Wednesday, January 31, 2018

interview: Sonic Prophecy

The American traditional heavy metal band Sonic Prophecy (from Salt Lake City, Utah) has a new album in 2018 called Savage Gods. The album is new, it was released in January, but the band itself has been making music for a decade, actually. This publication took this opportunity to find out more about the band and the new album. Shane, the band’s singer, answered the questions.
Hello, Sonic Prophecy. How are things for Sonic Prophecy in the state of Utah, United States? How is Salt Lake City for metal bands and for your band?
Shane: First off, thank you for having us be a part of the Metal Bulletin! Things are going very well for us here in Utah and we seem to be slowly gaining traction with the underground metal scene here in the U.S. We just keep putting out music and working to get our name out there, hoping to build our base.
Shane: Salt Lake City actually has a very deep and active heavy metal scene. It is mostly extreme bands, but it is getting more diverse every year! There is quite a bit of talent here along the Wasatch front! As for Sonic Prophecy, life is good and we are all excited for the release of our new album, Savage Gods, which was released worldwide on Rockshots Records January 19th! It’s always a kick to get the music out to the heavy metal community after toiling away on it for months and months!
Sonic Prophecy has been active for ten years?! Congratulations! I see on Metal Archives that you have a cool discography. How many members do you have from ten years ago? Ten years is definitely hard to do, especially playing a genre of music that gives you no money.
Shane: Thank you for the kind words! We have been at it for a decade now and no doubt about it, it is a labor of love! Like you said, we definitely are not in it for the money! We are fairly proud of all three of our albums and our EP. It’s interesting to look back at each record and remember the recording sessions and that particular moment in time. I was listening to A Divine Act of War the other day, prepping for the live shows coming up, and it really hit me how much our sound has continued to evolve and change over the last decade. We have definitely gotten a bit heavier and darker in sound as time has went on! No telling where we might go on the next one, but one thing is for sure, there is certainly more music to be written.
As for band members, I am now the sole remaining original member of the band! In some ways this is a good thing as each new musician has a tendency to bring their own influences and unique talents to each new album. Luckily, I have remained good friends with all of the talented musicians that have been in the band, so I still catch up with them from time to time and catch their other music projects when I can. Darrin Goodman (lead guitar) has been in the band for the longest period of time other than me and he and I have been the primary writers on the last two albums. Matt Lefevre (drums) also contributed to the writing on Savage Gods and his influence really helped to propel the songs on this album in directions Darrin and I probably wouldn’t have went. I count myself lucky to work with these guys!
What inspired the band’s formation? Were you going to gigs in your city at the time?
Shane: I have been into metal since I was very young and have always wanted to front a band. I am a huge fan of Priest, Maiden, Sabbath, Dio, and many European power metal bands so when I had the chance to join a band called Ashen Legacy, one of the few traditional power metal bands in the state at the time, back in 2006, I jumped at the chance! When that band folded in 2008, I formed Sonic Prophecy with a few members of Ashen Legacy and we headed into the studio to record our first set of songs. I’ve always been inspired by the feeling heavy metal gives me as a listener and performer. It really is an extremely powerful style of music which as a person you either understand or you don’t. We get it, your readers get it, and I hope the more people that get exposed to it, the more traditional metal can grow here in the States.
Sonic Prophecy is traditional heavy metal. Extreme metal is more popular in the U.S., metal with growling. Was it difficult to find a singer for the band in Utah? Many people can scream and growl, but singing is more difficult. What attracted you all to playing a more traditional form of music?
Shane: It was actually the other way around! I had to look very hard to find any bands that wanted a more traditional singer rather than a growler/screamer. There were literally only 2 or 3 bands active at the time in Utah that were not fronted by extreme vocalists, so I really got lucky when I found the guys in Ashen Legacy! While I am in awe of some of the extreme vocalists out there, and what they can do with their voices, I have always been more inclined to listen to traditional styles of metal, so for me it really boiled down to making the music that had been banging around in my head and that music is in the NWOBHM, traditional, and power metal genres.
The new 2018 album is called Savage Gods. Can you tell us about the lyrical concepts throughout the album? Are your lyrics based on fantasy? On what you see in Utah? On something else? What can you tell us?
Shane: With Savage Gods Sonic Prophecy covered quite a bit of territory lyrically. As the main lyric writer I try to tell a story with each song, matching the lyrics to the feeling that the music invokes. The music on Savage Gods was fairly dark and heavy so the lyrics tended to move in that direction as well. This record has songs dealing with everything from war, conquests, and nightmares, to watching a storm roll in over the Arizona desert, and traveling the high seas. My lyrics are influenced by my own personal experiences, world events, fantasy, science, movies, and things that I read. Every song is written to stand alone, which in my opinion makes for a very eclectic collection of songs that we hope fans of our style of music will enjoy!
I hope you are not offended with this question. I think you already know that people have stereotypes about Utah and Mormons. What is your opinion of living in Utah, in a state where Mormonism is the religion for many people? I find that some people have very negative opinions about Utah and Mormons. Have you had to deal with ignorance, arrogance and stereotypes because your band is not from the big cities like Los Angeles or New York?
Shane: I am not offended at all. That is a very interesting question. The short answer is no, I have not really dealt with ignorance or stereotyping due to being from Utah. I think that by and large most people are shocked that there is a heavy metal scene in Utah, due to the impression people have regarding Utah as a very religious state, but past that it really boils down to the music and if people are experiencing us live, the power of the music in the live setting.
