those that dont know you guys that well could you please
We are a two-piece metal band from Ireland, consisting of just
two members: David McCann on drums and percussion and yours
truly on guitars and vocals. Some other basic facts about us:
the band formed in Ireland in 2005, relocated to Vancouver,
Canada for a year and toured the country, put on a tribute gig
to Death in which we played the entire Symbolic album from start
to finish, and have now just released our debut album Resolution
for free download.
Ireland isnt a large country.
What is it like to be stuck on an island?
Ireland isnt that much different to most of the western
world and we do appear to take a lot of influence from aspects
of North American and English culture. We may be on the edge
of Europe but cheap air travel allows many of us to visit any
part of mainland Europe in less than two hours or so. Perhaps
the best way to describe a certain type of living situation
is by actually living in different parts of the world. As mentioned,
we both lived in Vancouver, Canada for a year and we find that
living in Ireland is much like living in a scaled down version
of Canada. Essentially, we work jobs, go to college, socialise
with friends, browse the internet, and play music in very similar
ways to how we lived in Canada. Okay, so the scenery in Vancouver
was spectacular but we pretty much enjoy the same kind of lives
here in Ireland. To be honest, I think wed be living a
similar lifestyle no matter what part of the planet we lived
How would you like to explain the origin of your sound?
It is hard to pinpoint an exact origin for our music. There
is very little Irish influence in our material though as the
majority of the bands we listen to come from the US or Europe.
However our music is not just influenced by the bands we listen
to but also from other life experiences such as authors, writers,
filmmakers, or whatever happens to trigger the want to write
When you are in the process of recording,
on what criteria do you chose a studio to work in?
We were lucky to have worked with producer Alwyn Walker in 2006.
We got to know how he operated and he got to know us as a band.
So when it came time to pick a studio to record Resolution
it was always going to be with Alwyn, who had then recently
taken over Westland Studios in Dublin. In an age where more
and more musicians are opting to self-produce, Alwyn embodies
what every musician hopes to find in their ideal producer: someone
who gets the absolute best performance out of them and has the
experience and ears to take their songs to the next level. Its
not so much the studio as it is the person in whom you entrust
your creative vision. Wed probably record with Alwyn if
he set up a studio in an old dingy warehouse.
What are your feelings on the album
now that youve had to time to live with it?
I am sure most bands know their own material inside out. With
Resolution, the material has been with us for some
time, as the process of recording the album stretched over a
number of years due to some line-up issues. So, you could say
we have lived with it for much longer than people
might think. Of course, we are delighted with how the album
turned out and could never have imagined that it would be downloaded
over 15,000 times in its first 45 days of release. In the grand
scheme of things, those numbers are pretty insignificant but
for a niche band such as ourselves, with no record label, its
a heartening result.
you have an album to promote how do you know what people to
work with? How do you find the right kind of people?
Finding the right kind of people typically involves
locating individuals who are good at what they do, have a solid
track record, and who usually charge a fee for their service
(theres no such thing as a free lunch, as the saying goes).
When we toured across Canada in 2009 we came in contact with
Jon Asher from Asher Media Relations. His agency assisted us
greatly in promoting the tour and did a great job overall. Since
then weve wanted to work with them again to help with
the PR for Resolution and its been such a
necessary stepping stone; self-promotion only takes you so far.
We also worked with another PR company in England to help assist
with the UK market. At the end of the day, finding the right
people involves a process of trial and error and not settling
We live in an age that is less and
less depending on personal interaction and more on anonymity.
What are your feelings on downloading and digital file-sharing?
Downloading and file-sharing is rampant and wont stop
anytime soon. Theres no getting around this, so weve
accepted the reality. Theres lots of artists and bands
out there who oppose file-sharing and I empathise with many
of their arguments but its not going to actually change
the behaviour in many people. They might as well be pontificating
about how contraception is morally evil and will be the downfall
of society. I suppose for new bands like ourselves the question
is: would you prefer a fan base of a reputable number or boxes
of CDs sitting in your garage gathering dust? And anyways, whether
youre an unsigned band or a household name, everyone
gets downloaded. People who download dont really discriminate
in that regard. Taking all this on board, we chose to release
Resolution for free download from our website while
offering the option to buy two limited edition versions, one
of which features a 60-page art book. This way, our music is
much more accessible and can get into the hands of more people,
while still allowing people to buy a hardcopy or make a donation
to fund future recordings.
How important are social media really
in getting a bands name known?
I think it can work great for some bands, depending on the music
style and genre. Any website that allows ease of access to bands
worldwide can only be a good thing. Weve been fortunate
enough to have lots of people recommend us to others via their
Twitter and Facebook accounts, so its just an extension
of word of mouth, only now it can extend right across the globe.
