Interview: Awaken The Shadow

Awaken The Shadow is a hard rock/metal band from New York, NY. The four-piece released their debut full-length album Life Beyond The Curse on March 11 and their first single “The Hunter” has been quickly gaining momentum.

Life Beyond The Curse was produced/mixed by bass player Ali Hassan with the help from the rest of the band  and mastered by UE Nastasi (New Years Day, Lamb of God, Panic! At The Disco) at Sterling Sound.

Awaken The Shadow is:

Taylor Paul – Vocals
Aaron Joos – Guitar, Vocals
Sean Salant – Lead Guitar
Ali Hassan – Bass, Vocals

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Aaron Joos about their new album, including writing, lyrical content, and recording:

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How would you describe Awaken the Shadow’s sound?

Modern rock with melodic metal undertones.

How long has Awaken the Shadow been playing together?

The core lineup has been together for a little over a year.

What’s the reception been like for this debut full-length album?

For a completely independant new band it’s been really good.  We’ve gotten great coverage on the relevant rock/metal blogs as well as a lot of positive attention from new fans.  We’re even getting some regional radio play with the 1st single “The Hunter”.

Awaken the Shadow crowdfunded an EP a couple years ago. How did that build momentum for this release?

It was actually the beginning of 2015 that we successfully completed a Kickstarter campaign.  We went through some early on lineup changes which lead to delays…  So we decided to do a full length record to make up for it!

And how has the band changed in that time period?

We’ve learned much more about each other as musicians.  At first all the focus was on making a record.  When the record was finished it was about becoming and incredible live band.
How long did you spend writing Life Beyond the Curse?

The better part of 2 years.  There was a large length of time that Ali and I were the only members….in a lengthy search for Taylor and Sean.  Hah!

What does that process look like for you guys?

It’s really an open door policy, if you will.  Bring something to the table, we’ll all work on it, and add individual “spice” along the way.

And how did the recording go when you hit the studio?

With Ali at the helm it was always a smooth, positive experience.  Taylor, Ali, and I had a really good working vibe when it came to collectively producing much of the material.  It really came down to mutual trust in our instincts.  We’re all very proud of what we’ve accomplished.

There’s such a diversity in the hard-rock to metal styles incorporated throughout Life Beyond the Curse. Where do you draw your influence from?

You’ve already stated the key word.  Diversity!  We’ve been influenced by bands like Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for my Valentine, and A Day to Remember, to others like Bring Me the Horizon, The Used, and Falling in Reverse.  There’s 80’s metal influence, punk, pop punk, and modern rock influence.  It really encompasses everything we are as listeners, collectively.

Tell us one thing about the band that makes Awaken the Shadow stand out the in the hard rock/metal world?

That we don’t associate with a specific sub-genre.  We write what we write and although some of the songs are quite different, you can still hear “our” sound.

What’s it like to see “The Hunter” on radio charts alongside A Day to Remember and Asking Alexandria?

Definitely humbling.  These are bands that we look up to.

Why did you choose this as the first single released?

We felt that it best represented the overall sound of the band, so we chose it as the first single for people to hear what we’re all about.

Taylor has explained that “The Hunter” is about someone who is in an abusive relationship, whether they realize it or not. Can you tell us a little bit more about that song, or where this theme came from?

As much as we’re very positive people (the band), there is a dark side of humanity that we simply won’t ignore.  We will have songs that inspire, ignite, and uplift people.  We will also have songs that speak of dark truths, and human faults.  Even though a negative story is being told, it’s possible to open someones eyes and perhaps lead to positive change.

What other topics do you hit on lyrically in this album?

Themes include everything from dark stories, to personal tragedy, to love and triumph.  We like to leave some lyrical concepts open to personal interpretation, but most of the themes are quite apparent.

ATS - LifeBeyondTheCurse - ALBUM ART

Any touring or music video plans in the future?

Yes!  Please check out our social media pages for updates and information!

Anything else you’d like us to know about Awaken the Shadow?

Make sure to add us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and check out our debut album Life Beyond the Curse out now!

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