Shadow Of The Colossus bassist Devin Durrett recently took the time to speak with MEB’s Ridge Briel (aka the man who knows everyone). They discuss the history of the band, intriguing song topics, a love for Hayley Williams, and more!
MEB: So tell people a bit about Shadow Of The Colossus. What bands were you all in before? How did you all meet?
SOTC: We are a four-piece band formed in late 2009 by me (Devin Durrett, Bass) and guitarist Bryce Yuson. We had recently disbanded the previous project we were in because of tour issues, money issues, and band member issues. We pretty much just needed a break and a fresh start. After leaving our previous band we were just working and not really playing much music. After a couple months we realized how much we missed the music we were used to playing and how many loyal fans wanted/deserved more from us. Everybody but Drew (vocalist) met in middle school and formed a band, and we have been playing together ever since. We met Drew in high school and once we had a full band we never looked back. We have all been together for about eight years. Starting in a band called Debello Castrum, then we were all in FATE and finally started our own project Shadow of the Colossus. Also, Drew was in a band called Conducting From the Grave and our drummer Jacob is currently playing for Molotov Solution.
I understand some of you were in the band FATE. What happened to that band and why did you guys form SOTC instead of continuing under the FATE name?
Yes, we were all in the band known as FATE. We had a different singer, Justin Krahn, and another guitarist, Kyle Fishman, and were on Metal Blade records. Due to a devastating van flip and countless other issues, the band was on the verge of breaking up. Our old singer decided to part ways with us, and because we had such a good history with Drew, and he had left CFTG, we asked him to join FATE so we could try to resurrect what we had left. We changed our style and gained a lot more fans. We came out with a six-song EP which can be downloaded at myspace.com/fate. We did a handful of tours, but never really got the chance to go where we really wanted to go financially.
After a lot of grinding on the road and losing a shit load of money from tour and just life expenses (gas, van/trailer repairs, etc.) we decided to take a break and evaluate from there. Some of us got really good jobs and wanted to continue life without the band so we decided to take an indefinite hiatus. The reason we started SOTC was because we really missed playing/creating metal, and the fans kept asking us to bring them more. The reason we didn’t continue with FATE was because we didn’t form that band, we stepped into it. We wanted to do something that was completely ours, with a new name and a new sound. What better name than a game that we grew up worshiping? Everybody loved it as soon as I suggested it.
What is the overall theme of the self-titled debut? What sort of topics do you guys cover lyrically?
There is no overall “theme” but there are a few key points that we touch on. For instance, one topic we touch on is government, and the belief in conspiracies and corruption. More than half of the people in this world are blind or just too lazy to look into the illegal and treacherous acts that this government commits on its people each day. Songs like “Constructing Ultimate Destruction,” which is about the inevitable nuclear destruction of the world, and “Spill Bilderberg Blood,” which is about the secret government agency the Bilderberg group, and “The Grove,” which is about another secret government gathering known as the bohemian grove. The song “Serve the Death Sentence” is about the handful of power hungry humans who look over our corrupt world, waiting at any moment to push the button that will destroy everything we know and love, also suggesting how we all are blind and mindless drones to the fact of the matter, corruption.
Most of these lyrics were written by Jacob Durrett, and we all strongly suggest that our listeners research and shed light on all of these topics. Other songs on the album written by Drew Winter suggest themes about the struggle and consequence of substance abuse and how to overcome it. The song “Inborn Infamy” is about withdrawal from drug abuse and the power that it takes over one’s body. The song “(L)osing (S)ensation of (D)imentions” is obviously about the hallucinogenic drug LSD, otherwise known as acid. It talks about the effects and drawbacks of abusing such a drug, and the moral decision to stop abusing substances. Finally, Drew wrote a short fictional story about a corrupt planet in a dark age of plague and ruin, and the inevitable impending revolution that lurks in the short future, entitled “Purgatory of Eternal Suffering.”
