Hi, SHADES OF SORROW. Greetings from Sick and Destroy team. What are you up to these days?
Julien – We are currently working on a new album due out in August 2018.
Monise – We’re currently recording some new songs and booking some shows.
Pascal – we are currently recording the next album, we have drums and bass tracks done, and some guitars. we start practicing for about 4 shows that will start end of April an going into June. we are also planing the summer tour.
Would you please introduce your band to our readers who are not aware of your band and music?
Julien – We are a metal/hard rock band from New Brunswick Canada. We’ve been around for over 10 years and are ready to take it to the next level.
Monise – We’re a metal band from Moncton, New Brunswick, on the east coast of Canada. Our sound is a bit of a blend of old school and modern metal with a splash of European influence.
Pascal – I would say that the band is more heavy rock than metal, a lot of melodies, good riffs, the vocals are crystal clean, no screaming, but the guitar, drums and bass are sometime pretty heavy. so you got the best of both worlds.
Give us a little insight into the formation of the band. When and how did it happen?
Julien – The band formed in 2006 with guitarist Mike Taylor and drummer Pascal Deslongchamps. After many singer and bass player changes, the band was complete with Monise Ouellette on vocals and Julien LeBlanc on Bass.
Pascal – Pascal and Mike started the band in 2006, then a lot of people came and went, like it is the case with a lot of band. Julien did join in 2010, and it did solidify the band and then the missing link, Monise did join in the fall of 2015, and that is the way it is now, and hope it is gonna stay that way.
At what age did you guys start playing instruments? Since when are you into metal music?
Mike – I started learning guitar sometime in middle school I think. I was playing trumpet in the school band. I’ve been into metal music since I first heard it when I was 10.
Julien – I started listening to metal around the age of 14. Before that I was mostly into punk music. It wasn’t until bands like Pantera and White Zombie came along that I really got hooked. I started playing bass at 15 years old but I had already been playing guitar for years before that.
Monise – I took piano and guitar lessons for a few years at age 8 and 10 respectively, but I’ve been singing for most of my life. I sang in choirs as a child and started singing in bands and writing songs at age 13.
Pascal – pascal did start to play drums at age 14, but did play other instruments like guitar and recorder at school, he still own a guitar and a bass guitar, for personnel practice at home. it is hard for me to say when i got into metal, i have an older sister who was into Alice Cooper, led zeppelin, Judas priest and Aerosmith so when i was very young, i guess since i was 7 or 8 years old.
SHADES OF SORROW about to release “Ascension”. Tell us something about it. Walk us through all the tracks lyrics and meaning.
Julien – Ascension is an album that is worth listening from beginning to the end. It will transport you through different styles of heavy music. Each song has its own style and.
You will hear bits of traditional metal, grunge, thrash, nu metal, stoner metal and everything in between.
Monise – Most of the album was already written before I joined the band, but a few songs still needed lyrics. Part of my audition was actually writing lyrics and a melody for an instrumental track they sent me, which ended up being “Fall From Grace”. At the time, there was an election going on in our area and an issue of contention at the time was hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, and the song is basically about my thoughts on that situation.
I also wrote the lyrics for Ascension and Sleepless, Ascension being an observation on modern society, pretty straightforward, and Sleepless being about going through severe chronic insomnia and feeling like it was robbing me of my sanity. A nice happy song, haha!
How has been the response so far?
Julien – The album has been very well received. It has gotten us a few award nominations.
Monise – The response has been great! We actually originally released Ascension on our own label and it was nominated for an East Coast Music Award and a Music New Brunswick Award. Sliptrick Records is going to be releasing it worldwide, which is very exciting!
Pascal – the response for ascension has been great with the e.c.m.a. nomination and festival 506. the song for the next album are all written and we already recorded drums, bass and some guitar tracks.
When and where did you play your first gig? How was the experience of going live for the first time?
Mike – December 10 2008. It was the first real lineup of the band. We opened up for some local bands. I was nervous. It took a few songs to get comfortable. The crowd was small but it was well received.
Julien – My first gig with the band was the album release show for our first full length album “Dropping the Dead Weight”.
Monise – My first gig with Shades of Sorrow was in spring of 2015 at a bar in Amherst, Nova Scotia, about 45 minutes from our hometown. I was pretty nervous, naturally, and I had nothing to wear so i took an old t shirt, cut it up and wore a different coloured top underneath so you could see the colours through. It worked! We were pretty much the heaviest band there, which was fun, but many of the bar’s regulars were a little surprised when we started playing.
Pascal – December 10, 2008 is the first time that shades of sorrow played a gig, even if it was not the same line up, except for pascal and mike, the response was good and already the bases were there. of course when julien and monise join the band years later, the band became what it is now.
What, according to you, is the secret behind band’s success?
Mike – Our work ethic and determination to grow combined with some great songs.
Julien – I think the fact that everyone in the band gets to be creative with the songwriting makes for a unique style.
Monise – I think hard work, making music we love, having fun and being true to ourselves is what has kept us going.
Pascal – determination, hard work, and some kind of a democracy, so every body in the band feel that there input is taken in consideration. shades of sorrow has four band members, and each band member write music, and lyrics, even if some are more prolific than other, each member can bring there riffs or ideas, and it will be consider.
