Brisbanian quintet As Paradise Falls have faced a number of challenges and obstacles in their timeline, but it hasn’t ever slowed them down from being able to get past them all, in order to succeed. Having faced the sudden and tragic death of their guitarist Glen Barrie, including a lineup change in the midst of the recording process of their latest album “Digital Ritual”, it’s obviously been a blur to them. Speaking with the band’s new vocalist Shaun Coar about their experiences in the last two years, he speaks on his and the band’s behalf on how they’re feeling to have their latest record finally hit the shelves, soon
“I think everyone’s absolutely stoked to finally get here” he begins. “Especially with everything we’ve gone through before I was in the band. Glen Barrie, the previous guitarist passed away during the mixing process over in Thailand, while they were in the studio. Their singer left, and I got recruited in, and Jimmy (Upson) got recruited in after Glen passed away, so, it took us about two years to rebuild and rewrite vocals. To get to this point, it’s quite a relief and we’re just stoked that it’s finally out there.”
So, a little while after Shaun joined As Paradise Falls, it didn’t take that much for the rest of the band to get back on their feet after the passing of Glen Barrie. Shaun also states that he felt more for everyone in As Paradise Falls and Glen’s family and friends after he died, as he had only known Glen for such a short time.
“Ravi (Sherwell) left a little bit after Glen passed away, so I only got recruited in a little bit after the fact. He left when they had a completed album, and the band didn’t wanna release an album with a singer that just left, so they asked if I could rewrite and record vocals for them. I knew Glen, and he was a great guy, but I felt more for his family and the other band members that were closer to him, than I was. It’s a hard thing to get over and bounce back from that. The members are really proud of what they’ve been able to achieve, in spite of what’s happened. They’re quite determined people.”
With their ex-vocalist Ravi Sherwell leaving in the midst of the record’s completion, Shaun stepped in to take over vocal duties to record and rewrite for the band, lyrically. Now, that he had witnessed so much during that period, he felt determined about what was to be focused on throughout the album’s lyrical side.
“Most of the time, I come up with a theme in mind to write towards. But, usually it takes me a little while to build up to what that theme was, but this time around, I was like “No, this is theme that I’m gonna explore, all the aspects that come to mind and go through with how the digital landscape affects different things in a negative way”. All the positive ways are pretty self-evident. You see it every day, and it’s very convenient. You know, I’m not gonna shit on that, I just wanted to see what we’re giving up to get those conveniences and how that has affected us as a modern day society and how attitudes have changed from ten years ago.”
Luckily, for Shaun, the music had already been complete, and he just had to play his part for the recording of “Digital Ritual”. This led him to finding his own style and structure as a vocalist and lyricist to prove that he had what it took to have his own persona fit with the remainder of As Paradise Falls, in a way that made it feel like he’s been with them a lot longer than people would presume.
“For me, all the songs were pretty much done, musically, so I didn’t have a say so much in structure, which is kind of a good thing in its own way, because it forces you to be a little bit more creative with how you arrange things, and it takes you out of your comfort zone. So, I really enjoyed having that, where it was a challenge to make everything fit within my own style. I’m quite different from the previous singer, he doesn’t use clean vocals at all, and his approach to phrasing is different from my own. So, I wanted to created my own identity within the band, but try not to sacrifice too much of what their original sound.”
A couple of days ago, As Paradise Falls went and performed with local act A Breach of Silence in their hometown. With that show going down, Shaun felt that gig was a good warmup for what they were going to be doing in the next couple of weeks, for their appearance at the Dead of Winter festival, and their four-date headline tour in late August/early September.
“The show on the first went really well. We’re sort of building things up as we go along, and try to create a really nice, flowing set. All the technical aspects that are involved with it, we’re running a different type of rig for the first time ever. I’m running effects live through ProTools as well, so that means it changes my vocals, delays and technical stuff, as opposed to letting the sound tech do that. It’s a vigorous to get and tick all the boxes to make sure everything is working properly, but, we’re quite happy with the response from people, and the way everything is sounding. So, I can’t wait to take it on the road again in September.”
As mentioned before, As Paradise Falls will be performing later in July, as part of the local Dead of Winter festival in Brisbane, alongside The Bennies, DarkCell, Whoretopsy and more. With the festival being a few weeks away, Shaun already has his eyes on a few bands he wants to see, and talks about why the Dead of Winter festival stands out from a lot of other festivals that take place in the country.
“I’m keen to see Hollow, which is a Brisbane band, but they haven’t played in quite some time. They were pretty much running the Brisbane scene for a long time, in sort of like, the early 2000s. So I’m really excited to see them again. Funnily enough, Hollow World, from Melbourne. They’re good friends with us, and they’re so ridiculously tight. The stuff they play is quite impressive. Their technical ability is really quite good. The whole day as an experience is awesome. There’s such a wide breath of different genres. You can basically wander around the venue and check out something you might not normally, be into and you end up enjoying it and have a good time. I really like those festivals where there are many different genres, because you can just get out of your comfort zone and explore something new.”
With their headline tour starting towards the end of winter, Shaun brings up a little bit about what’s going to be different to this upcoming set of shows, compared to the last few that they’ve done in the past.
“The first run we did earlier in the year, we had a certain amount of songs. This time around, we’re covering different tracks that we’ve never really played live before. So, I think that’s gonna be quite fun for us. Obviously, anyone else that’s coming out to see us are likely gonna see the fresh songs, but we’re just really excited, because we’re getting the set down really tight, and we just wanna smash it out.”
After the tour takes place, As Paradise Falls seem to have their hearts focused on getting back overseas, mostly in the northern hemisphere. Shaun also talks about the possibility of the band putting out some fresh material a little while after all of that, and do another big Australian leg.
“I think overseas is definitely on our radar, at the moment. We’re looking at the in’s and out’s of it. We’ve obviously missed the Northern Hemisphere runs, pretty much. But, next year, we’re looking towards that in a couple of months or try to brave it in the winter months. We’re just searching out the logistics of it, now. I think we’ll probably be looking to get more content out there as another single, and do another Australian run. Because the album has been written and finished for almost a year, on my part, I think everyone is quite keen to see what else we can write and explore. Because, we’ve only just scratched the surface of what we’ve done on this album, and I think, the further we go with it, the material is only gonna get better.”