When you write songs how much focus
do you put on things like lyrics and titles? Is it important
to you that things match, that things make sense?
Yes, we do care very much about what we write. While most of
the topics we focus on are probably not going to be unique,
they are some of the issues we think are grounds for consciousness
raising and personal reflection. Were all searching for
meaning and making observations about our world so our music
is just an expansion of that process. Some of the subject matters
we look at on Resolution include mental health,
evolution, the rising tide of narcissism, impact bias, mortality,
group conformity, self-deception and lucid dreaming.
What kind of future do you envision?
I dont foresee Chosen ever becoming the next big thing
or ascending to even the middle tier of the metal music scene,
despite some of the very encouraging reviews and praise we have
received to date. It would be nice to be able to make a little
more money playing this kind of music, at least to the point
where we break even, but we accept that this may not be possible.
People have lots of things competing for their entertainment
spending money and not everyone will give something back,
especially when you look at how many charities there are which
struggle to raise much needed funds, and thats concerning
peoples wellbeing and lives, never mind a metal band playing
for their own self-expression. My own hope for the future is
that there will always be an audience for the kind of metal
music we are interested in writing (as were not going
to change our style to suit mass appeal) and that we live long
enough to put out a few more albums before we both shuffle off
this mortal coil.
the readers that may not have heard of you, please tell us who
you are, where youre
from, and what your respective instruments are in the band.
Chosen is a two-piece metal band from Ireland, consisting of myself,
Paul Shields, on vocals and guitar and David McCann on drums and
How did the band form?
David and I met as teenagers and played in a couple of bands together
before going on to form Chosen. Essentially, like most bands,
we put up posters looking for other musicians and the band line-up
came about after a few years of searching.
mean anything special to you?
No, our band name doesnt have any special meaning for us.
We just thought it was a really great name for a band.
My first thought when hearing that you
guys were an Irish metal band was Holy
shit, that actually exists?
Here in the United States, Irish metal isnt
something you hear about every day, so could you tell us what
elements your music possesses and what you sound like?
Honestly, I dont think our music has much of an Irish
identity to it. We take influence from mostly American and European
bands. I would be very surprised if people were able to identify
us from just hearing the music alone. As for what kind of metal
we play, our music is a fusion of extreme metal elements, crushing
heaviness and melody.
You guys have been through a lot as
a band with not having a stable line-up, so what made you stay
together and continue on as a duo instead of just calling it quits
or trying to find other reliable members?
What made us stay together was that David and I have a long history
of making music with one another and we both formed this band
as well. At one point we did in fact call it a day because of
continuous line-up troubles but we were determined to release
all the songs we had written over the years and soldiered on despite
all the set-backs. I think thats what led to us becoming
a two-piece band. We couldnt find a stable line-up so we
just committed to making music ourselves in some shape or form.
the writing process suffered any from becoming a duo rather than
a full band?
No. If anything, it has given us much more freedom to explore
all kinds of new and exciting vistas that may not have been possible
when there were four and five opinions to take into account. We
both work very well together and are on the same wavelength so
becoming a duo has been quite a liberating experience and enabled
us to write music that is more representative of us as a band.
You were in Vancouver for a year, what
was that like?
Extremely positive as a whole. What brought us to Canada was not
being able to find a suitable vocalist in Ireland at the time
and so we started to look at moving to another country to pursue
music as well as seeing it as an opportunity to experience life
in another part of the world. We have many fond memories of our
time in Vancouver and it is something that we will never ever
gained worldwide recognition for your music and its
definitely well-earned, but did you ever think that people all
over the world would listen to what youve
I suppose with the internet being the new medium of promotion
we were hopeful that our music would spread across the globe and
reach lots of people. What we could not have anticipated was how
overwhelmingly positive the reactions to the music have been.
Our debut album Resolution was downloaded just over 9,000 times
from our website within the first fortnight of its release, something
we never really expected at all. So for a niche band such as ourselves,
were extremely humbled by the interest in our music.
If you werent
a musician, what would you be doing with your life?
Being a musician is just one aspect of my life really, so if I
wasnt playing music I would still be engaged in all the
other different activities I get up to. In saying that, playing
music is something I have done for the last seventeen years so
its hard to speculate what else I might have done had I
never picked up the guitar.
Where is your favorite place to play
I have travelled a bit across central Europe, the UK and North
America. I really enjoyed my stay in Vancouver but Dublin, Ireland
is where I feel at home.
your preferred guitar and what does your current setup consist
On Resolution I used two of my guitars, the Schecter C7 Black
Jack and the Jackson DXMG. I am fond of both guitars and I find
that the Seymour Duncan pick ups really scream out of them. Amp
wise, I am using the Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier and the Orange
Tiny Terror. Im not a fan of too many guitar effects so
the pedals I use are the Boss DD5 for some lead work and the Ibanez
If you could set up a tour with any bands,
who would they be?