Personally, I have never really thought too much about where the bands I like are from or what their personal backgrounds are. If I like the music, I like the music whether they are from Birmingham, England or Billings, Montana.
Sonic Prophecy shot a video that this publication shared with its readers. Where did you record the video?
Shane: First, thank you for sharing our video with your readers. We are a band that relies on word of mouth so we truly appreciate you putting us in front of your readership.
We shot the video at Haunted Hollow up in West Haven Utah with a company called Mac-Cinema. It was the perfect set for the video of “Night Terror” and since we shot it in October it already had the props in place and ready to go. The owners of Haunted Hollow could not have been any cooler. They allowed us the full use of the entire forest and all of the props on site. They were amazing to work with!
How many days did you work on that video?
Shane: We shot the video over two days, starting early in the morning and ending at midnight or later. It was fairly brutal!
Say, does it feel a bit silly for a heavy metal band to do a video in the desert with unplugged instruments?
Shane: It was really very weird at first. I mean, you have a generator roaring in the background running the lights and smoke machines, a PA system blasting the music to one side of you, and of course Matt, our drummer, playing at full tilt on the drums. It was all I could do to hear myself think! That said, once I settled into the part I just had fun with it! We are really very happy with the way it turned out and again, couldn’t have asked for a better set or crew of people to work with on it.
Does your band plan to do shows?
Shane: We absolutely are planning to play out supporting the album. We are hoping to do a western states tour with some possible dates in Canada later this summer. We would like to do more touring, but the reality is that touring is ridiculously expensive and can be hit and miss, so all of that has to be weighed prior to hitting the road. We will be posting dates on our Facebook site and official site as things are solidified.
When will people be able to hear the complete album?
Shane: The new album, Savage Gods, is out now and is available on all the streaming sites, stores and from our official site.
Where will it be available for streaming?
Shane: Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, and pretty much every streaming service there is.
For people who want to support your band, what is the best way to do that?
Shane: Thank you for asking this question! We actually do get money from digital sales as well as physical sales. Streaming services pay very little to the band per play, but we still appreciate people utilizing sites like Spotify and Pandora to find and listen to our music. At the end of the day though, if you like a band please buy the album, digital or physical, as that is really the only way we see any return on the album.
Some people think that they are supporting the bands by posting full albums on YouTube. How do you feel about that? Some musicians feel that YouTube is stealing from the artists. What do you think?
Shane: I personally do not have a problem with it, as I have found a lot of music on YouTube. Once I find the music though, I purchase it so I support the artist whose work I enjoy. To me that really is the key, not only as a heavy metal singer and songwriter but also as a fan. If I enjoy an artists’ work then I feel I should support them so that they can continue to be creative. A ton of time and money goes into producing an album. Everything from the artwork, to the studio time, to the marketing, it all costs money. YouTube is a great starting point, but from there it really is up to the individual to decide on how important the music is to them and if it is, then how best to support the music they enjoy. Underground metal is not a money making endeavor, it is done because the bands love doing it, but with that comes the reality that we are completely reliant on the fans to support it and keep it alive. A like on Facebook is great, but if people really want to keep the scene alive then buy the music, come to the shows, buy a shirt, and support the bands you dig.
After ten years of making metal music, what are you the most proud of that you have accomplished?
Shane: It has to be the actual albums themselves. Every album is a stepping stone to where you want to go creatively on the next album. I love writing music and I love that there is a small audience of people that get a kick out of listening to what we as a band create. It is great to be a part of the U.S. underground heavy metal scene and also, on a small level, part of the overall global metal scene.
The band has lasted a long time and there is now a new album. Something keeps fanning the flames of heavy metal within the hearts of Sonic Prophecy. What keeps you going as an underground heavy metal band in the United States?
Shane: Really it is the creative outlet. I love starting with a riff or vocal melody and then working with Darrin and Matt to create our next song. Working with such talented musicians, whose focus is to make the best music we can, is still one of the biggest thrills in my life. The day it becomes work is the day I will hang it up.
In the music industry there are a lot fakers. Fashions. Trends. Hype and all that stuff. For people looking for genuine bands, real people who are in it for the long haul, what can you tell us about Sonic Prophecy that makes you a real band, a humble band? What do you think is real and honest about your band?
Shane: I think the thing for me is that we are honest in our approach to the music. We do not write music for the masses or even for what is trending in metal. We write the music we want to make and we take pride in the music we put out. From the songs we write, to the quality of the production, to the artwork, we take all of it seriously. None of us has any delusions of fortune and fame and all of us are proud of our underground status. We are also huge lifelong fans of heavy metal and work to support other bands in the underground scene. As small as the underground traditional metal scene is, there is no place for egos, self-aggrandizing, or petty bullshit. It’s about the music, period. I think the people who are part of the underground scene understand this is and that is what makes it something we are proud to be a part of.
Do you have any other news about your band?!
Shane: Only that the new album, Savage Gods, is out now via Rockshots Records and we hope your readers will give it a listen! If they like it, pick up a copy and come to a show if and when we hit your town! All of the touring info, as we get it hammered out, and band info can be found at our website or on Facebook.
Thank you for having us be a part of The Metal Bulletin! We appreciate it!

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