Interview with Louis Rando
How did you come about obtaining the band name?
We just wanted something that sounded totally metal. Shrapnel was the obvious choice for this kind of 'blunt force' project. This was all before we found out there were 2789 other Shrapnel's! Haha!
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?
A relentless thrash onslaught of the highest degree with an Australian touch; high paced drums and riffage with raspy black / thrash vocals and wailing solos throughout. It's catchy and memorable too.
What one thing do you feel sets you apart from the rest in this genre?
I don't know if anything truly sets us apart. We're very loyal to the traditional thrash formula and we don't try to introduce too much new 'trickery' to the genre as such. Though we do play hard and from the heart. Readers: buy the CD and see what you think!
How long did it take to record your latest material?
We talked and procrastinated about recording it for nine years, but when we did finally do it, it only took about three weeks. It can be very hard for the two of us to sit still for longer than 10 minutes but we managed to do it! We tracked it ourselves and mixed it with one of Western Australia's finest producers, Aidan Barton. The result has exceeded our expectations! It's as powerful as a hand grenade and ballsy to boot!
What is the inspiration behind your latest material?
Power, violence, alcohol fuelled frenzy, evil forces, metal shows, anti Christianity, self empowerment, self destruction and war. My biggest influence is my own drive to be creative. The more I hear the music I've written, the more I want to create. My very life force inspires me.
Which label, if any, have you produced this album through?
The release is entirely self funded, self produced and self released. There has been no external input whatsoever from anyone. Not that we would compromise our vision anyway! Having said that, we are definitely enthusiastic about gaining an official source of distribution; within and beyond Australia. All interested parties, don't hesitate to contact us! Self promotion is a very noble task and all, but it's hard to get the product to the wider metal community this way. It almost doesn't leave time for anything else.
Any plans for a music video?
Perhaps in the near future. It'll be devastating if we do! A total thrash inferno of epidemic proportions!
When you go into recording mode, do you find it easy or challenging?
This particular album was quite easy. The performance aspect was easy enough. I've played far more difficult metal music in the past. Shrapnel is based more around feel and attitude than complexity and difficulty. Plus, we've been playing most of these songs on and off for 10 years now so it's very ingrained. Andrew and I have been good friends for many years and we have a long history of playing music together in many different bands, so the chemistry is very spontaneous and natural. No tension whatsoever. The way I wish all recording was.
Is there a particular market or country you are trying to reach?
Basically anyone who's willing to listen. I know Australian's and German's are very fond of old school thrash so we'll likely push it there as hard as we can. Although, all other countries are welcome to join in! Haha... Shrapnel has a very timeless and universal tone to it. I'm sure anyone can relate to it.
What kind of message are you trying to relay to your audience?
Thrash for Satan! Shrapnel is not a politically motivated band. It is a celebration of the metal lifestyle and spirit. Pure indulgence. I wouldn't want to relay any message to my audience, I'd want them to think for themselves.
Who's responsible for the bands artwork?
The front cover appears courtesy of EMI films and is taken from the 80's horror flick 'Rottweiler'. The film is about a science experiment that goes horribly wrong, resulting in the population of a small village being devoured by rabid, uncontrollable Rottweiler dogs. The cover simply looked hellish and aggressive enough to compliment our psychothrash metal!
How hard has it been to get to this point?
As I mentioned earlier, it took us 11 years to finally record the material featured on the 'Hellbound' release. Why? Because Shrapnel was originally intended as a side project to our main bands at the time. As the years went by, Andrew and I got very busy with multiple other bands; touring Australia and Europe etc. Shrapnel was no longer a focus, although we both believed the material was very strong and worth pressing to disc at some point. 2010 happened to be the year we finally coordinated ourselves and released it. 'Hellbound' is the culmination of 11 years in hibernation.
Where does your main fan base / support tend to lie?
That of course would have to be our hometown Perth for the simple fact that we haven't toured outside it yet.
Louis Rando - Age 31
Drums / Vocals / Lyrics
Started Shrapnel in 1999
Influences: Slayer, Angelcorpse , Macabre, Napalm Death, Motley Crue, Terrorizer, Immortal and life in general.
What is the metal scene like in Western Australia? And what is the general attitude towards metalheads in that region?
The scene here in Perth is quite healthy considering the small size of the population. On any given weekend, you can see two metal shows (Thrash, Prog, Death, Black or Hardcore) with about 100 - 200 in attendance. There is now an abundance of new bands popping up and a handful of quality supportive venues. We have a few local promotions companies that do a stable job in running good shows and keeping the metal public happy. Soundworks Touring is the most notable one, specialising in bring large international acts to Australia. As far as the general public's attitude towards metalheads goes, we are only considered as crazy as we would be anywhere else in the world, so that's reassuring!
What is your favourite venue? And have you come across any metal dedicated venues?