I would love to play alongside Gojira or Cynic, partly because
we take influence from them but also because they both have very
strong followings and such a tour would be great exposure for
Although you guys just released a new
album, are there any plans for a new EP or album in the works
Since the release of Resolution we have begun working on new material
for the second album but it will be some time before the material
is completed and gets recorded and subsequently released.
Any advice for fans of your music or
for upcoming artists in general about making it in the music industry?
To be perfectly frank, I think there is an overemphasis on this
whole making it business. We dont make a whole
lot of money playing this kind of music but thats not our
primary goal. Yes, its nice to get something back, in order
to break even, but we will continue to create this music whether
people pay us to do so our not, as its a hobby and something
we love doing. My only real nugget of advice for upcoming bands
is not to look to the music industry as your ticket to solving
your problems in life. Some people want an escape from their ordinary
or difficult lives and see the music industry as their ticket
to stardom and freedom. But, ironically, what many people who
have been lucky enough to become successful and famous say, is
that in becoming a music icon they only swapped one set of pressures
and constraints for another. Essentially, fame cant fix
what may be going wrong in your life and at the end of the day,
it is a lottery. So dont throw your life away in the pursuit
of a career in music, the same way that you wouldnt spend
all of your money and time buying lottery tickets. If you make
music that you enjoy and other people enjoy but you never
get to make a living doing it, its not the end of the world.
congratulations on the completion of Resolution. How do you feel
about the album now that it is done and about to be released?
David McCann: It feels fanatastic just be able
to release what we have been working on for several years. The
entire recording process was fraught with various delays and set-backs,
so were very satisfied and excited about the final product
getting to see the light of day.
What can the metalheads around the world
expect from Resolution?
Paul Shields: Resolution captures the very best material we
have written to date. It is a representation of everything we
both worked very hard on. Were quite proud of this album
and we hope that others will appreciate the effort that was put
in to its creation.
I find that Resolution is difficult to
pigeonhole genre-wise. How would you describe your style of music
in your own words?
David McCann: We are not huge fans of pigeonholing music but
people sometimes need to categorise different things in order
to try and identify it or for the purposes of making comparisons.
Our style of music has been labelled almost everything from death
metal to extreme power metal. In our own words, we just refer
to it as being a fusion of extreme metal elements with crushing
What was the writing process like for
Paul Shields: Overall, it was an enjoyable process. The songs
were written over the course of a few years with some being composed
in Ireland and others during the time we lived in Canada. We had
no specific formula for writing the songs. Most times a particular
set of ideas would emerge from a collage of guitar riffs that
were then tweaked, arranged and turned into a song. The majority
of the songs were composed in the bandroom. However, the song
The Narcissism Epidemic was one that I put together
while at work in Vancouver. I spent the day humming guitar melodies
into my phones voice recorder at the office and then played
it back on the guitar that evening after work. Inspiration can
How about the recording process?
David McCann: Initially, we began recording the drums at Komodo
Studios in Northern Ireland with producer Alwyn Walker. The guitars
were also tracked there too. That took about a month. A bit of
time then passed and Alwyn ended up taking over Westland Studios
in Dublin as the studio manager. So when it came time for us to
complete the record, with bass guitar and vocals, this took place
at Westland Studios. It worked out really well in our favour as
we got the opportunity to re-amp the guitars and to mix the album
on the studios legendary SSL console. Having collaborated
with Alwyn in the past we had already established a good working
relationship with him. Were big fans of his producing and
it was great to get his input throughout the recording process,
considering that Chosen is a two-member band. Were very
pleased with the production value that was achieved as we wanted
to stay clear of the same plastic drum sounds and falseness that
plagues a lot of current metal releases.
there any specific track on the album that you are particularly
proud of, and, if so, why?
Shields: Defective Prospection is a track that gives
the best representation of Chosen at this moment in time. I think
it gives the listener an idea of what we are all about (even though
it has some guest vocals from Jackie McNally). The song was one
of the last few songs we wrote for the album and showcases some
nice rhythms and heavy passages but also displays the melodic
side to the band, especially at the end where we layered tons
of clean vocals.
Engines of Belief has been
available for free download and streaming for some time. What
is the story behind this track?
David McCann: Its about the human species; in particular,
the human brain. Our brains are like belief engines that make
connections which appear to make sense to us but are often far
from being accurate. Anecdotal thinking is something that comes
naturally to humans, whereas critical thinking requires training
and self-determination to look beyond the seemingly obvious for
a more likely explanation. Currently, we live in world in which
superstition, the belief in magic, witches, daemons, ghosts and
other similar delusions can be found in every culture, despite
the fact that we have been endowed with one of the most complex
and sophisticated organs in the known world (the brain). In a
cruel twist of irony, we have the capacity to send people to the
moon and explore space as well a number of other scientifically-minded
endeavours, yet we are more capable than any other species at
fooling ourselves with false beliefs, self-deception and wishful
thinking, based on a need to control the course of our lives.
