Latest release: Digital Ritual (Eclipse)Website: www.asparadisefalls.com/
Brisbane five piece As Paradise Falls have finally released the album they went to Thailand to record over two years ago. During the stint in the studio, guitarist Glen Barrie passed away, sending the band into a tailspin. Soon after, at a benefit for their friend’s parents, they were spotted by fellow Brisbane mob A Breach of Silence who put a good word in for them with their US label Eclipse. Heartened, As Paradise Falls regrouped in the wake of tragedy and completed Digital Ritual, leaving in all of Barrie’s guitar parts, making the album both a monument and a tribute to their fallen comrade. In preparation for a tour to support the album, we spoke to guitarist Danny Kenneally.
It must have been an incredible journey for you to make this record.
Yes it was. It was pretty unexpected, put it that way!
There’s so many other things you could say have delayed your album, you really don’t need a terrible tragedy like that. But you never gave it up.
No, no, no. We couldn’t! At first it’s weird and you don’t think you want to do it, but then you get together and realise that it’s something that you have to do.
The album seems to have been getting some mixed reviews. To me it sounded like you had a technical djent thing going on with some nu-metal aspects, some Deftones influences. It seems to have drawn some strange reactions so far.
You’re definitely right with the mixed reviews. We’ve read a few and we thought that people didn’t get it or they didn’t like what we were doing, which we totally get because during the writing of the music we tried to get every genre that we liked and make them work together and get a flow. If some people say they don’t like it, well, that’s fair. That’s an opinion. Maybe they need to give it time, I don’t know but the majority of people [who’ve heard it] seem to really enjoy it and the ideas that are coming across.
Music isn’t a competition but when there are so many bands around that sound more or less the same, it seems to me to be important to try and stand out in some way.
It’s very good to try to not categorise yourself, but also to categorise yourself. And as you said, to try and stand out from all the other bands. You’ve got Spotify now and you can find any band you want on the planet in an instant. You need to be that band that people want to find.
So what were some of the influences that you were attempting to bring into your music?
There’s plenty in there. We had influences for each song, and for album as a whole. I really like the evolution the Bring Me the Horizon did, where they went from being ridiculously heavy on their earlier albums, and now somehow they’re a stadium band. It’s really crazy. And then you have bands like Twelve Foot Ninja, who really mess around in that really fucked-up genre but they make it work amazingly, and then there’s the regular metal bands like Meshuggah, who are a big influence, and Trivium was an influence on me. For Shane, for vocals, Alice in Chains was a big influence… Whitechapel. All of them, it depends on what we were going for in each song.
What were you going through when you were making this album? Was it painful, was it sad?
When we went to the studio with Glen and everyone, we had a month in the studio and we only managed to get through three weeks. We had one week left before everything happened. We were actually tracking a song at the time, and it might be a little unusual for metal bands because you usually do all the drums, bass, guitar, vocals, etc., but we did drums, bass, guitar, vocals, mix, master for one song, then go on to the next one. It was a really cool and quick process. So we got through a lot of our songs and got down to the final stage of listening to it every few days, as we finished [a track]. So it was really good to know that Glen had heard what we had been doing and what we were up to. But to get back to answering your question, I know there was one song for me, ‘Reborn’, that I didn’t listen to for however long. I don’t remember how long I wouldn’t listen to it. I would just skip it or not listen to it. It was a little touchy feely for me. I don’t know about the other guys, but I couldn’t listen to it. Mainly because it was Glen who came up with the idea of the clean intro, and he was a guy who was full Meshuggah, full Fear Factory, so for him to come up with something clean was a big thing for him and he was super stoked about it.
That’s perhaps one of the stand-out tracks on the album. He would have been very proud of that.
When you’re skipping through the album, it’s all pretty intense and then ‘Reborn’ sort of slows it all down and catches your attention, so I think that’s why we put it in the middle of the album.
It’s only a fairly short album too. Some albums seem to drag on forever, even some of the good ones, so it can often be better to do a shorter record.
Oh I agree that’s literally what I was thinking when we were writing. Normally you think of a benchmark of where to finish, but if it goes over it doesn’t matter if it sounds good. But a lot of my favourite songs are very short and sweet, and they sort of get in, get the job done and then leave. And then you hit repeat, and hit repeat, and hit repeat because you can’t get enough of them.
What is the next step for As Paradise Falls?
The next step is to tour the shit out of it! We’ve already started writing, in the time we’ve gone [since the recording]. We have a shitload of new material to work with so it’s ready when we come back. We’ve never had a chance to do a full tour, so now we want to lay it down and see how far we get.