Locally, I'd have to say The Amplifier Bar would be one of the better ones for metal music. It's a tight place with a great sound system and lighting rig. Internationally, I saw some great European venues whilst on tour with my other bands Nervecell. The Transylvania club in Switzerland was great! A great concert venue with spooky décor, located in the mountains of Switzerland.
What are some of your favourite local acts? And have you had the chance to play alongside them?
We've played with many great local and Australian acts over the years, usually whilst we were in other bands. Destroyer 666, Astriaal, Pestilential Shadows, Wardaemonic, The Furor, Blood Duster, Portal, Fuck I'm Dead, Psycroptic, Alchemist, Pagan, Grotesque, Beyond Terror Beyond Grace, Enforce, Infected, Nexus, Neverborn, Nails of Imposition, Naetu, Hobbs Angel Of Death, Switchblade, Daysend, Darklord and Beyond Mortal Dreams just to namedrop a few.
What would be your most memorable gig / performance to date?
In my whole music career, it would have to be Wacken 2009 with my other band Nervecell. It was such an honour to play a legendary festival such as that one. Plus, it was a great crowd too! We've only ever performed live with Shrapnel once for our national holiday, 'Anzac Day'. It was a killer set though! The crowd went ape-shit and we thrashed our balls off!
Have you got a favourite song you like to play? And is there one in particular you've noticed your fans have started asking for?
We've only ever played one live show so the crowds don't really know what the hell's going on with our songs yet! Maybe ask this question again in a years time!
Andrew Doepel- Age 30
Guitar / Bass / Lyrics
Started Shrapnel in 1999
Influences: Destruction, Sex Pistols, Aura Noir, Dodheimsgard, Darkthrone, Rose Tattoo, Guns 'n Roses and the pain of life in general.
If you were playing at a metal festival, who would you prefer was playing alongside you and where would that be?
I'd love to play with Bathory (They never performed live!), Darkthrone, Slayer, Destruction, Destroyer 666, Aura Noir and all our other influences. Playing the show in USA or Europe would be killer!
When you play live, what can the audience expect to see?
Total balls to the wall, metal thrashing holocaust in Satan's name! A very harsh and fierce set for sure!
What kind of instruments do you use? And have you done the 'Rock Star' thing yet and smashed any equipment?
When our 'Endorsers' pay us to smash our gear, we'll smash it all! We've never smashed anything. That's for spoilt brats isn't it?!
Have you had many chances for signings?
Not with Shrapnel, but with some of my previous bands, yes. It's always a strange thing to do because I'm such a modest person. Well, that's what I'm told.
Have you ever had any Mystical experiences?
I can't say I have, but I'm a firm believer in UFO's, Extraterrestrial life, Ghosts, spirits and the afterlife etc. I can't imagine that our meek five senses pick up everything there is to know about the universe! Magic mushrooms are probably the most mystifying experience I've ever had.
Where can people purchase your music and merchandise from?
Our official merchandise is available from our Myspace page. Message us with interest for a quick response. The Cave Distro (Australia), Iron Guardian Industries (Australia) and Prime Cuts Music (Australia). More distributers will soon be added. Check the Myspace page for all the updates.
What was the main reason you chose this career path and has it turned out or going as expected?
I choose music, particularly metal, because it was a language unto itself that transcended the limitations of regular speech. Through it, I'm able to get a much more vivid sense of the world. My family was very supportive of my musical endeavours which greatly helped with motivation and self image. Instruments and rehearsal space were always available. I've gone farther in metal then I initially expected, playing alongside some of my favourite bands and playing festivals such as Wacken, With Full Force and Rock im Park. I never really aspired to change the world, I just wanted to create powerful music that inspires! I'm past the point of no return now!
Fame, fun or finance?
I definitely do it for the fun. There is no fame or finance in the underground metal scene. Period. I do it because I love to be creative and metal needs more representation in the world. It's a vastly misunderstood and unappreciated genre of music in my opinion and it's a pleasure being labelled 'the freak' who plays it!
Let's pretend you were creating a tour survival guide. What would be your top three tips for surviving a long tour with the band?
Bring spare power adaptors. I lose heaps of these suckers. A spare music toolkit for repairing shit. Earplugs for loud shows and for sleeping while everyone is partying.
What words of advice can you offer anyone looking to enter the music industry?
Believe in what you do. Do it with all your energy. Stay true to your ideals. Don't lose focus by listening to non-believers. Be persistent!
Anything you'd like to add or say to your fans?
Thanks for checking us out on Mystic Metal and remain totally insane to the core! Hear our music and see updates and progress on our Myspace.
The Cave Distro
Iron Guardian Industries
Prime Cuts Music
'Interview with Shrapnel' by Déa di Morté © 27 June 2010
Hails! to Louis Rando for agreeing to participate and taking the time to complete this interview
All pictures courtesy of Shrapnel