FeaturesShattered Sun – Paying Their Dues

Shattered Sun – Paying Their Dues

Dead Rhetoric: So how’d you end up getting Chuck Billy and Breaking Bands as your manager?

Leal: I’ll shorten up the story as much as I can. And this is a good story for local bands. As a local band, you are doing anything to the next level. So there is always going to be some asshole that comes out of the blue that says, “I can get you to the next level but it’s going to cost you X number of dollars.” Unfortunately for us, we were very gullible, and we gave him a buttload of money and the guy screwed us over. Long story short, we were stranded on the side of the road and we called the guy and said, “We are stuck – you didn’t negotiate anything on this tour.” We were basically using the merch money to get from city to city. He said he’d just pray for us. In that moment, there was a lot of pointing the finger and blaming each other. A lot of shouting and saying, we’d never do this again.

We went home very angry but in that moment formed a friendship with someone that knew someone that knew Maria Ferrero. He was like, “hey, give me your tracks and I’ll pitch them to her – maybe we can get you a PR deal.” It just so happened that the song landed on her desk right when Maria, Chuck, and Jonny were coming up with the idea for Breaking Bands. So they heard the track and Maria called me up and was like, “fuck the PR deal, do you guys want a manager?” At the time, we were like, “yeah, what does that mean?” So she said she was going to send it to her associates to see if they liked the track and said she’d call later. They loved it and they called us back, and it was Chuck Billy and Jonny and they wanted to fly to Texas that weekend. They wanted to do it quickly. They flew in, they heard the album, and they wanted to see us play. They knew we were the real deal and they signed us right there. From that point, it was like – label, video, album, tour, tour, tour. We owe them a lot. If it wasn’t for Chuck, Jonny, and Maria, our lives would be very different right now. It’s almost a thing of beauty. I tell Chuck and Jonny all the time – you changed our lives in such a way that looking at it now, it’s unreal.

Dead Rhetoric: Knowing your ties to Chuck Billy, were you hesitant to cover “Return to Serenity?”

Leal: Yeah! We had been bouncing the idea around [of covering a Testament track] and Jonny Z was like, “let’s do ‘Return to Serenity.” But I didn’t want to send Chuck a cover of his song so I said, “let’s ask him first” but Jonny said, “fuck that, let’s record it and send it to him.” So that’s what we did. We recorded it and we sent it to him. I didn’t know that Chuck was on tour with Testament in Italy at the time. So we sent it and I remember we paced back and forth in the studio for about 3 hours. Chuck listened to it a bunch of times, showed the band and they listened to it a bunch of times. They gave us the okay and said it was great. So we said we wanted to put in on the album, and they agreed. It’s an honor. We are paying homage to a band that we got to see in the flesh. I got to see generations of people come to see them and it’s very special what they have going on, and we just wanted to honor them.

Dead Rhetoric: A lot of the lyrics on the album have a positive spin – is that an important piece to the band?

Leal: It’s kind of one of those things that we feel it’s a message that’s lost nowadays. I feel like we are so flooded and brainwashed with that negativity surrounding us 24/7 in social media/magazines/TV, anywhere you look, people thrive on it. It’s affected us so much that the generation after us has the mentality of “I’m just one person, what can I do? I’m one voice – fuck it, someone else is going to do it.” That’s what’s going to damn us. We are killing off the minds of kids coming up that are going to change the world. I feel like that is a message that’s lost – having hope within humanity, having hope for the future. I feel like right now, the negative is the cash cow. That is what everything revolves around. I’m trying to change that. Whether it works or not, or how people interpret it – I’m not trying to shove my message down anyone’s throat, but I do feel like it’s an important message.

Dead Rhetoric: You’ve come out against tagging the band as ‘metalcore’ quite a bit. Do you feel getting pigeonholed in that regard diminishes what you are trying to do as a band?

Leal: One thing that I’ve never liked is having Shattered Sun lumped into any one genre. I’ve said all the time that we are 60 different bands rolled into one. The most important thing is that we hold the attributes that the bands we grew up listening to held: the Metallicas, the Panteras, the Queensryches, the Ozzys, the Testaments – the one thing they have in common is that they all wrote great songs that have lasted to this day. Not because they were overly technical or overly thrash, they were just great songs. I feel like right now, we are redefining what American metal is. It’s hard for people to understand. They want to lump us in and say “you’re metalcore, you are this, you are that.” Right now, we are everything. It’s something for everybody and I hope people stop being so closed-minded and just take it for what it is.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s next for the band, besides seemingly non-stop touring?

Leal: We said when we signed with Breaking Bands and Victory that we were going to be their hardest working band. We want to get our hands dirty. We want to tour. Right after this we have Soulfly/Soilwork/Decapitated. Hopefully we’ll have a trip across the pond and we’ll be going to Europe I think. We’ll probably do another music video for an upcoming single, which is going to be interesting! I’m not trying to reveal anything just yet, but I will say our next single is probably going to be along the softer side. I think it’s funny too, because it is the definition of what we are. We’ve proven ourselves to the thrash crowd, we are on Mayhem Fest with Slayer. We can give you the balance. I know we are not going to win everybody over, but it’s about opening the eyes to people that we are not a one genre band. You can’t lump us into anything. That’s one of the reasons why we decided to do that. Just keep an eye for us. We are definitely going to do everything we can in this industry.

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