CAST OF SHADOWS

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TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE

This interview with the members of Cast Of Shadows was done through e-mail in January 2001.

Vince LuPone-Guitar
James Calabrese-Vocal
Andrew Philbrick-Bass
Ross Martinez-Drums

Could you please give us the history of Cast of Shadows?
Vince: Cast of Shadows evolved from a former band our singer Jim and I had been in. We decided to break from the musicians we'd played with before and decided to find two musicians that shared our vision for what the band could be. We found what we were looking for this past summer in bassist Andrew Philbrick and drummer Ross Martinez. Who in a spooky kind of way are exactly what we were looking for. Jim and I have played separately in many bands before, everything from punk to thrash. We hooked up about 2 or 3 years ago. At his first audition I knew he was a keeper, at his second audition I realized he had the voice and dynamic I had been writing music specifically for all my life.

Most people may not have heard about you yet. Tell us what to expect from your music? How would you describe your sound?
Vince: I think the first thing people seem to notice is the intensity. The music is very intense, but also structured. It's like bottled aggression. Heavy Metal is a musical style known more for hate & aggression. What I believe sets us apart is our ability to bring soul, feeling, and emotion to Heavy Metal. We incorporate off-set rhythms and contrast harsh and beautiful melodies to create a different sound. Hopefully a huge sound that hits people where it counts.

Andrew: I think the diversity of our musical interests and influences makes for a very unique sound. Best described as melodic, artful metal with moments of thrash and speed.

Ross: I can't describe it well, because there are alot of influences that make it what is.

What kind of shows have you been doing so far? Have you had any label offers?
Vince: Damn good shows! Electric ones that get the crowd involved. We don't just stand in our corners of the stage, bobbing our heads, that's for sure. Mainly we've played club shows in-and-around the Phoenix area, and are potentially looking for a larger band to tour with for exposure. We're not actively seeking a record label at this time. We're doing this on our own for now. We record the music in our own studio, we create our own art, we press our own CDs. Sure we'd love to have a record label's backing for promotion and tour support. We love what we do and we're not going to sign just ANY deal to say we're a signed band, that's foolish.

Your favorite five bands ever?
As a Band
1. Metallica
2. Dream Theater
3. Rush
4. Alice In Chains
5. Led Zeppelin

What do you think about the state of metal in the US today?
Drew: It's very diverse. US metal ranges from one extreme to the other and it's fans are not afraid to enjoy all sides of it.

Ross: I think it has evolved quite a bit, musicians today are at a higher caliber and the music is still heavy.

Vince: I think it's better than it has been for a long time! I'm not a fan of the rap metal, but I have respect for inventive new groups like Kid Rock, Sevendust, A Perfect Circle and Orgy. They're bringing back the heavy sound to radio and MTV. I'm also into the sound and feel of Creed. They're a positive step in the right direction. I would love to play with them sometime. And who doesn't love seeing bands like Pantera and Dream Theater in their prime? I believe most of the good stuff is still underground. Popular music as a whole seemed to be dying in the early 90's, I think mainly because alternative was popular...and alot of people knew it wasn't very good music, even though it was forced down their throats. Fans are smarter than the industry wants to believe. The industry saw an all-time sales low. So what do they do? Bring back metal and viola... more sales. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to understand that. Metal is the best damn music in the world.

What do you think about the following:

a) Black metal?

Vince: Living Colour was cool! hahah!

James: I am not a fan of the music but it's funny to hear about those Black Metal bands killing each other. Now that's dedication to your music!

b) Power metal?

Vince: Dated, but excellent music and extremely cool stuff. The best rock guitar players in the world right now are in power metal.

James: When I think Power Metal, I think loin cloth.

c) Gothic metal?

Vince: Very very cool stuff. A big influence on us at this stage of our careers. I love the emotion and drama involved.

James: The whole Gothic Metal scene has captured my imagination.

d) Death metal?

Vince: I think it's dead. Has been for 5 years.

James: Those guys can sure play fast.

Andrew: Each of the above is as likely to be something I would listen to as any another. For me, it all comes down to a great song structure, talented musicians and a driving beat.

Ross: I think it all has its place and it is all valuable for whoever it inspires.

What are your thoughts on mp3, Napster and the Internet as a way of promoting bands?
Vince: Great for promotion. We've seen MP3s as a great way for people in far-off lands to hear our music. With the dawn of MP3 we've also seen a surge in CD and video sales in the music industry. To quote a great band and big influence on us, "There's a Revolution Coming" in digital music. However, there's still something special about buying a packaged CD with all the art and beauty that goes along with the artist's music. Art and music are inseparable.

Andrew: The internet has been nothing but positive as a force to promote bands. I agree there is a revolution going on with music and it can only end up helping those of us who would otherwise be unheard by the masses.

Ross: I think these sites are great, it takes the power away from the record labels and gives the consumer choices, also it helps startup bands get some inexpensive promotion. I can respect metallica's point on it, but i think it gives the small bands a voice to be heard without the restrictions placed by labels.

James: There is no other way to promote globally.

Does the band members have some kind of musical training or are you all self-taught musicians?
Vince: I'm self-taught as a guitarist and songwriter, however I'm classically trained in music theory. Been playing for a decade. I've found the best way to learn is to surround myself with musicians to learn from and to teach.

Andrew: I have studied music theory, classical guitar and some jazz.

James: I have studied saxophone, piano and guitar, but like my highschool Spanish classes I have forgotten it all. I've also participated in chorus in highschool. That had more to do with a desire to be around girls than to learn proper technique.

Ross: I am self-taught.

What do you do in your ordinary lives when not playing?
Vince: Listening.

Andrew: Playing internet games. Spending time outdoors (camping, hiking, the whole back-to-nature thing)

James: I am a big fan of the Playstation and Dreamcast. I love to read, listen to music and promote the band.

Ross: Taking care of family and working for a big corporation wishing I could make music professionally.

What are your plans and goals for the future?
Andrew: To take this band as far as it can go. World tour, platinum albums...

Vince: To touch people with our music. To boldly go where few rock bands have gone before... the heart and soul.

Ross: To be able to make a comfortable living making music.

James: To write great songs and to succeed.

Any final words you would like the world to read?
James: www.CastofShadows.com!

Ross: I would encourage people to get out and support thier local music scene. Remember all the big bands started as a little band trying to make it and because of the fans they are big today. Take care and buy our cd!

Vince: Music is an abstract that is the closest we come to inspiring and creating a pure emotion. It can make a movie sad, a moment unforgettable, or a crowd electric. It's a fundamental piece of humanity that without which life would not be worth living. That's why we create, that's why we play, and that's why we're Cast of Shadows.

Andrew: We will be in your hometown someday soon.


Links of interest:

Cast Of Shadows website