The music on Resolution strikes me as
being quite eclectic but at the same time very focused.
Which other bands served as your main sources of inspiration for
Paul Shields: We have always been huge admirers of Death, Meshuggah,
Nevermore and more recently Cynic and Gojira. Lyrically speaking,
our influences come from many different authors and the late,
great Chuck Schuldiner.
How did you manage to strike the balance
between eclecticism and the focus that characterises the album?
Paul Shields: There are a lot of bands out there that would
be way more technically proficient than us. I marry technicality
to eclecticism and songwriting to focus. Songwriting is very important
in order to keep the listener interested. I believe we did a good
job with keeping a healthy balance between the two.
there any specific significance to the title of the album?
David McCann: Yes, it has been a long and bumpy road in getting
this album written and recorded, what with past line-up changes
and so forth. The title Resolution is quite personal for the both
of us, in the sense that it represents our determination and sheer
resolve to not give up on what we initially set out to do when
we formed the band.
The cover artwork is a bit untraditional
for an extreme metal release. What is the story behind the cover
Paul Shields: A great friend of ours, Fiaz Farrelly, took care
of all the artwork and illustrations that will accompany this
release. Basically, we just wanted something different to be the
face of the album. Similar to the way some people like categorising
music, we didnt want them categorising the artwork so easily.
When we both saw the cover we knew we had a winner. The cover
image also ties in nicely with the album title. The two grassy
stalks twisting in the wind can be interpreted as being representative
of the both of us overcoming all the challenges and set-backs
in the last number of years and remaining resolute.
Turning to Chosen the band, it seems
that you have had a turbulent history with relocations back and
forth between Ireland and Canada. For those of our readers who
are not familiar with Chosen, what is the history of the band?
David McCann: As teenagers, Paul and I played in a few different
bands before going on to form Chosen. By 2005 we had a full line-up
and over the following three years, released a number of independent
EPs, gigged regularly around Ireland and went through a few member
changes towards the end. In 2008, we then relocated to Vancouver,
Canada in order to pursue playing music abroad with a new line-up
but also because it was an opportunity to live in another part
of the world and experience a new way of life. Travel can be a
great way to get out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons.
During our time in Canada we wrote some of the songs for Resolution,
played a tribute gig to Death, and finished off our twelve month
stay by touring the country. However, when we got back to Ireland,
ready to record our debut album, half the band quit and returned
to Canada, citing personal reasons. Paul and I then took some
time off but it wasnt too long before we were back in the
saddle, so to speak, recording our parts for Resolution. It did
take a while though, and we made a few attempts to put together
another line-up but in the end it didnt go as planned. Becoming
a two-piece band is what enabled us to complete the record the
way we wanted to and, in hindsight, is something we probably should
have done a long time ago.
As a two-person band, what are the advantages
and disadvantages when recording an album like Resolution in comparison
with a four- or five-person band?
Paul Shields: Its much easier working on ideas because
there are just two opinions to take into account. The only disadvantage
is that I now have three roles to fulfil, the vocals (clean and
heavy), guitars and then bass, and so I have to spend a lot of
time practising for all three, whereas in the past I could just
focus on my guitar playing. That said; Im much happier now
knowing that its just the two of us working on ideas, which
makes the songwriting process go much smoother and less filtered
down by multiple opinions.
about writing material, is that easier or harder for a two-person
David McCann: Things go much smoother, as Paul says. When
it came to writing the lyrics and vocal melodies it took us no
time at all because we work very well together and, again, did
not have to consult with other members in order to run things
Do you plan to keep Chosen a duo or are
you going to expand into a trio, quartet or quintet?
David McCann: For the time being it is going to be just the
two of us, as to invite other members into this partnership could
see history repeating itself, and weve gone through more
than enough line-up changes for one bands lifetime.
Are you going to do any live shows in
support of the album? If yes, where can Chosen be experienced
live and are you going to hire some additional live musicians?
David McCann: We are currently exploring our options in seeing
what kind of live show we could pull off which would do our songs
justice. Whether this involves going the route of session musicians
or perhaps running some of our own recorded parts (bass, rhythm
guitars) through a multi-track device, allowing us to recreate
the album with only the two of us, is something we are undecided
on at the moment. We will just have to wait and see.
the album comes out, which formats will it be available in, and
where can it be acquired?
