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Interview with Shadow Smile

Sheffield's Shadow Smile are currently making waves in the metal scene with their infectious sound and vocals reminiscent of Avenged Sevenfold. We sat down with Connor from the band for a chat as they release new single 'Signed In Blood'

Introduce yourself and tell us what you do in the band?

CM: I'm Connor McGovern, I'm the lead singer and one of the main songwriters in Shadow Smile.

Tell us a little about your band, how you got together and the story behind the name if there is one.

CM: We are a Metal band based in Sheffield and we formed back in 2019. We got together out of a mutual love of theatrical, heavy music and wanted to give a message of 'be yourself and think for yourself' to our audience. The name comes from a song by The Cure called "Burn" (it was in the movie 'The Crow') which has a lyric "Just paint your face and shadows smile'. And I thought it sounded really cool!

Tell us a bit about your latest single, what’s the story behind the song?

CM: So this is the first single from our new album (also called "Signed in Blood") and is the opening song on the record. We wrote this specifically as a big opening for a live show with a lot of energy and a big, catchy chorus. I think it really embodies all the different elements of our sound from heavy riffs to big, soaring vocals and a classic rock guitar solo that would make Eddie Van Halen proud.

What is your writing process like? Do you start with lyrics and then come up with a melody or is it the other way round?

CM: With this album we started with lyrical concepts because the whole album is about the Seven Deadly sins and how they are in play in a non-religious society just as much as they were through history. So this song in particular I wanted to echo songs written from the Devil's point of view such as "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones or "Shepherd of Fire" by Avenged Sevenfold. I thought this approach would help set the scene in the first single.

What bands were you listening to when you were writing this release? Do you think it had an effect on the end sound?

CM: We really do listen to such a variety of music but, at the time of writing this song I was definitely inspired by a lot of old-school metal like Metallica and Black Sabbath as well as modern bands with those influences like Avenged Sevenfold and Ghost. At the same time we're always listening to bands like Queen, Abba, the Bee Gees and those timeless acts that know everything about songwriting as it really helps us to craft a more well-rounded song.

You have a music video to go along with this single, what is the story behind that, was it fun to make?

CM: With this new album we're entering a new era so there's a whole new aesthetic for the band. This video is really a performance piece that introduces the new look and imagery ready for what lies ahead. As far as being fun to make... once the cameras rolled it was amazing but we had to load our gear through 2 miles of woodland to an abandoned factory in torrential rain which really wasn't much fun. But the video came out great so it was worth the effort.

What can you tell us about the album that the song has come from?

CM: We've spent most of 2022 writing and recording the album (with a few breaks to perform live). We crowdfunded it entirely so there has ben literally zero interference from a label or management, just our own art direct to the audience which makes me really proud. It's a concept album about each of the Seven Deadly Sins but, instead of looking at the demonology or religious connotations, we've looked at how they may be warnings for modern day society and the world we're building for our future children. It sounds a heavy concept but it comes with our signature catchy choruses and wailing solos so it's pretty digestible for the most part. We've also touched musically on nearly all of our influences, which range from metal and rock to pop, hip-hop and even classical. We can't wait to go further down some musical rabbit holes on the next release.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

CM: That's a tough one. Probably that I'm very passionate about good quality, loose leaf tea and have a bit of a Fortnum and Mason addiction. (Very British I'm sure).

Do you have any shows coming up that we should get ourselves along to?

CM: Yes! We will be in London at the Hope & Anchor, Islington on 5th February, Hammerfest in Birmingham on the 12th February and Call of the Wild Festival on 27th May in Lincoln. And that's before we announce the album tour! Thank you for talking with me!

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