Other songs on the album pay tribute to the game we named the band after, Shadow of the Colossus. The song “Shrine of Worship,” written by me, is a brief synopsis about the game, and touches on all of the key points and events in the storyline. Second, the song “The Prophecy,” written by Jacob, is about the prequel to SOTC, entitled ICO, and its events and storyline. Finally, the last song topic, but not the least, is my personal favorite on the record. The song “Labor, the Enslaver” is about how human kind is born into a slave-ridden world in which we must work our entire lives to live. We can’t just live freely and happily, we need to put our bodies on the line and slave away to earn a living and maybe slide by if we’re lucky. All of our songs are written with the most passion possible and should all be taken into consideration.
Where was the self-titled album recorded? What was the process like making the whole album in such a short amount of time?
We recorded the album at MAYHEMNESS STUDIOS here in Sacramento, CA with engineer Robert Swanson. We have recorded literally everything in our musical careers, except for the FATE full length Vultures, with Bobby at Mayhemness, so we all knew how we worked very well. It was just like a bunch of friends hanging out making awesome music. It was one of the best times we have ever had recording an album. The process was super quick, since we had all of the songs down very well due to hours of rehearsal. The process was traditional: Drums, then guitars, then bass, then vocals. The album took about two weeks to finish. On the last night we had before our CD release show we were all up till 8 a.m. mixing and mastering and putting the finishing touches on the album. We then went home and burned about 150 CDs for the show. That night was the CD release, and was the BEST show we had ever played in our entire lives. We sold out everything we had in merch and played to a sold out crowd. SOTC fans are the world’s BEST!!
What news can you guys give about your upcoming album? How many songs do you guys have written or recorded? What are the names of some of the songs?
Well the album is going to be entitled “END GAME,” which is also going to be title of the album’s last song. It is going to be a well thought out concept album and the topic is going to be: LIFE. I know that is a very broad topic, but everybody will just have to wait and see how it turns out! We have 12 songs written and will be doing one cover of a Metallica song, which we are super excited about! We are going to bring something to the table that nobody has ever even fathomed. We are writing about topics that nobody in our genre has dared to touch, and we hope our listeners are ready to get blown away. Whatever you expect the album to sound like, expect the opposite.
Is there going to be any merch coming out soon? Who is behind the designs?
Yes actually, we are literally in the process of printing merch as I write this. We will have two designs to start with, one design on a white tee and another on a black tee. Thankfully we got hooked up by two very awesome dudes! One from Daniel at D-DUB designs (facebook.com/designbyddub) and the other from Derek at REND THY FLESH designs (facebook.com/rendthyfleshdesigns). We are stoked to be working with them and will have online orders up within a week through BIGCARTEL.COM, and the URL will be posted soon on our facebook which is FACEBOOK.COM/SOTCOFFICIAL.
What sort of topics will you cover in the upcoming album? Any chance there will be some guest spots on there?
Like I said earlier, the album will be concept and we will just have to wait and see where that brings us. Also yes we are going to have a plethora of guest spots on the next album. First off, I am going to be singing clean vocals on some parts, and a close friend Aaron Copelin will also be doing vocals along with Drew, who was on our self-titled album. We will also be having other guests come in who have yet to be announced, such as a female vocalist and other well known vocalists among the metal genre. We couldn’t be more excited.
Are there any upcoming shows for you guys?
As of this point we will not be playing shows. The other guys, and myself, have another life such as work and school that unfortunately doesn’t include touring or shows at this point. Also, Jacob is successfully playing for Molotov Solution and we support him completely and wish them the best! They are all our very close friends and Jacob couldn’t be in a better place. He is still in SOTC, obviously, but like I said we are just writing, not touring or playing shows. We are solely writing this album for the fans who have stuck by us through all of our bands and projects. We love making this music and we love bringing it to the people who love it and deserve it. Without our loyal SOTC fans sticking by us, we wouldn’t have even considered writing this album, or even forming this band, really.
Devin, what can fans expect in terms of your solo project? What are some influences of yours that made you want to write these kind of songs?
