interview with Shadows of Paragon

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What is the name of your band? Shadows of Paragon

What does the name "Shadows Of Paragon" stand for? Paragon stands for something or someone who is perfect, in this case we think of Jesus. “Shadows of “can have different meanings. One is that what Jesus did when He took all our sins in His death, that act casts shadows until today; we are effected of that still. Another meaning is that we are His shadows, meaning we want to be like Him.

What made you call the band "Shadows Of Paragon"? We thought it sounded cool, and we could find a meaning that we all could stand behind. 

How was the band formed? Some guys got together and jammed, and in the beginning there were some changes of members until some of them decided to stick together.

What made you form the band? I didn’t form the band. I was the last one to join in that first setting. The ones who formed the band did it because they shared a similar vision of wanting to play a certain style of music and wanting to convey a message that they thought were important.

Can you briefly introduce your band and who you are? At this time we are only three solid members. It’s Fredrik, bass, Linus, guitar and myself Zharlie (guitar).

Where are all bandmembers from? Who does what in the band? We are from Småland. Fredrik plays bass, but is also involved in structuring and arranging the music. He also writes lyrics. Linus  He is our main guitarists and the main riffcreator in the band. I myself play guitar, write lyrics and help out with Linus family’s horses. (Yes it’s absolutely a band related task ;) )

What was the ambitions of the band when you started? To somehow make a differerence in the genre. We felt that there were  many bands with very destructive lyrics, and we wanted to be an opposite force to that and write something uplifting.

Could you explain your music to someone that haven't heard you? The music is guitarbased, heavy guitars and  intense drums, and growl vocals. It sounds very intense, almost all the time. We like to keep a high pace energy going. In one song there can be quite a few riffs, but we try to keep the music constantly varied and somewhat unexpected to keep the listener  in suspence.

Where was your first gig? It was around the time when I joined the band that the bandname was changed from Allsherjar to Shadows of Paragon. And the first gig with Shadows of Paragon was in a movie theatre venue in Torsås, Kalmar region. I think Allsherjar’s first gig was in Huskvarna at some coffeshop or something, I think it was called VOX.

Where was the latest gig? Balders Hage, Häradsbäck.

Who writes your songs?/ who writes the music who writes lyrics? The music is very much based on guitarriffs and  melodies on the guitars since there  really aren’t much melodies in the vocals in this genre. And Linus writes most of the guitars. In the beginning I would always write my own guitar things. We never decided that one of us should be lead and the other one rhythm guitarist, so we switched back and forth just depending on whatever we would come up with. Now I think we more have found a solid sound, and Linus is such a great riff/ melody composer in this genre that he gets to do more and more. But ofcourse I like to add my feel to the songs also. With the current setting you can say that Linus write most of the guitarriffs, Fredrik is involved in giving constructive criticism, building the puzzle, putting the right riffs at the right place. And Fredrik and I write most of the lyrics, sometimes based on Linus ideas.

Who has the best since of humor in the band? Me ofcourse. But I think everyone in the band would say that about themselves. Everyone can be extremely funny at different times.

What's good/bad with the band? What genre do you feel you are? What’s good with us is that we have a very high criteria for our music and production. We really want to do things as good as we can, and have the best production possible. And that’s why we chose the best metal studio we knew of  to produce Through the Valley Within. It’s produced in Studio Fredman who have produced bands as In flames, Soilwork and many more. What is a bad thing with us is that it takes us a long time to make things happen, and  it’s probably partially connected to the first part of this answer, that we have high expections on ourselves and want to be the best we can be. We could have released a bunch of records if we hadn’t cared so much what it sounded  like.

Why did you pick that particular style? What are your songs about? The music style you mean? I think that was just a natural choice because that’s what everyone liked when the band was formed. Why would you want to play a different style than your favorite? Lyrically the goal has always been to try to convey God’s love in different ways. Sometimes we have managed, sometimes we may not have.  We have all gone through tough things in life, and I myself have written some lyrics when I have been really depressed and maybe those lyrics aren’t the best way to show God’s love, but at least they are honest. Many lyrics are about going through tough things but still having hope somehow, through God. Even though we don’t always say that straight out.

Do you write your own material or mainly covers? We write covers. Sorry, couldn’t resist. No we have only recorded our own songs, but we have done one cover live which is from the band Antestor, the song “Bridge of Death”.

Have you made any albums? If yes what are they? In 2005 we released our first demo/Ep which had five songs. Then in 2009 we first released  a digital EP called “Fear of Being Forever Lost”, and later the same year our first and so far only full-length album Through the Valley Within.

Do you have any clips on YouTube? We have never made any official music videos, but there are some live clips there.

How old are you? What got you started in music? I am the oldest in the band and  I am 40. I’m not sure, I think I always liked music, and as a child I sometimes sang church with my friends.

At what age did you start playing? I started playing guitar when I was 9.

How old were you guys when you first stood on stage? Depends on the definition of a stage. If you don’t count church or school I guess I was 29, Fredrik 20 andLinus 15.

What year was the band started? Under the name Allsherjar I think it was 2000, Shadows of Paragon 2002.

How old were you the first time you saw a liveband play? I was 14.

