, editing the film files, mixing the music etc. And then forming my own record and production company wasn’t anything I had calculated with, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

This however meant that that my original plan of recording my new music had to be put on the back burner in the meantime. I can’t wait to get it going.

Yeah, I almost forgot to mention, a little something came up in between like a full year of touring the world with Sabaton, which was a far too good opportunity to turn down and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

RtM: Talking about Sabaton, how was the work with the band?
Snowy Shaw: I can honestly say that I’ve never worked with a more well organized and nice bunch of people than with the guys in Sabaton and crew. Not saying all the other band weren’t great too, but with Sabaton I actually cursed myself for having so much ambition that I need to do my own thing. Otherwise I could just tag along and have the best job in the world with the nicest people ever. 
But, once again, you know what they say, A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do....

RtM: And about the invitation to record the vocals on the album by the band Mad Architect?
Snowy Shaw: Glad to hear you like the Mad Architect stuff. I gotta say that it turned much better than I first expected. The bulk of the material I recorded while on tour with Sabaton, whenever I found a little gap in time to do some vocals in our very hectic schedule. 

The leader Magnus Daun is a really nice guy and it was very easy to work with him. They’re based in my hometown Gothenburg but I actually didn’t meet the guy until last month for the first time. We’re planning on doing a new album later this year whenever time allows and I find the time. Looking forward to that.

RtM: Certainly a great moment of you career was the entry in the King Diamond band, and then also in Mercyful Fate. How did it feel to be part of this true legend, and how was working beside King Diamond?
Snowy Shaw: I’m eternally grateful for the opportunity I had to join King Diamond right at the height of his career in 1989. It was great working with King & Co, but in the fall of 1994 I decided to leave and focus all my energy on my band illwill that I had huge expectations for.

RtM: About Mercyful, tell us a little about your participation in the albums "in the shadows" and "Time". Did you participated in the songwriting?
Snowy Shaw: Apart from coming up with the drum arrangements and collaborating with King to meet his wishes, I wasn’t involved in any of the compositions with Mercyful Fate. And that’s part of the reason I left since I wasn’t allowed to contribute creatively in any way. I certainly have no problem understanding their viewpoint on the matter since I’m pretty much the same myself. For most musicians/instrumentalists this works perfectly fine, but in the long run for me, it doesn’t.

RtM: And your autobiography? And I read somewhere that you would be writing, and intended to release it in the near future. How is the progress of this project? You certainly have a lot to tell with all these years of career, and having worked with so many people and bands.
Snowy Shaw: Yeah, I guess that info leaked out somehow. yeah, my life’s been one helluva journey of constant ups and downs and I surely got a lot of stories to tell.
Truth is I’ve been so extremely busy with other stuff that I haven’t had any time to write much at all this year. But I’m in no hurry, as so many exciting things happen all the time.

RtM: I believe that Notre Dame is the band that you have a special affection and dedication, and see it as a job that says a lot about your musical direction. I am sure? 
Snowy Shaw: Notre Dame was very much an extension of my vivid imagination, and you could say that I stir down all sorts of things that has always fascinated and inspired me into this witches cauldron and it made for quite a tasty bitches brew.

RtM: A curiosity I have is about what I read once, that one of the members of Notre Dame was a fictional character, is it true?
Snowy Shaw: They were all fictious characters and I’m a superhero... if I may phrase it a little vague and cryptic. More on that in my book later on...

RtM: Speaking of "characters", reminded his countrymen of the Ghost, which is something that your creative mind conceive, even until there were comments that you could join the group, and you played with it in some interviews. But...who knows..heheeh. 
Snowy Shaw: Hehehe, thanx you! Been some rumours circulating that I was the drummer... 

RtM:You also intends to release other albums with Notre Dame?
Snowy Shaw: I won’t make anymore Notre Dame albums as I will now focus on my solo thingy. It has many of the elements same as Notre Dame although with a little different direction. It also has the same line up as Notre Dame.... go figure! hehehe

RtM: And about which themes do you like to write, what inspires you? I think you quite like the Fiction and horror movies, and comic books as well, because the aesthetics of some covers, t-shirts and other stuffs of your work.
Snowy Shaw: Well, that’s a good assumption, although it’s quite hard to miss my penchant for classic horror aesthetics and stuff. I don’t know what inspires me, creativity is my true passion and it’s a self serving thing I guess. My biggest passion in life is to write songs, to be creative and come up with concepts and all sorts of stuff visually and musically and beyond. Unfortunately I have so much other shit to take care of running the business and all the administration and organization that I consider it a true blessing whenever I find a little time to actually put off time to actually play or work on the music.

