SHOGUN

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TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE

This interview with the guitarist Jesse Johnson of the American metal band Shogun, was done by Chris Rohde through email on October 6th 2001. The band has broken up, and re-formed since then. Now they plan to rename the band.

Can you give a brief history of Shogun as a band? How did you guy's get together? Any other albums besides Iconoclast? Any band member changes?
The original lineup formed in the summer of 1998 with Charles on drums, Joe on bass, Trevor on vocals, and Dave and myself on guitar. That lineup held up until August of 1999 when our current singer, Warren, replaced Trevor on vocals. Joe then left the band while we were recording Iconoclast in July 2000, and was replaced by Brian, who is now our drummer. More on that in a minute (this really could be a script for a Tarantino movie). Brian filled in on bass for a January 2001 tour with Open Hand, then ultimately decided it wasn't his cup of tea...Soon after, we acquired Stuart as our new bass player, which lasted all of about five months before he parted ways with Shogun...Now, we are finally back at full strength with aforementioned Brian Pennington on drums and teen bass wiz, Tim Cleary on, well, bass. Dave and I still play guitar and Warren is still on the mic...Since Shogun's conception we have released a 6-song EP (Not Bad Records), a 3-song 7" (Chainsaw Safety Records), and a full-length CD (Goodfellow Records). We have a new EP coming out on Goodfellow this January. There it is, the musical chair-tale of our band...

How did this past summer touring go for Shogun, and whom did you tour with?
We toured for the first three weeks of June and it went very well. We played with some good bands, and were well received pretty much everywhere. We especially enjoyed our second trip to Canada where we played in Hamilton and Quebec City before millions of screaming Canadians (ok...maybe 100...combined). We also had a great time at the Orlando Magic Fest, which was a well-run three day event showcasing a variety of bands.

How did Shogun get hooked up with the Canadian record label Goodfellow Records? Seeing as how you guys are from Colorado, USA.
Chris Logan emailed us regarding his enthusiasm for our Enter the Equation 7" that came out around the turn of the millennium (just wanted to say that because I probably won't get another chance!). He enjoyed it and wondered if we wanted to do something with Goodfellow. The rest, as they say, has already happened, or something.

Iconoclast is a great album, one of my favorites of the year. It is very different from the same sounding shit that keeps coming out lately. Who are some of your musical influences? Who are some of the bands musical influences?
Well, thanks for the compliment, first of all. It's interesting because we all enjoy a variety of music and generally share a core of favorites, but I doubt that there is any one CD that we each own...Anyway, our most direct influences are probably the likes of Botch, Dillinger, Cave In, Candiria, and Fall Silent. But our individual interests include classical, Indian, pop rock, jazz and techno.

I have read that you guys aren't very satisfied with your first EP "Everything I love". Is this true? What have you done different on Iconoclast?
Well I would never fault ourselves for what we did in the past, but that EP is not something we're that excited about anymore. However, I think it was important for us to endure the process of being dissatisfied with a recording because it tuned us in to being critical of the creative process. Now we are much more methodical and patient when we write songs and I think, as a result, Iconoclast represents a more intense and focused musical arrangement than we've done before.

For people that haven't heard you guys before, could you give a brief description of Shogun's sound?
This is cool, because I've read tons of reviews that contain a description of our music, but now I get to describe us from a theoretical standpoint. Our main objectives when we write a song are to 1) make it complex yet accessible, 2) make it cohesive and dramatic, and 3) make it rock. To answer your question more directly, using these three objectives we then combine our favorite elements of metal, hardcore, classical, and whatever else to create a song. If that is still too vague, you could just call us metal-hardcore or whatever the new hip term is...

Is there anywhere on the web that people can visit to hear you guys?
I know you can hear a couple songs on mp3.com. I think Chris puts songs or links on goodfellowrecords.com too...

Have you guys started to write new material for a new album? Or are you still focusing on touring the Iconoclast album?
We just completed a new EP, which contains three new songs and a modified version of an older song that will be released on Goodfellow Records sometime this January...

What do you think of NU-Metal? Do you think that Limp Bizkit should be shot? (I do!)
I guess it's hard not to be critical of cheesy music like that, but I've been trying to judge music with less of a focus on what I think it should be, and more on what it is...I actually think Limp Bizkit, despite the tough guy front and terrible lyrics, has some pretty catchy songs, and there are other bands that at least should get credit for good song-writing...I think we all could live better without bands like Godsmack and Disturbed, though.

What do you think of Punk Rawk? Are you a fan? Has it influenced you in any way? If it has, what bands are the shit in your view?
I got into independent music by listening to bands like Green Day and NOFX, so, if that still qualifies as "punk," then yes I am a fan and it has influenced me. I enjoy a catchy tune with sugary vocal harmonies and predictable chord progressions from time to time...

Is Joe Nepomuceno going to stay on as your full time bassist? And if not are you going to try to recruit Jason Newsted? I hear he's not doing anything since he left Metallica.
Well, as I said, Joe actually was our original bassist and left the band in July 2000...We do have a bassist now, his name is Tim Cleary.

Well, thanx for taking time to answer these questions Jesse. Keep coming out with killer shit! Cheers.
Thank you Chris Take care.


Links of interest:

Goodfellow Records