Brutal In Seattle: Brandon Eckert Of Burnt Shadows
The bowels of Seattle, Washington have regurgitated up, Burnt Shadows, one of the more chilling and eerily death-sounding extreme metal acts in metal's underground today. It is an act that revisits the murder cry and blast beast of Acid Bath, while channeling the downright haunting thrash of Slayer. The band is made up of Brandon Eckert on vocals, Craig Saner on guitar, also including Dan Moore on guitar, Dave Moore playing bass and Tony Mitchell hitting the drums. They have made a serious impression on me from the first moment I heard their tracks on Myspace, and I am pleased to be taking a few moments with their extremely gifted singer, Brandon Eckert.
Rocket: When did you first start singing?
Brandon: Well, I really started with this band about 2003. I was always interested in doing vocals, but I just never got the balls to try out. Craig and Tony (guitar and drums) invited me out to the pad to fuck around with their new P.A. I was hesitant at first but after a few tall ones, I was screaming at Craig and they both raised an eyebrow. Hahaha - I actually used to put in an old Six Feet Under cd and try to practice with that. At first it really hurt my throat. But after a while I improved. I wanted to try a vocalist that was hard so I would hopefully get better results. I don't necessarily use the Death Metal style of vocals, but it is something I am starting to incorporate.
Rocket: Who are some of the metal vocalists of past or present that have influenced you the most?
Brandon: Shit, how long do you got man? Well growing up it was Billy Idol, Dee Snider, Axl Rose and James Hetfield. My dad raised me on Metallica and GnR. Some of my all time favorites are: Layne Staley, Dax Riggs( Acid Bath), Lynn Straight (SNOT), Dave Brockie, Tom Araya, Phil Anselmo, Max Cavalera, Tommy Rogers (between the buried and me), Mike Patton, Randy Blythe and Greg Puciato (Dillinger esc plan) to name a few.
Rocket: With all the rigor a metal singer puts on their vocal chords, you will find that each usually has some kind of pre-show ritual to loosen up in preparation of screaming for a half hour straight. What if anything do you do to prepare? Is it pretty much knock back a Jag bomb and then go full speed ahead? Ha!
Brandon: The Jag bomb is pretty much how I roll. Haha. I actually try to drink a ton of water. I am always telling myself to warm up better. Rehearsing 2 or 3 times a week and then having a show usually keeps me loose. It's when I go for too long without jamming that I am all rusty. Hear that kids? Do your damn warm ups! la la la la la la la
Rocket: Are there any other metal bands from the Seattle area that have made a strong impression on you?
Brandon: Yeah, there a lot we love to do shows with: Hatefist, Killing Roots, Lahar, Barefoot Barnacle, Severus and Expiration Date. They are all cool ass dudes and are excellent musicians. Not many Seattle Metal bands have made it big except Himsa. So we are looking to be the next!
Rocket: So how did Burnt Shadows originally form as a band?
Brandon: Tony (drums) and Craig( guitar) used to be in a few bands together. Tony used to play guitar, but his love for the drums made him switch it up. Dave (bass) and Dan(guitar) are brothers, and Craig is there cousin, so the pieces just fell into place. We went through a couple different members here and there but once we got this line up we have been solid as hell.
Rocket: I'm really impressed by the demo tracks on your Myspace music page. Did you produce them yourselves?
Brandon: No, actually this guy Jesse O Donnell who is the guitar player for the Tacoma Hardcore band Lahar is our producer. His studio is called The Autopsy Room. We usually like to get in there once a year and lay some new tracks. Next time around is the full length. We have about 11 songs for that.
Rocket: So then you guys are obviously working hard on new material.
Brandon: Constantly, we havent been jamming on our old stuff much, because we are in writing mode. We have been playing a lot of shows, so that keeps us fresh on the old tunes. I usually have to ignore what they write until they let me know that it is 100%, because if I do start working on a song it will surely get changed within the next few days. Haha - not to say I don't put in input, but I let them write their parts and they let me do mine. In the end, we all give each other pointers as to what we feel is badass or needs work.
Rocket: Has this band been approached by any record labels yet?
Brandon: Yeah, I'd say a handful. Mostly they were either a joke, beat around the bush or didnt have their cards in the right place. I wont name any names but you know what I mean. I have sent out some press kits and we are always crossing our fingers on those!
Rocket: Every band has its lofty dream sponsors they'd love to have. Who would be the two ultimate sponsors for Burnt Shadows that you wish you'd have one day?
Brandon: I would say Jager, they treat their bands great, but they no longer work with Washington bands because its against the law to hand out swag with alcohol logos on it.
I'd have to say Paiste for my drummer. They make great cymbals, but he still shreds them up.
Rocket: Who are some of the indie record labels that you respect?
Brandon: Prosthetic, Relapse, In at the deep end records, Abacus, Metal Blade, Century Media They all have killer bands on their roster.
Rocket: What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you on stage?
Brandon: I have these shorts and my zipper kept coming undone. My old lady kept trying to motion to me but with the crowd of people I wasnt really focused on her. She had to write a note to me and put it on the P.A. speaker. It was pretty hilarious.
Rocket: Do you take the time to read your Myspace fan mail?
Brandon: Every single one. I personally go to their page and leave them some sort of message. It is sad though when you can tell the ones that dont even listen to your music they just want to say they have 50,000 friends. I dont really seek out fans. I want people to add us if they like what we do. It's all about the fans. They are the ones making it so we can keep playing at the great venues we play and paying money for our merch.
Rocket:What are some of the upcoming shows for Burnt Shadows?
Brandon: Well, we are going to be playing with Pungent Stench (Nuclear Blast) and Blessing the Hogs (from CA.) next week. 5/17 and in June we are going out of state to play a Metalfest in Idaho. I was talking to a friend in another local band and it looks like we are getting to share the stage with Stuck Mojo in July. I am always trying to get us on with touring bands but it is pretty cut throat here. Most of the venues get their buddy bands on the bills or the tour is full already. The NW is weird because there arent just big bands that still play local shows. The East coast is were you see local bands getting opening spots for bands that were from that area, who still play some of the venues they got started in. We are really wanting to get signed and be able to hit the road. We want to get our shit heard!
Rocket: Well, you guys just keep your nose to the grind and I expect to hear that you're signed and on your way to the top real soon. Give a shout out to your biggest supporters.
Brandon: The girls: Sarah G. Tina, JoJo, Sarah S. and Melissa. Tim, Shaun,Andy, Justin, Kenny, Studio 7 and Hells Kitchen.
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