XXX band promo. Amazing Hard/Glam.
And having worked with so many people, you would choose which bands or people you feel most comfortable working, and if you could cite a moment you considers one of the most important of your career, and which would also have been your biggest disappointment?
With the exception of Sabaton perhaps, I’ve never had so much fun working with another band like with Dream Evil.

It’s no big secret that things turned very ugly, very quickly with Dimmu Borgir, sadly. Usually when my expectations are set too high I end up the most disappointed, as was the case with Dimmu, Illwill, XXX and few others.

RtM: I also remembered the "Dimmu Borgir" episode, and the news that you have been officially announced as a band member in a day,  but left the band the next day, returning to Therion.
Snowy Shaw: Well, there’s obviously a lot more to it than that. You don’t seriously think I could have managed to record both bass and vocals, shoot two videos, photo shoots and rehearsals and that in 5-6 different cities/countries all in one day?

It was closer to 7 months I think, but without going into details all I can say at this point is that there was a lot of turmoil and shit going on with their manager, so in the end I got so fed up with the whole thing that I quit and went back to my family in Therion.

RtM: I believe that working with Therion and Christofer Johnsson, is also something that satisfies you much, and fans are also sure it's a great fusion. Would you comment a little bit about your relationship with Therion, how the invitation to join the line-up emerged, and what points attracted more you to work with the band?
Snowy Shaw: I really enjoyed working with Therion. For the first few years it was flat out fantastic and I loved it, especially the Gothic Kabbalah world tour of 2007. I have great respect for Christofer as a band leader and businessman and for what he has accomplished with his band for close to 30 years now. Very impressive. We’re still very good friends, Therion is like a family.

Rtm: I was watching the recent Therion DVD, "Adulruna Rediviva".
Snowy Shaw: Great! I cannot watch yet! (he he he)

RtM: And will you be involved in the next Therion album and upcoming tour?
Snowy Shaw: I don’t think so, from now on I will focus 200% on my own stuff, and that’s why I’ve quit all other bands, although I may do the occasional studio project thing like Opera Diabolicus and Mad Architect.

RtM: You sing, plays several instruments, compose, and even transits between many styles! Tell us a little more of this versatility. Tell us a little when you started your career as a musician, who influenced you in the beginning?
Snowy Shaw: Hmm, long story but let me see. I first got into KISS when I discovered the album Destroyer at the age of 7 and it was one of those Wow experiences and before/after moments as it changed my life forever. I casually listened to Purple, Sweet and Nazareth before that but with KISS was something completely different altogether. The music itself was just a part of a much bigger picture although on this particular album the phenomenal production by super genius Bob Ezrin was nothing short of a true masterpiece, it was the whole larger the life image that really applied to a kid who was crazy about horror and superhero comics. 

I didn’t start playing myself until about 5 years later when I more or less forced some class mates to form a rock band and none of us could play or had barely even seen an electric guitar other than inpictures at that point. For some reason I chose drums, probably because of Peter Criss of KISS although at that point in 1980-81 I had since long given up on KISS and was more into AC/DC and the new wave of swedish rock bands who sang in our native tongue. Which also offered a template where I could write song lyrics, as I couldn’t speak english.

RtM: In the beginning have you ever thought about learning and playing various instruments?
Snowy Shaw: I soon realized that drums wasn’t the ideal choice of instrument when it came to writing songs, and since I always had more ideas than the people I played with I had to learn a little on guitar or bass just in order to present my song ideas to the other guys and I guess gradually I got a little better at it.

RtM: And when you started to sing?
Snowy Shaw: The singing didn’t occur to me until much much later, but pretty much for the same reason, out of necessity. All of the bands I formed with great ideas and concepts in mind would all soon start deteriorate because it seemed totally impossible to find a good singer and therefore we couldn’t move on to the next step and play shows or record anything, which was extremely frustrating for me. From various aspects it’s just not the most logical combination with a singer/drummer so it never even crossed my mind until I was in my mid 20s or so that I could give it a try.

Family! The Oddballs United
RtM: Thanks a lot Snowy, thanks for all you music, you make my days be better!! I let the final space for you to send a message to Brazilian fans, and sure, the fans around the world!
Snowy Shaw: Thanks for having me, it was a pleasure. I’m currently working on deals with Brazilian labels so that I can release my music there, and I really can’t wait to bring my own show to your beautiful country. The sooner the better! Thanks for your support, it means the world to me. See ya on tour, 2015 ?

RtM: For Sure!!!! The SHAW Must Go On!

Interview by: Carlos Garcia

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