Shields: The album will be available for free download from our
website. In addition, there will be two limited edition hardcopy
versions for sale. The Deluxe Special Edition (2CD) features the
album as well as a separate disc containing a mixture of unreleased
songs from the album sessions, rough mixes and some drum and bass
tracks. The Collectors Edition (Art Book & 2CD) is a
spawn of the Deluxe Special Edition, which comes with a full colour
softcover book, bundled with extensive liner notes, lyrical themes
and illustrations for each song, rare photos, studio diaries,
and more, all exhibited with the expanded artwork of Fiaz Farrelly.
Where can people go for more information
Paul Shields: Our website is the hub of our internet presence
and has links to our various social media profiles too (Facebook,
Youtube, Soundcloud, Twitter, Bandcamp, etc.).
again, congratulations on an awesome metal album, and best of
luck in the future.
Shields: Thanks for your time and were glad you enjoy the
McCann: Likewise, thank you very much.
guys, your new album Resolution is about to be released,
how long have you been working on it?
Paul Shields: Weve been working on Resolution for a few
years, on and off. Its a culmination of songs that were
written in Ireland as well as in Vancouver, Canada. When we decided
to record our debut album as a two-piece, we spent a lot of time
in our rehearsal space working on the vocal arrangements and structures
for the songs.
you tell Rock n Reel readers what was the idea behind the name
of the album and the themes the lyrics take?
Paul Shields: Well, weve had a turbulent time in putting
this record together, what with line-up changes and even band
break-ups. For us, the word resolution means a resolve or determination
and is a fitting representation of everything we have gone through
in bringing the music on this album to fruition. Lyrically, the
songs deal with subject matters such as mental health, superstition,
self-deception, the rising tide of narcissism, evolution, lucid
dreams, life, death; a whole mix of themes really.
a duo, can you tell us a little bit about how the writing process
works for you guys?
David McCann: Since slimming down to a two-piece band, it has
been great. In the past, we had many different line-ups which
at one point included five members. We find that being a two-piece
outfit allows us more control over the writing process, and with
fewer opinions involved we tend to write music that is representative
of just the both of us.
riffs on Resolution
are very groove orientated. Can you tell us what bands influenced
the material on the album?
David McCann: We take influence from all aspects of life as well
as other musicians and bands. Some of our main influences would
be Death, Nevermore, Cynic and more recently Gojira.
there any possibility of you adding some more members to Chosen
and going on tour?
Paul Shields: At the moment all our time and focus is on getting
this album the promotion it deserves and we have enlisted the
help of two publicists to assist us in this endeavour. But playing
live is something that we are also working on in the background.
However, its hard to say if this will involve adding any
additional members to the fold. Time will tell.
new albums (apart from your own) that your looking forward to
Paul Shields: We are both very much looking forward to hearing
the new Cynic album, if it does get released this year. Their
last few offerings have being amazing and they always seem to
add a little more to each of their efforts.
David McCann: Yeah, absolutely. Madder Mortem are another band
whose new album will, hopefully, be out this year too.
What was your first album bought, does it have any bearing on
you being a musician and what do you think of said album today?
Paul Shields: The first album I owned was Appetite for Destruction
by Guns N Roses. That album (along with a select few others) at
the time played a massive part for me wanting to play guitar and
sing. It was a stepping stone for me to explore and listen to
other music. I still rate the album today and it would get a spin
every now and again.
David McCann: If I remember correctly, the first album I owned
was Bad by Michael Jackson. Whatever about the mans
personal life, I always found his first few albums absolutely
brilliant and given that I grew up as a child mimicking the dance
moves I think its fair to say it had some bearing on me
eventually becoming a musician. I cant say that I have played
the album recently but I can certainly state that I think it has
aged extremely well considering what passes for pop music these
Our website is all about Punk, Rock &
Metal but we are also interested in movies. What have you seen
recently that you loved and are there any movies that you have
seen recently that you loathed?
David McCann: The latest film of interest that I watched was Winters
Bone, which tells the story of a teenage girl, who looks
after her younger siblings and mentally ill mother in their family
home which becomes in danger of repossession when her father,
a meth cook, skips bail and cannot be found.
Paul Shields: I went to see Django Unchained recently.
Being a fan of Quentin Tarantino I expected a bit more. This is
a guy who directed Pulp Fiction so my expectations for Django
Unchained were high and I dont think he fully delivered
with it. Although I thought Christoph Waltz was fantastic in it.
What would be your desert island movie
David McCann: I could probably take the film Terminator
2 with me to a desert island, along with the album Human
Paul Shields: Id take Ghostbusters. Bill Murrays
humour would keep me going. Album wise I could live with Dreaming
Neon Black by Nevermore.
going on with the band right now? What are you currently working
Paul Shields: Right now, we are preparing for the global release
of our debut album, Resolution, which will be freely available
for download from our website. Aside from that, given that the
album has been recorded and mixed for some time, we are also working
on new material as well as exploring our options in being able
to bring some kind of live show to audiences in the near future.
