Interview with Paul Shields (May 2013) - Battle Helm Magazine
For those that don’t know you guys that well could you please introduce yourself?
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 isn’t a large country. What is it like to be stuck on an island?
Ireland isn’t 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 we’d be living a similar lifestyle no matter what part of the planet we lived on.

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 music.

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. It’s not so much the studio as it is the person in whom you entrust your creative vision. We’d probably record with Alwyn if he set up a studio in an old dingy warehouse.

What are your feelings on the album now that you’ve 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, it’s a heartening result.

When 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 (there’s 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 we’ve wanted to work with them again to help with the PR for ‘Resolution’ and it’s 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 for less.

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 won’t stop anytime soon. There’s no getting around this, so we’ve accepted the reality. There’s lots of artists and bands out there who oppose file-sharing and I empathise with many of their arguments but it’s 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 you’re an unsigned band or a household name, everyone gets downloaded. People who download don’t 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 band’s 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. We’ve been fortunate enough to have lots of people recommend us to others via their Twitter and Facebook accounts, so it’s 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. We’re 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 don’t 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 that’s concerning people’s 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 we’re 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.
Interview with Paul Shields (April 2013) - We Like It Heavy
For 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 percussion.

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.

Does Chosen mean anything special to you?
No, our band name doesn’t 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 don’t 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 that’s what led to us becoming a two-piece band. We couldn’t find a stable line-up so we just committed to making music ourselves in some shape or form.

Photo Credit: Fiaz FarrellyHas 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 forget.

Youve 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 created?
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, we’re 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 wasn’t 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 it’s hard to speculate what else I might have done had I never picked up the guitar.

Where is your favorite place to play live?
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.

Whats your preferred guitar and what does your current setup consist of?
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. I’m not a fan of too many guitar effects so the pedals I use are the Boss DD5 for some lead work and the Ibanez Tuberscreamer.

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 us.

Although you guys just released a new album, are there any plans for a new EP or album in the works yet?
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 don’t make a whole lot of money playing this kind of music but that’s not our primary goal. Yes, it’s 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 it’s 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 can’t fix what may be going wrong in your life and at the end of the day, it is a lottery. So don’t throw your life away in the pursuit of a career in music, the same way that you wouldn’t 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, it’s not the end of the world
Interview with David McCann and Paul Shields (March 2013) - Metal Music Archives
Firstly, 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 we’re 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. We’re 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 heaviness.

What was the writing process like for the album?
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 phone’s voice recorder at the office and then played it back on the guitar that evening after work. Inspiration can strike anywhere!

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 studio’s legendary SSL console. Having collaborated with Alwyn in the past we had already established a good working relationship with him. We’re 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. We’re 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.

Is there any specific track on the album that you are particularly proud of, and, if so, why?
Paul 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: It’s 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 Resolution?
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.
Photo Credit: Fiaz Farrelly
Is 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 artwork?
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 didn’t 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 wasn’t 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 didn’t 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: It’s 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; I’m much happier now knowing that it’s just the two of us working on ideas, which makes the songwriting process go much smoother and less filtered down by multiple opinions.

ow about writing material, is that easier or harder for a two-person act?
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 by them.

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 we’ve gone through more than enough line-up changes for one band’s 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.

When the album comes out, which formats will it be available in, and where can it be acquired?
Paul 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 Collector’s 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 on Chosen?
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.).

Once again, congratulations on an awesome metal album, and best of luck in the future.
Paul Shields: Thanks for your time and we’re glad you enjoy the album.

David McCann: Likewise, thank you very much.
Interview with David McCann and Paul Shields (March 2013) - Rock n Reel Reviews
Hi guys, your new album ‘Resolution’ is about to be released, how long have you been working on it?
Paul Shields: We’ve been working on Resolution for a few years, on and off. It’s 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.

Can 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, we’ve 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.

Being 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.

Photo Credit: Fiaz FarrellyThe 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.

Is 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, it’s hard to say if this will involve adding any additional members to the fold. Time will tell.

Any new albums (apart from your own) that your looking forward to this year?
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 man’s 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 it’s fair to say it had some bearing on me eventually becoming a musician. I can’t 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 days.

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 ‘Winter’s 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 don’t think he fully delivered with it. Although I thought Christoph Waltz was fantastic in it.

What would be your desert island movie & album?
David McCann: I could probably take the film ‘Terminator 2’ with me to a desert island, along with the album ‘Human’ by Death.

Paul Shields: I’d take ‘Ghostbusters’. Bill Murray’s humour would keep me going. Album wise I could live with ‘Dreaming Neon Black’ by Nevermore.
Interview with David McCann and Paul Shields (March 2013) - Louder Than Hell
Whats going on with the band right now? What are you currently working on?
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 we’re 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 I’m 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. We’re 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 one’s 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 we’re certainly no different in that regard. But our reasons for playing music stem from the intrinsic enjoyment of the activity, and knowing that it’s something we’re good at doing. It’s also something we only have a limited amount of time to do, as we’re 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 can’t 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. We’re 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. We’re not the best players in the world but, then, we’re not trying to be the most ‘brutal’ or the ‘sickest’ band as if it’s 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. It’s 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, it’s 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 it.
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. I’m 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.

What songs do you feel best represents your sound? Why?
David McCann: ‘Defective Prospection’ probably gives a solid representation of what we’re 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. It’s 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 we’re capable of, which, when you think about it, is one of the initial things people are listening for when they hear a new band. They’re 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 don’t care if it seems that way, I’m 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. That’s not to say our ex-members haven’t 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 probably agree.
Photo Credit: Fiaz Farrelly
What 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 it’s 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 we’ve 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 can’t 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 hasn’t 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. It’s 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. We’ve 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 Death’s 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 words.
Paul Shields: Thank you for your time and I hope your readers have gleaned some sense of what we’re 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. We’re just grateful to have this opportunity to be able to release an album to the world that doesn’t 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.
Interview with David McCann (February 2013) - The Core of Brutality
Can 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, we’re confident that we have done the songs justice through our multi-instrumental contributions.

What 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 didn
’t 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 impact bias.

How have the gigs you guys been doing?
Our last gig was on the 23rd of May 2009 in Canada. We haven
’t played a gig since then but for now we’re 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.

What equipment do you guys use?
We use a variety of the following brands, though we
’re not endorsed or anything: Pearl, Zildjian, Axis, Remo, Vic Firth, Jackson, Schecter, Laney, Mesa.

What 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.

Do 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!

What 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 that
’s something most teenagers have in common with one another. We’re all looking to make our mark on this world.

What is your opinion on sites posting your guys material and other bands material?

If you mean
‘spreading the word’ through fan-based promotion and so forth, then that’s great. If you mean ‘file-sharing’, that’s also something which we have no hard feelings about. The reason being, the internet has altered how people acquire content. You can’t reverse that kind of sociological change. It’s just how things are these days. We’ve 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, it’s still great exposure for a band and I’ll 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 the others?

Of course, but there are too many such bands to list here. We
’ve 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 rep)?

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 it
’s 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. It’s human nature. Besides, it’s entirely possible that many of the deathcore and metalcore fans look down upon other styles of music like Country, Pop or Trance music. We’re all judgmental creatures of some sort.

What song do you enjoy playing the most?

’s 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.

When 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 amateur photography.

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. It
’s been such a long time coming!

What is your opinion on the current state of metal?

’re 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 it’s 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
‘locked 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 there’s a will, there’s a way.
All of the music on this website has been licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution/Non-Commercial/Share Alike 3.0 License