How old were you at your first gig? Best/worst gig you've played? I was 19 when I performed with my old band Bedford Blues. Depends on if best as in my best formance, or best feeling. Best feeling I would probably have to say Mexico City in 2005. Worst feeling, could be Gårdsbandsfestivalen I Jönköping where there were only 10 minutes between bands and I was extremely stressed out. 

What places will you be playing in in the imidate future? We have no shows planned right now.

Where have you played from then till now? All places we have played? I will try to remember. In Sweden: Torsås, Osby, Mörlunda, Linköping , Stockholm, Gävle, Kramfors, Sundsvall, Häradsbäck, Göteborg, Sibbhult, Kumla. Europe: Eckenförde and Blast of Eternity, Heilbronn, South Germany; Walk the Dead Fest, Belgium; Elements of Rock, Switzerland, Stedsj, Holland. Outside Europe:Revolution Metal Fest, Mexico City.

What songs are in your live set's? Depends from time to time. Right now we are not doing live shows.

Is it always the same set's live? No. Since we always keep on writing new stuff, we incorporate that successively.

What has been the best/most promising gig so far? What is a promising gig? I remember that the show we did at Bobfest in 2004 opened up many other doors for us. Back then I guess that was the most promising.

Have you had any bigger tours from start till now? Not really.

How big crowds do you usually play for? It can vary, but maybe 2-300.

What are the plans for the rest of the year? To keep working on the new material.

Where do you usually play? We have never had a place where we “ususally” play. It’s just all over. 

How do you get psyched up for a gig? Just try to practice a lot, and have fun on the road.

What are your goals with your music? To save the world.

Is it easier to get your inspiration from older bands or from bands more modern? I don’t know if other bands are a big inspiration for us. I think God and life itself are bigger factors.

What are your sources of inspiration? God, life, emotions, people.

What's the first step when making a new song? Linus recording an idea on his cellphone whenever he gets one.

How do you feel about the downloading of music instead of buying albums? If you really like the band and want to support them I would deeply suggest that you buy from them. In our case, if you really can’t afford  it, just go ahead and download. Better that than if you don’t hear it at all.

What would be your dreams for the band?  Tour in South America.

Besides your own music, what genres and bands do you listen to? Except metal, I listen to both pop and rock music. Bands like Evanescence, Red, Skillet.

What do you hold most dear? It varies from day to day. I may not be a loyal fan  to anyone that way.

What would be your greatest fears for the future? That all my close friends died.

When you are on stage, what do you fear most then? To have a blackout and forget where in the song I am. 

Have you been part of any other projects? Yes. I have done some studioguitar work for different albums. And right now I play in another band called God’s Romance with our bassplayer Fredrik, I also have a solo project.

Have you been in any other bands? Yes. Traxcrash ZQUX , Beford Blues, Scarlet Drop, and Crime Factory.

What do you work with outside of the band and the music? I am about to start working at a Music Production Company as songwriter, musician,  and sound technician.

What would you do if there was no music? I might have a few horses, maybe write books.

How important are your fans? Extremely important. It’s for them we do what we do.

What's the funniest/most memorable thing a fan has done for you? A guy asked us to sign his leatherjacket. That felt strange.

How often do you rehearse? A couple of times before each show. No but it’s different during different times.

Where do you rehearse? In the mist of the morbid darkness of North Skåne ;)

Name 2 of your own songs you like at the moment? At War and Tranquil Image of a Wounded Child.

What do you feel is the best liveband you've seen? Probably Extol.

Do you have any webpages? Well, we have but it’s currently being forwarded to a myspace page we haven’t updated since the big change there. But soon we will have a “real” webpage. We do have a facebook page also.

Any pearls of wisdom for all other bands out there? Try to have an open communication, and deal with problems when they come up. Don’t let things grow into bitterness.  Encourage one another. As musicians I think we all grow faster if we are given good feedback and encouragment.

Describe your show, visually and musically We  like to have a lot of green and blue lights and lots of smoke. Not so much front light. And I also love strobe lights to intensify certain parts of the music. Musically its like lying on  a trainrail and be run over by a train.

How do you view the musicindurty of today? It’s quite interesting. A lot of the big record companies are losing their power because they can’t sell as much music as they did. And indpendant musicians gain more power because it’s getting easier to promote oneself through internet.

What are the biggest obstacles for a band? We all have different obstacles to deal with. But one common is to find dedicated people who wants to stay in the band through rain and shine, and do what it takes to reach your goals.

What is best/worst with playing the clubs? I see nothing bad with playing clubs. It’s just fun.

Tell us about upcomming gigs and why we should be at them? We don’t do very many liveshows anymore so if you hear of one you should definitely try to make it, because it could be the last one you have a chance of seeing.

How would you describe your sound in one sentence It's like lying on a trainrail and be run over by a train.

What is your favorite crappy instrument? I won’t admit that any of my instruments are crappy.

Whats your Pre-show ritual? Praying together, often sharing communion, that is to symbolically drink the blood of Christ and eat his flesh. 

What Won't you spend money on? Lottery tickets. I think it’s a waste of money.

What do you feel a band/muscian should spend their money on? Good instruments would be a good start. Rent for a rehearsal studio if you can’t have one for free. Merch to make more money.

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