This is a bit more challenging, however, considering were
a two-piece band.
People become musicians for a wide variety
of reasons. What are the factors that originally inspired you
to play music? Are you playing for the same reasons today as you
were when you started? Why or why not?
David McCann: I think both of us took up our respective instruments
out of a desire to express ourselves but also because of the perceived
attraction of being a musician. As teenagers, we grew up listening
to inspirational artists and rock stars and quickly noticed the
status afforded to such cultural icons. So that would have been
a significant factor in us choosing to play music and not chess
for example (which, by the way, is a game both of us enjoy). But
along the way, we were also playing music in the hope that we
might make it big someday and get to become the rock stars of
our generation, something that Im sure most young adolescents
dream of even if they think their chances are slim. However, these
are not the same reasons we continue to play music today. Were
long past the blind ambition of chasing record labels, fame, money
or trying to appear attractive to the opposite sex. There comes
a certain level of maturing after so many years of doing this;
the realisation that ones worth does not have to be validated
by professionals in the music industry or dependent on conspicuous
success. I suppose the actions of many people are often motivated
by wanting to leave their mark on the world and were certainly
no different in that regard. But our reasons for playing music
stem from the intrinsic enjoyment of the activity, and knowing
that its something were good at doing. Its also
something we only have a limited amount of time to do, as were
not going to live forever. So, in that sense, we value it even
more because we can only keep doing this for a finite number of
years before the big sleep.
Whether by using genres and styles or
simply adjectives that let people know what your band is all about,
please describe your music in your own words. In addition, can
you recall a description someone has given about your music that
is the most accurate?
Paul Shields: We incorporate so many different styles and flavours
that the best description we have come up with is that of our
music being a fusion of extreme metal elements with crushing heaviness.
I cant really recall many descriptions of our music that
I feel are accurate but, then, I do appreciate that our music
may not be too easy to classify. People have labelled us death
metal, melodic death metal, even power death metal. Were
fine with other peoples labels, as they are only subjective
categorisations which do have their uses.
Discuss one or more things about your
music that distinguishes you from other bands. Please explain
what you like about this aspect of the music and why you believe
these differences make your band more interesting to listeners.
Paul Shields: I think our music displays ample amounts of technical
ability but, at the same time, not gushing with over-indulgent
playing either. A distinctive and memorable melody will always
be what we strive to achieve in our music. Were not the
best players in the world but, then, were not trying to
be the most brutal or the sickest band
as if its a competitive sport. I feel we have achieved a
nice balance in regard to musicianship and melody. Also, we have
endeavoured to harness a rich sound which stands apart from this
whole contemporary obsession with homogenous, plastic instrumentation
currently dominating the metal market. Its a personal preference,
I know, but I remember a time not so long ago when heavy metal
records each had their own sonic identity. Perhaps, its
because there are more people playing music these days, or that
sound engineers have to cut corners because of smaller budgets,
but it seems that more and more bands persist in emulating one
another to the point of using the exact same drum samples.
Fans love getting to know more about
things that inspire their favourite artists. What and who are
some of your influences? Please give them a few details about
why you like creating music and what things inspire you to make
David McCann: Musically, our biggest influences have been bands
such as Death, Nevermore, Meshuggah and, more recently, Cynic
and Gojira. However, that list is not exhaustive as we are exposed
to lots of different styles that do find their way into our music.
Lyrically speaking, I suppose we have taken influence from other
songwriters, especially Chuck Schuldiner, but from authors too.
Im an avid reader of non-fiction books and find subjects
such as psychology, evolutionary biology and other scientifically-minded
works quite fascinating and a rich avenue of inspiration.
songs do you feel best represents your sound? Why?
David McCann: Defective Prospection probably gives
a solid representation of what were all about, even though
it contains the guest vocals of Jackie McNally. But the song contains
most of the elements that we bring to our music: unrelenting drumming,
intricate guitar work, clean and heavy vocals, sound samples,
and a rich depth of melody strewn throughout. Its probably
one of my favourite songs on Resolution.
Paul Shields: I think all of our songs represent our sound to
an extent, but the likes of The Narcissism Epidemic
and Diminishment probably give the listener a well-rounded
sense of who we are or what were capable of, which, when
you think about it, is one of the initial things people are listening
for when they hear a new band. Theyre wondering how fast
or how heavy the music will be and the level of musicianship.
Those two songs will answer those questions.
Who is the person or people most responsible
for helping your band get to where it is today?
