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An Interview with

who play 'Mountains Of Metal'

on Saturday July 20th, 2024 @ Record Junkee, Sheffield

Tell us all about how your band came to be and what roles you all have?

Shredder started as Guitarist and Songwriter Stu's jamming project amongst friends and JoinMyBand hires almost 20 years ago, finally putting its first full gigging line-up together and taking to the stage in 2009. Since then, we've kept the core of Stu (Guitars), Tom (Guitars) and Ed (Bass) with just a change each on Drums and Vocals, with Rix (Drums) and Marina (Vocals) completing the current line-up.

We’ve been really lucky that it’s not been a revolving door of personnel over the years, and on the couple of occasions when people have had to leave, it’s always been amicable. In terms of roles within the band, Stu is still the initial-ideas-man when writing new material, but everyone crafts their own parts as the songs come together and we've been fortunate that both Marina and her predecessor, Cookie, have proven to be talented lyricists as well as vocalists.

Stu and Ed have done a fair bit of the production, engineering and mastering of our recorded output to date, but everything we do live on stage and more generally in representing the band is a team effort.

Where did your name initially come from?

Oddly enough, nobody admits to being completely sure... but the name is as old as the project so that puts four of us in the clear! As well as a metal band from Sheffield, it's apparently also the name of a demonic sword, so with extreme poetic licence you might say the demonic element reflects how the band sounded back in its heavier early days, and the sword is more symbolically representative of the melodic and power genres we've embraced since becoming a gigging band.

Much closer to the truth would be to say that the idea of coming up with anything better just fills us with feelings of dread, so having made it this far under the moniker, we're sticking with it!

Who would you say have been your main inspirations and influences and why either individually or as a band unit?

Stu was inspired by guitarists such as Alexi Laiho and Paul Gilbert who despite their obvious mastery of the instrument would always serve the song first and foremost, and this immediately slotted together with Tom's love of delivering classic Metallica and Iron Maiden influenced riffs and rhythms.

Ed's upbringing on the likes of Rainbow and Meat Loaf added a classic yet theatrical rock bounce to the bassline, still sitting comfortably with Rix's style of drumming which itself evolved by combining the straight-up drive of Pantera with the progressive flair of Dream Theater.

Early symphonic bands like Nightwish and Delain showed Marina that there was a home for her soprano training in the world of metal, and Shredder is the heavy yet melodic melting pot of styles and influences which results from us all doing our thing at the same time.

How would you describe your band to somebody who had never heard you before that will be seeing you live on Saturday July 20th?

Melodic heavy metal fronted by an operatic soprano, with songs about conflict and mythology which take you from feelings of quiet foreboding on the eve of battle, via a defiant march to your death and a literal journey through hell, to a resurrection in mystical fire. May contain high notes and guitar solos.

What Songs / Albums are you most proud of that you have released so far and for what reasons?

I think it's fair to say we're proud of all our releases for different reasons. The self-titled EP was our first time heading into a studio and getting something produced to put in people's hands at gigs. It wasn’t perfect and eventually needed remastering, but it was a hell of a business card. 'The War Machine' EP was completely home-brew, so that felt like an achievement in itself, and it was also the point at which we got onto the main streaming services.

'At the Gates of War' is our first 'proper' album with commissioned artwork; an actual product in cellophane which we’re all old enough to appreciate nostalgically. But the thing they have in common is that all the songs on them have endured and we still enjoy playing them, which isn’t always a given.

What would you say have been the most stand-out moments/highlights in the bands career so far and why?

The recurring highlights for us are those gigs that unexpectedly surpass expectation; maybe we thought it'd be a quiet night but the room fills and there's sweat dripping from the ceiling, or maybe it really is a quiet night but the music visibly connects with one person and they're having a great time dancing away.

We've opened shows for some really cool bands over the years, but perhaps the highlight in that sense was turning up to Corporation and finding out that we were the only support for John 5, and we'd got an hour on the main stage. That was a fun gig!

What have been the funniest, most Spinal Tap moments in the band?

We're not much for stage props and rarely get the amps above 5, but in the spirit of the film our previous drummer was once still at his girlfriend's house about 50 miles away with no clue that we had a gig that night until we felt he was cutting it a bit fine for soundcheck and gave him a bell to see if the traffic was bad. He somehow made it there for stage time without spontaneously combusting.

What revs you up and gets you going before getting on stage?

It's going to sound deeply un-metal, but with the possible exception of Rix ensuring that there’s not too much blood in his coffee stream, we seem to favour a quiet and relaxed few minutes before getting on stage rather than aiming for being fired up. The second between the background music fading down and the first note of the set is usually enough to get us focussed and in the moment.

What would you most like to fulfil as a band when it comes to the bucket-list?

We've never had any delusion of giving up our day jobs and heading off round the world on a tour bus, so realistically more of the same but with bigger bands to support, longer sets to play, gigs further afield and maybe the odd headline here and there. We've entered the M2TM competition a few times now, so it'd be good to get through that and play Bloodstock. Maybe next year!

Photograph by Manadh Photography

What does it mean to you to play the 'Mountains Of Metal' All-Dayer alongside the other bands on the bill?

Having had a good listen to the other bands it promises to be a really high-quality day of music, and we're excited to have been invited along to contribute. The selection of bands is very well matched so we're confident that a fan of any one will enjoy the others, and we predict that there’ll be some tough decisions about when to nip out for refreshments.

What special message do you have to the folk who are coming to the show?

We genuinely appreciate that you spend your time, money and effort supporting bands like us and keeping the local metal scene alive. We’ve been away for four long years thanks to the pandemic and related life events, but we’re back and we’re ready to go. See you there!

Be sure to check out the various links:

Mountains Of Metal Events Page:

Mountains Of Metal Events Ticket Link:

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