Springfield and its satellite towns experienced a renaissance of hard rock and metal in the wake of the major label signing of Staind, and bands like The Acacia Strain, Killswitch Engage and Splitshift have since toured the world, widening the Valley's reputation as a cradle of head-banging creativity.
Also riding the crest of the metal tsunami, Shadows Fall have toured extensively in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia, recorded in high-profile studios and dominated the world of MySpace while still taking time to play in-store gigs at local locations such as (R.I.P.) Night Owl Records in Easthampton.
The Advocate recently managed to squeeze an interview out of guitarist and Easthampton usual suspect Matt Bachand, who was shacked up in Dallas just before trucking off to an Ozzfest date in Texas.
Valley Advocate: So you're a Pioneer Valley native, correct? What's your (pre-Shadows Fall) musical history in the area?
Matt Bachand: Prior to Shadows Fall, I was involved with many projects on many different levels. Exhumed and Empty were the most notable and long-running, but also Hindsight, Perpetual Doom and The Mighty Eleven-inch Stormtrooper, among others, and running independent label Lifeless Records.
When/how did Shadows Fall get started and how long have you guys been at it?
We started in the summer of 1996 with Jon Donais [lead guitar] and I writing songs with several musicians from the area. It wasn't until probably 1998 or so when we solidified the lineup. Two bass players, two drummers and three singers later, the current lineup has been around since 2002, just prior to the recording of our third full-length album.
You've done your share of globe-trotting compared to the average Valley band. Who's got the best audiences in the world?
They are all great for many different reasons, but there's no place like home!
Recently you got to record an album in Dave Grohl's studio in California and even got to hang out with the dude a little. Was it awe-inspiring to be around a guy who's been in Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age and Tenacious D?
Yes, The Threads of life album was recorded there from September to November of 2006. It was great to see someone so respected and influential for so many people, and in so many genres, to be down to earth and fun to be around. It was easy to see that Studio 606 [Grohl's studio] was built by musicians, for musicians. It's a very comfortable place to work.
You've been known to do a few side projects here and there, playing very different stuff with Mark Schwaber and others. Are these projects necessary when you start to feel metalled-out or that rock 'n' roll has become a little too job-like?
Absolutely. It's just like every other job. Every once in a while you need an escape. I feel that if I didn't have these other projects going on, my writing could become stale and redundant. It's nice to mix it up every once in a while—better for everyone that way.
What's next for you?
Currently we are working on the next Shadows Fall album. I also just recently built a studio where I will be producing and engineering other acts as well as my own side projects."
Shadows Fall headlines a hometown show Aug. 31, 7 p.m., at the Waterfront Tavern, 920 Main St., Holyoke, (413) 532-2292, http://www.waterfronttavern.com. The show is for all ages and also features performances by Thy Will Be Done, Within the Ruins, Our Final Chapter and Kiss My Black Ass. Check out the latest on Shadows Fall at http://www.shadowsfall.com or http://www.myspace.com/shadowsfall.