David McCann: Is it possible to say ourselves without coming across
as being arrogant? Well, I dont care if it seems that way,
Im not ashamed to say that it has been the perseverance
and determination of Paul and I that has made the release of our
debut album, Resolution, possible. Thats not to say our
ex-members havent played a vital role. Yet over the years
Paul and I have been behind so much this band has done. I mean,
we formed the band. Lots of other people have helped us out and
there are far too many names to list off here but, regardless,
the success of this band has been down to ourselves. I think the
people who know us personally, who have worked alongside us, would
has been the most difficult challenge the band has had to overcome?
How did you approach this barrier and what did you specifically
do to overcome it?
David McCann: I think one of the biggest challenges we have faced
is trying to find a stable line-up of members for the group. Bands
are like relationships and people have their own lives to lead
outside of the band. But it has been a huge challenge to find
people willing to lend their talent to this project for any length
of time. Things never seem to go as planned. Perhaps, we have
high expectations or maybe its just life that gets in the
way, as people only have so much spare time to devote to hobbies
these days and lots of other priorities. It just really felt like
we were running into dead ends all the time. So at the start of
2012 we made the decision to complete our debut album by ourselves,
just the two of us, with Paul undertaking the bass and vocal duties.
Back when the band was formed Paul was already a vocalist/guitarist
but he wanted to focus on his guitar playing more and let someone
else do vocals. Having him take up the mic again has been the
best thing weve ever done as it enabled us to release this
album exactly the way we want.
Every person is in some way, a product
of his or her environment. How have the things you deal with on
a day-to-day basis affected your music? Would you say the music
in your home area has influenced your group? Please explain why
or why not.
Paul Shields: I cant really say that our day-to-day experiences
have affected our music significantly. Granted, we are a product
of our environment and I suppose there is an underlying influence
there but I reckon it manifests itself in a manner that is outside
of my conscious awareness. Inspiration can strike at any time,
even sitting in the office at work and not a guitar in sight!
The music in our home area hasnt really had much influence
on us. Most of the bands we take influence from are American or
from mainland Europe. However, I suppose the genre of groups from
our area has played a part in us wanting to distinguish ourselves
and stand out a little better. Then again, we always did compare
ourselves to international bands more so and not with those who
resided in the locality. Its a big world after all.
Have you opened for any major acts or
toured? What is the first performance that pops into your head
when thinking about your gigs?
Paul Shields: We did a Canadian tour in the summer of 2009,
which was an eye-opening experience, to say the least. Weve
played so many gigs now, the first performance I think about has
nothing got to do with our own music per se but, rather, it was
the time we played a tribute gig for the late Chuck Schuldiner
in Vancouver, in which we performed Deaths Symbolic album
from start to finish. It was such a memorable gig that it continues
to stick out in my mind to this day.
What can your fans expect from your live
performances? What particular aspect of your concerts brings in
crowds? Please give us some examples.
David McCann: If and when we do take to a stage, I think we
will focus more of our energies on some kind of visual representation,
maybe an overhead projector or something. I reckon bands forget
that as well as listening to a live act for an hour, the audience
is also watching them too, so any kind of visual aid is always
a good thing, like with lights and dry ice machines, etc. But
because there are only two of us, we are currently exploring ways
of being able to represent our full sound in a live setting. Time
will tell what kind of show we can recreate.
Chemistry within a band is very important.
When the band originally formed, what was it about playing with
the other musicians that impressed you the most? What is it about
the chemistry between the members that makes the band unique?
David McCann: Well, of course, chemistry between members is always
going to determine what sort of output comes forth. I think when
we first started playing we were really excited about being able
to create such music together. Finding metal musicians in Ireland
can be hard enough, so we valued the experience of being able
to co-create with other like-minded people. We were also competent
musicians for our ages back then and so there was a sense of professionalism
and pride in all that we did. We took great strength from one
another in that we had all earned our place in the group based
on merit, not because we happened to be friends already or because
there was no one else to choose from.
Thank you for taking the time to speak
with us about your music. Whats
the next step for the band? Do you have a special event like a
concert, tour or release coming up that youd
like to discuss? Please conclude by giving the fans a few parting
Paul Shields: Thank you for your time and I hope your readers
have gleaned some sense of what were about. The plan now
is to see our debut album Resolution released and hopefully let
it circulate around the internet. It will be out at the end of
March and will be available for free download. Many people already
know of us and are anticipating this release. But they are vastly
outnumbered by those who have never heard of us. Our potential
fans are out there and with a little luck our music will find
its way to them in one way or another. Were just grateful
to have this opportunity to be able to release an album to the
world that doesnt involve having to go through a record
company. To think that, years ago the only way to really get heard
outside of your country was through the radio and having your
CD in the record store makes the current musical landscape seem
like a sea of possibilities in contrast.
I get a backstory on the band?
