Shattered Sun – Anger as CatharsisSunday, 23rd July 2017
Dead Rhetoric: Coming out and playing with bands like Testament, Exodus, Soulfly, and big festivals like the final Mayhem Fest you had to work to win over the crowds. Do you think it’s a bit easier for the band now, or is it ingrained into your mentality to go out there with that push?
Leal: It does [seem easier], but it has never wavered, the fact that we are just a better band with a chip on our shoulder. I don’t know why, but this band just operates better when we feel like everyone is against us. Take it from the Testament and Exodus tour – the hate that we got from the thrash community, but every single night you have that running through your head. You are just like, “You know what, I’m going to crush this beer right now and I’m going to go out and ram it down these people’s throats.” Every night, that attitude just worked. So it carries on and carries on…it’s almost like we are pissed off for nothing now [laughs], but it just works. It helps motivate the band. We are a better band when we are motivated and we feel like there are people telling us that we can’t, and it’s a just a good formula for us [laughs].
Dead Rhetoric: You fall under the heavier end of the Warped Tour line-up. What’s your mindset going in?
Leal: I kind of view us as festival veterans already…we got to do Mayhem Festival and we learned a lot of tricks from some of the big dogs out there. We have been sitting on this new music for two years now, and I think we are just ready to unleash. Our bodies are in really great shape, we have been rehearsing like crazy, so really, Warped Tour is going to be the first time that people see us as the new Shattered Sun, with new music, and I think they are going to be blown away. We are definitely going in with that mindset. Like we just talked about, we are going to ram it down these kids’ throats – this is thrash, this is heavy, and we are bringing it to Warped Tour, Texas-style. We are ready to get out there and get to it.
Dead Rhetoric: Anything else, outside of that, you are looking forward to? How long has it been since you’ve been on tour?
Leal: The last tour we did was with Scar Symmetry. We’ve been off the road for about a year, just writing and recording this record. Mainly what I’m most excited for about Warped, is one…it is Warped Tour so there is a lot of nostalgia there. I’ve gone to several Warped Tours in my day. I know what it’s like to be the 16 year old kid who is going to see his favorite band and begging this old dude in the crowd to buy him a beer [laughs]. So I’m excited to take it to these kids, who are in the same shoes that I was in ten years ago. I’m just excited to be a part of that. Another thing; I’m going to be doing some barbecuing after hours, and I’m definitely going to be having some parties and make friends with a bunch of bands. We have a bunch of friends on the road, and we are looking forward to mixing it in with everybody. Letting everyone know that we are back on the scene and ready to do this.
Dead Rhetoric: So does the barbecuing thing help to put you at ease when you are out on the road?
Leal: Yeah man! It’s kind of like my second thing. My wife and I have a food truck – that’s what we do. Barbecuing and stuff like that. It’s kind of my second passion. I’ve noticed that when we are out on tour, it’s kind of tense for the first few days. Everyone is kind of feeling each other out. What I’ve noticed, is that everyone gets cool when it gets too late. Everyone is cool with each other on the last two weeks of the tour, and then it’s like, “Oh, this is already ending! We should have been doing this from day one!” I’ve learned that one way to break that tension is to light up a barbecue pit and throw some meat on it. It doesn’t even have to be good – people just want to hang out. It’s got that family vibe to it. I think people are attracted to that.
Dead Rhetoric: It does seem like you guys have that family vibe – you all go back to being teenagers together in a band…
Leal: We’ve been at it for quite some time. This is kind of the way I see it – I know our music is angry and our music is talking about politics and religion and death…that doesn’t mean I want to bring that to the show. That was my time to vent and let it out. I hope it connects with some people, I hope it helps some people, but if you are going to come see us, and you are going to come to a Shattered Sun show – you definitely won’t hear me preaching about those things. I’m there to have a good time, and drink some beers with the fans and rock out. I just want everyone to have a good time. That’s what we are about.
Dead Rhetoric: So that positive view from the first album still carries over in that regard…
Leal: Oh yeah – I just want to reiterate…when I was writing this record, I was going through a lot of different things. Whether it was losing friendships, losing family members and friends, people dying…it was a very tumultuous year and a half for me, and most of the members of the band. I think it’s just how we felt. I had this pissed off vibe to the point where I was like, “I don’t want to be positive on this record. I don’t want to talk about the better tomorrow because I don’t see the better tomorrow in front of me.” Now that I’ve let it out, I don’t view it that way anymore.
Dead Rhetoric: Definitely – sometimes you have to push that out so that you can move on.
Leal: It’s definitely helped me move on…I owe a lot of that to Mark Lewis. I was going through a lot of things, and I know a lot of us were too. He was able to help us cope with that, and help us channel it. I’ve never met anyone able to do that. It was definitely an honor working with him. He’s had a huge impact on this record.
Dead Rhetoric: The one thing too, is that if it’s cathartic for you, it’s going to be cathartic for a lot of people out there that hear the album as well.
Leal: Yeah man! I just had that darkness in me and wanted to get it out. I’m not that guy, I’m really not. I’m sure you can tell just by talking with me. I’m not a dark person. I just went somewhere that I was told I couldn’t go, and I went there…and I went full force! Obviously, as you can tell on the record. I just hope it connects with people.
Dead Rhetoric: You have Warped Tour approaching, any plans beyond that right now?
Leal: We are currently trying to lock up some big tours right now. We are trying to go across the pond…go to Europe this year. We are about to put out a new music video as well [“Hollow Chains” – see below]. We are pretty excited.
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