Ever had an epic fail moment during a gig?
Mike – We have never train wrecked to the point where the show had to stop. If someone has an issue everyone else keeps going and once the song is done if it has not been fixed by then we address it then. If someone gets lost we look at each other and find a spot where we can get it together.
Julien – Too many to count.
Monise – We’ve had pedals and instruments fail and broken strings, but we usually manage to keep going (having an extra guitar on hand comes in handy). We’ve also had a few “wardrobe malfunctions”, haha!
Pascal – would not say epic, but little things, like equipment mishaps, forget a riff or a little mistake, but nothing big. We take preparation very seriously.
If asked to differentiate SHADES OF SORROW from other bands in your country, how would you like to respond to it?
Mike – I think the biggest thing that makes us different is that no idea is off the table when it comes to songwriting. We do have a base in hard rock/metal but we take chances with different styles and we are able to incorporate those into our songs. We are more concerned with writing good songs than worrying what sub genre we fit in.
Julien – There are not a lot of metal bands in Canada that play metal music with a female singer that sings clean.
Monise – We’re a mixture of old and new metal, and we make it work.
Pascal – i don’t think we have that, so call, Canadian sound, a lot of people told us that we have more of a European sound, whatever that is, if it is good well great! there is not a lot of hard rock in Canada, there is a lot of metal, trash, speed, but not a lot of melodic metal or hard rock and that is the zone that we are in, so i guess that make us a bit different.
How compatible are band members with each other?
Mike – We get along great and the musical chemistry is amazing. When someone comes with a song or riff or even just an idea the rest of us can pick up on it and a song can be done for the most part very quickly.
Julien – We have great musical chemistry. You can really see that when we are writing music. It comes very easily an natural to us even if the music can sometimes be complex.
Monise – I think we’re very compatible with each other. Sometimes we may not agree with each other about everything, but we seem to work it out, as well as have a lot of laughs with each other along the way. The guys have become my dear friends. They’re like the brothers I never had.
Pascal – think we get along pretty good, when there is something wrong we just sit down and have a discussion about it. we are not 20 years old anymore, each of us has a life, a job and a family, some even have kids. so hang out every week-end together is not something that is possible, but when we get together to play music, we are totally on, and we hang out together when we are on the road.
Which bands/ artists do you draw your influences from? Which are your favorite local bands?
Mike – My biggest influences are Guns N Roses, Pantera, Incubus, and Sevendust.
There are so many local bands that have come and gone. Diablo Strange, The Cauldron Project (the song Move on the album is a collaboration with them), Zaum, The Motorleague, Hero’s Last Rite, Chaos Theory, and a whole bunch more. It definitely isn’t limited to just those.
Julien – Everyone in the band brings different influences from different eras of heavy music. Moncton New Brunswick has had a lot of great bands over the years. The Motorleague, Dischord, Hope, Diablo Strange, The Cauldron Project.
Monise – Personally, I’ve been influenced by artists/bands of many different styles of music. Vocally speaking, a few I can think of would be Amy Lee (Evanescence), Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden), Tori Amos, Tarja Turunen, Ann Wilson (Heart), Aretha Franklin, kind of a weird mix but I love doing different things. As for local bands, we have so many awesome bands and artists. A few of my favourites in Moncton are Diablo Strange, the Motorleague, DEF Picasso, Zaum.
Pascal – for me it is the Beatles, Yes, led zeppelin, Judas priest, frank Zappa, the list goes on and on. local it would be zaum and dischord.
How do you guys manage jobs and gigs? Also how often do you guys gathering altogether just to fun?
Mike – Getting together in recent years for fun has been challenging because of jobs and families but we do it whenever we can. Planning ahead of time and booking early makes it possible for time off from our jobs.
Julien – We make it work. We all hold the band to a pretty high priority in our lives.
Monise – It can be a challenge to find the time to practice and play shows while still working, but we seem to be able to make it work. As for getting together just for fun, we haven’t really been able to very much in recent times, between work and growing families, it can be difficult to find time where we can all get together.
Pascal – planing, we plan the gigs and make sure we have time off. Pascal and Julien are self employ, so that is easier for these two. hang out like i said previously, it is when we practice or we are on the road.
SHADES OF SORROW is very promising formation. Talking of your future, 2 years from now, where do you see yourself?
Mike – Write, record, tour, repeat. Haha. We want a tour of Europe as soon as we can get there. We would love to be playing with bigger touring bands by that point. Bigger shows and festivals would be great.
Julien – Our current goals are to release a new album and finally do a european tour next year.
Monise – Hopefully we can get to Europe and the United States to tour, as well as additional touring in Canada, and releasing more music.
Pascal – hopefully touring Europe and the U.S.A. if it is possible, it would be cool to make a living with our music too.
Well, that’s it. Thanks a lot for your time. Speak out to all your fans and supporters.
Mike – A huge thank you goes out to every fan and supporter. No matter if you have been a fan from the start or just discovered us we love you all. We hope to see you on the road.
Pascal – thank you very much for your support and be patient, the new album is coming soon.