As some of you know I have a solo acoustic/folk project that is just entitled with my name “Devin Durrett” at this point. I have a full album written and am currently in the process of recording it, and will begin to play shows very, very shortly. Fans can expect a well written, thought out, and emotionally satisfying project. I write songs with as much emotion as I can, seeing as I want people to be able to feel my music. The best way to generate fans is to write songs that they can relate to. I write songs on personal experiences, and hope to help others with my writing. Soon after the breakup of FATE I picked up piano, and started playing acoustic guitar songs and singing them a lot more. I find this type of music very fulfilling and it can at times be even harder to write than the most technical of metal. I have a couple years under my belt now and am beginning to find my sound.
Some of my influences include: John Mayer, Mumford and Sons, The Fray, City and Colour, Sara Bareilles, Phil Collins, Coldplay, Adele, the Black Keys, Death Cab For Cutie, Thrice/Dustin Kensrue, James Blunt, Jeff Buckley, Jonny Craig, Justin Nozuka, Ray Lamontagne, Raphael Saadiq, Michael Buble, Kings of Leon, Jonny Lang, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton; just to name a few.
I ENCOURAGE ALL FANS OF SOTC TO CHECK OUT MY PROJECT HERE: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Devin-Durrett/164956926876169?sk=info AND TO KEEP AN OPEN MIND AND GIVE ME FEEDBACK!
What other bands bring the most influence to you all?
Really we don’t listen to much metal anymore, as hard as that is to believe. The top five bands that have most influenced us are as follows (in no particular order) Decapitated, Killswitch Engage, Nickelback, Behemoth, and Dimmu Borgir. I know that is an odd list but that’s really what gives us our unique sound. We don’t discriminate towards any music at all. We merely like whatever music sounds good to our ears.
Jacob, what is it like performing in both SOTC and Molotov Solution? Is it tiring to pull double duty?
Well, he is actually on tour with MS right now, in Wyoming I think, so I’ll take the liberty to answer this question for him. We have only performed one show as SOTC, as I said before, but it was one of – if not the best show we have ever played. I’m sure Jacob loves playing with MS. They are some of our closest friends and the shows they play are huge! Gotta love playing to thousands of fans every night, and touring with some of the biggest names in the industry. Although it must be awesome to play with MS I’m sure he loves sharing the stage with his brothers in SOTC (literally and figuratively). We have been together since the beginning and there’s nothing like playing with your best friends. And yes, I’m sure it gets tiring for him to pull double duty. He tours with MS full time and really only gets about a week every two months at home. So, needless to say the writing process of this album has been slow and grueling, but we will do anything and everything possible to finish this masterpiece of an album and bring it to our fans!
If you guys were to tour soon, what five bands would you want to tour with the most?
Molotov Solution… wouldn’t that be a sick tour? Jacob would get tired playing two sets per night though!
Conducting From The Grave… there is nothing better than touring with your best friends and the last time we toured with them was one of the best times of our lives!
Decapitated (with Vitek)… unfortunately this will never happen. Vitek was one of the best drummers I have ever witnessed and it is such a tragedy that he died. RIP Vitek.
Killswitch Engage… just so we can party with Adam D and convince him to record our next album!
Paramore… so I can convince Hayley Williams to marry me.. DUH!
So have you guys decided on which cover to do?
Yes, we have decided to cover “My Friend Of Misery” by Metallica. It is one of our favorite Metallica songs and is one of the closest sounds to our newest record and we are going to rip that song to pieces! SO STOKED!
What advice can you give to other people about starting their own bands?
Well first off, the most important thing is to never give up. I know it sounds cliché but hard work and practice are really the best ways to become well versed in your craft. Second, create your own sound. The best way to get people to listen to your music is to do something that they have never heard before, and to do it well. Last, be well aware that success is not a quickly acquired title. It is going to take years to even get close to be where you need and want to be. Most people don’t realize that it will take no less than a five-year commitment to become a solid and well known band. GOOD LUCK!
Any last words for your fans?
We want to thank all of our loyal fans for everything they do for us. Just by word of mouth we have gained a great following. We cannot thank everyone enough. Being a DIY band we are so grateful to those who spread the word about us and even those who simply tag us on Facebook. You really don’t know how much that means to us. Finally, get ready for “END GAME” due out early next year, and keep an eye peeled for merch due within a week! Thanks for everything!!!