People who say there is no new music are most likely the ones who would rather drink in the pub than check out the support bands at a show. The UK underground is bursting with talent. One of the bands who are proof of this are Britain’s Shrines who contain members of fellow underground starlets Voices and Obscene Entity. Reminiscent of a black metal Gojira, Shrines are a wonderful band who have a great future ahead of them. Choosing to answer as a band for the majority of the question, we touched on such subjects as their origins, music, the legacy of Motörhead and future plans.
Jack: Good evening, how are you doing?
Shrines: Very well, thanks. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.
Jack: No problem. So, how did Shrines form as a band?
Shrines: We’ve all been working together on various projects over the last few years. Shrines arose from a joint vision to do things a bit differently. We are only now finding the core, the sound, the band.
Jack: Your sound encompasses black and death metal among other influences, did you plan to create a fusion of these two sounds or did it just occur in the writing process?
Shrines: We never set out to create a specific sound or style but we embrace our influences which, as a collective, are wide and varied. The music flows like a stream. Its tributaries are usually unspecified, even by us. Sometimes they border into familiar territories and sometimes not.
Jack: Sam is in Voices and Matt is in Obscene Entity. Is it hard fitting the band around these other two active bands and day jobs?
Shrines: Yes, it’s a hurdle, especially for Sam and Matt, but we all share a passion for this project and the creativity is not affected when we hit schedule clashes.
Jack: You released your debut album last year to critical acclaim? Are you happy with the response?
Shrines: For us, our first album was a spring-board to get the project going and our presence known. It’s mostly a foundation of older and often experimental material that we each wanted to bring alive. We are hugely proud of it as a standalone work but our next chapter will define us.
Jack: What was the recording process like?
Shrines: It was a challenge as we produced it internally, working with our friends Alex Bailey (Sylosis), Dan Abela (Voices) and Joseph Smyth to shape a sound that delivered our ethos within the restrains of our budget and schedule. We have since begun developing some key parts of our next record which is going to be a pretty significant evolution of sound, both technically and artistically. Watch this space.
Jack: On your Facebook it says your debut contains songs that capture a wide array of narrative and emotion, from love and violence, to David Lynch’s exploration of evil in Twin Peaks. Do you set out to write on these themes or were you inspired by them?
Shrines: Film, books and characters are a constant inspiration for us. We write visually, it’s spawned from all of us being film fanatics and wanting to create a visual response from the listener.
Jack: You use samples in your songs such as ‘Multitude of Sin’ and ‘In The Manor.’ What do samples add to the music?
Shrines: We’ve always loved samples in music. If used sparingly they can deliver a voice, an image or a message in a thoughtful, atmospheric way. They can make a song almost cinematic in its feeling, which ties in perfectly with our vision for our music.
Jack: My favourite track is ‘Broken Man,’ what is this song about?
Shrines: For us, the listener’s subjectivity is the key to their own musical journey and their personal connections with the music. So rather than outlining the meaning behind the song from our individual perspectives, it’s worth sitting with it and thinking about what it means to you the listener. Our interpretation would render the song, and its desired effect, meaningless. This sums up one of our core visions for Shrines. Each song is a dedication to something profound, a message waiting to discovered, a moment with something to say, an act worth remembering but most importantly, a subjective journey with personal meaning for you, the listener.
Jack:There is a clear Gojira influence in your music and to me you sound like a black metal Gojira. How important are Gojira as a band to you?
Shrines: They are certainly a strong influence on us and their legacy as a band has, in some way, paved the way for what we are trying to do. We’ve been lucky enough to have spent some time with the band at various shows in the UK and not only from a musical perspective but as a band and a group of creative people, Gojira are exactly the sort of musicians we can only hope to be; focused, prolific and highly grounded artists.
Jack: You recently played a show with The King Is Blind and Obscene Entity at The Black Heart, how did you find the show?
Shrines: It was epic.
Jack: At the show Sam spoke about his time as a Motörhead roadie and how much Lemmy meant to him. What did Motörhead mean to you?
Sam: To be clear I was never a Motörhead roadie, I was a little young for that! But I did have the good fortune to spend some time with the band and Lemmy at countless shows around the world. We’ve all heard the stories of the kind of man Lemmy was. In my experience it’s all true. All of it. And Lemmy will always serve as a positive influence on us and our work.
Jack: Why do you think Motörhead’s legacy will last?
Sam: The impact of Motörhead is as defining to heavy music as Mozart is to classical music, or Elvis is to rock and roll. Seismic in its influence, not only within the sound, but within the culture and the lifestyle of generations.
Jack: What’s your favourite Motörhead album?
Jack: What are your plans for the rest of the year? When can we see some new releases or show announces from Shrines?
Shrines: We’ve got some exciting announcements coming soon, including a UK tour in May and June. Check our Facebook profile for the incoming updates. This is just the beginning.
Jack: I’ve noticed on your Facebook you’ve said to follow Ariadne’s Thread. What is Ariadne’s Thread and why should we follow it?
Shrines: Good question. ‘Ariadne’s Thread’ is the opening track to our first album. We’ve given you the thread with the reference to Ariadne. We suggest you follow it and keep your journey in mind while listening to the rest of the album.
Jack: Your song ‘The Drowned and The Saved’ appeared on a free Metal Hammer CD recently. I’ve read online some people say these CDs aren’t relevant anymore because of the internet, how important do you think they are?
Shrines: Any form of exposure is of benefit. It’s a pleasure to be represented by Metal Hammer and we still all enjoy listening to compilation CDs when we pickup a mag. Perhaps it’s relevant; perhaps it’s not but physical media still seems to be going strong as a collector’s format so we are happy that we can cater for all.
Jack: Finally, I interviewed a band called Rad Pitt and they had a song about Twin Peaks called ‘Cooper’s Damn Fine Coffee.’ Why do you think Twin Peaks has struck such a chord with fans of alternative music?
Shrines: We don’t know them but we’ll check them out! Twin Peaks can only speak for itself. Watch the first series and you’ll know why.