Paul and I met as teenagers and played in a couple of bands before
going on to form Chosen. Over the course of a few years, we recorded
a number of independent demos and went through some line-up changes,
as do many bands. It was around the end of 2007 that we made the
decision to relocate to Canada, which was a great experience for
us but one that ended in the band breaking up soon after our Canada-wide
tour. Paul and I then took some time off from music but decided
to reform the band some time later to complete what we had set
out to do from the formation of the band. Our debut album Resolution
is the manifestation of our firm resolve and commitment to this
band and not letting all the songs we wrote over the years be
consigned to the depths of memories because of line-up issues.
While two-piece bands are rare in metal, were confident
that we have done the songs justice through our multi-instrumental
lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you
want to send?
For this album we wrote about a number of
social issues and other topics that were on our minds but without
being overly preachy. While we didnt
have too strict a conceptual direction, we did focus on various
aspects of contemporary life. Some of the subject matters include
the rising tide of narcissism, superstitious thinking, mental
health, evolution and instinctual behaviour, self-deception, as
well as some psychological theories such as group conformity and
have the gigs you guys been doing?
Our last gig was on the 23rd of May 2009
in Canada. We havent
played a gig since then but for now were just focussed on
getting this album some decent exposure. After all, nobody is
going to turn up to a gig unless they know about us first.
equipment do you guys use?
We use a variety of the following brands,
not endorsed or anything: Pearl, Zildjian, Axis, Remo, Vic Firth,
Jackson, Schecter, Laney, Mesa.
bands have influenced your band and its sound?
Death, Nevermore, Meshuggah, Gojira and
Cynic. While we might not sound like a perfect amalgamation of
those bands, I think in parts of our music one can hear a strong
similarity to each of those groups.
you remember your first show and what was it like?
22nd of July 2005, in Dublin. We played
that gig in between a Tool cover band and an indie rock/metal
band. What I can remember most is how unbearably hot the venue
was. There were condensation droplets falling from the ceiling!
made you guys decide to form a band?
Like most musicians, it was a love of music
and wanting to express our creative talents. I suppose there was
also the innate motivation for wanting to make something of ourselves,
looking for social approval, etc. But I think thats
something most teenagers have in common with one another. Were
all looking to make our mark on this world.
What is your opinion on sites posting your guys material and other
If you mean spreading
the word through fan-based promotion and so forth, then
thats great. If you mean file-sharing, thats
also something which we have no hard feelings about. The reason
being, the internet has altered how people acquire content. You
cant reverse that kind of sociological change. Its
just how things are these days. Weve made peace with the
fact that people are going to download content and not spend any
money on it. At the end of the day, its still great exposure
for a band and Ill hazard a guess and say that most artists
would rather an audience of some sort than no audience whatsoever.
Is there any bands that you guys enjoyed playing with more than
Of course, but there are too many such bands
to list here. Weve
had very few bad experiences playing alongside other bands.
How do you guys feel about the classifications in metal (like
deathcore, metalcore and other subgenres and how some get a negative
People often classify music because without
some semblance of classification it could be difficult to identify,
organise and structure things. When it comes to subgenres getting
a bad rep, you have to look at where the negative rep is coming
from. Chances are its
from another subgenre fan base who have distinguished themselves
as different, maybe even superior, and
this is their way of espousing a sense of distinction. Its
human nature. Besides, its entirely possible that many of
the deathcore and metalcore fans look down upon other styles of
music like Country, Pop or Trance music. Were all judgmental
creatures of some sort.
What song do you enjoy playing the most?
Paradigm always gets my heart racing. Although, that might have
more to do with the amount of double bass drumming which runs
throughout most of the song.
not doing things with the band, what can you guys be seen doing?
Working; studying for college. I also enjoy
painting miniatures (Games Workshop) as well as indulging in some
Your biggest band moment?
Had you asked me this a few years ago I
would have said relocating to Canada for twelve months, or pulling
off our Death tribute gig (in which we covered the entire Symbolic
album). But, now, the release of our debut album is the biggest
moment for the band to date. Its
been such a long time coming!
What is your opinion on the current state of metal?
quite enthusiastic about where metal is right now. Considering
it has only been around since the late 60s and 70s, metal has
gone through some seismic changes. No one really knows where its
headed, although predictions about what the next big thing will
be can be found on almost every message board and online blog.
My only criticism of the current state of metal is that there
are a lot of bands employing the exact same sound, even down to
the same kick drum sample. So, what you find is that many bands
identities get lost underneath the same sound which can be easily
identified in countless other groups. Experimentation and not
being afraid to do something a little different should be the
focus, in my humble opinion.
How did you guys come up with your band name?
Back when we were a five-piece band, we
ourselves in a room one evening with the condition that
no one was going home that night until we could decide on a name.
It took us about four hours to finally decide on Chosen but when
theres a will, theres a way.