Founder and keyboard Philipp Bohny talked to Ignite Music Magazine about the band, the new album and influences.
IMM: I have started to listen to the album and like the one song that is different on this album is the funky or jazz tempo on “The Impossible Chain” and the seagulls and ocean sounds like The Who’s Quadrophenia which is the longest song on the album. Was that one you wanted to be longer than the others?
Philipp: Yes and no – The Impossible Chain is in a way the core piece of this album, telling a long story with a lot of twists, drama and emotions. But it wasn’t intended to become or constructed to be the long song just to have one on the record; it was more of a natural development in the writing process and the result feels now very natural to us.By the way awesome association: Quadrophenia is a true masterpiece in my opinion, I love it for its incredible songwriting, being a 70ies milestone and ahead of its time.
IMM: I am reading the bio and before settling on the name Shadowpath the band was named Wishpond with drummer Samuel Baumann and bass player Amos Zürcher with Kate that also in a band called Spellbound. So after different changes and with Karin as new singer is when you had written 10 or more songs? And she left the band and Amos for their reasons?
Philipp: The early phase of Shadowpath was a bit turbulent, mainly due to the events, many younger adults experience during this critical period: jobs change, families grow, relationships break up and new plans are made constantly, many things just happen then.
Technically speaking, Kate was never a member of Shadowpath (or Wishpond back then), but indeed the above-mentioned line up-changes took place during these first years,finally leading to a probably stronger collective. As difficult as it definitely was back then, today we look at it retrospectively as some kind of a positive evolutionary process. So back from the original founding days, there are 2018 still Samuel Baumann (drums), Amos Zürcher (bass guitar) and me (keyboards, growl / backing vocals) remaining; the guitars are played by Stefano Riario and Gisselle Rousseau is the lead singer.
What’s important to all of us: none of the line up-changes ever went down in a fight or using bad words – there is no former band member that I couldn’t literally meet right today and have a beer with in friendship and respect.
IMM: Your influences are the symphonic, progressive and death metal. Bands like Leaves’ Eyes, Nightwish, Epica, and Atrocity?
Philipp: Partially yes – I’d say mainly the early Nightwish albums were very inspiring, but also bands like Dark Tranquility, Blackfield, Katatonia, or Opeth.
When I write music, I’m rarely trying to actively follow a certain pattern or imitate a specific band sound, but of course all the bands, that we like to listen to, have their influence and therefore also an impact on our own creative work. Aside of the mentioned ones, there are many more bands, that inspire Shadowpath in one way or the other – for example Rage is one, Lamb of God, Dire Straits, Grave Digger, but also non-metal acts like Faithless or even classical composers like the greatest of all time, Johann S. Bach.
IMM: Also you went on a bicycle trip to different countries. Which countries you go to and that helped to refocus you for the band after some gigs with King Dean and Royal Demolition and the various lineup changes?
Philipp: Ah I apologize, there is probably a misunderstanding: it was Ben, our original guitar player, who traveled the world on his bicycle over many months; unfortunately he had to leave the band to do this, so this was a crucial moment in our history and indeed a decisive one.
Any line up-change alters the interpersonal dynamics within aband, so we as the remaining four had to re-orientate ourselves, which was particularly not easy because at the time Ben made his decision, Shadowpath had just begun to get going and we had played a handful of first very well receptive gigs. So, as said, this was definitely a critical moment, but eventually also a positive restart: a lot of good new things came out of it, our guitar sound changed, we developed fresh ideas, met many talented musicians and other bands.
IMM: Also Stefano Riario replaced Bruno on guitar, Gisselle Rousseau (vocals) joined and also bass player Gery left. Seems like the Spinal Tap movie. The band started to work on the songs during 2015. But now the band is stable? You thinking that this band will not happen and focus on another agenda?
Philipp: Haha, I guess we’re just very open about it, but I think these line up-changes are not really too relevant anymore today.
I believe, the reason for them was probably quite simple: we started the band being five guys with completely different backgrounds, job situations, private lives, ages, living places and also ambitions when it came to our goals concerning music. So to speak, we were the literal opposite of the “cliché” teenage friends that grow up together in the same neighborhood, share the same life situation, have common social networks and meet every night in a garage to jam. I was 29 years old when we kicked this thing off, working a lot at a hospital and moving together with my girlfriend (who is my wife today) at that time, while Sam, 10 years younger, was still in professional training to become a car mechanic, lived in a completely different region of the country and was about to join the Swiss army for months right then. So, planning was always a huge challenge, our individual priorities in life were of course very different and everything was somehow constantly volatile because whenever one situation had just calmed down, the one of another member became unstable.
Now, we all have reached a certain age and steadiness, haha, so yes – Shadowpath as it exists today has a very high probability of remaining stable in the future.
Me personally, I never had a “different agenda” – the worst case scenario would always be a complete break-up of the band (which luckily never happened), but even then I would’ve continued Shadowpath just by myself, writing more songs and recording material, reinstating the band with a different line-up some later time.
IMM: 2016 the band started to record the songs. What the songs are about and references for them? Why to release 8 songs for this album? Are there more songs you have written for another album or Ep?
Philipp: Starting with the last question – ah yes, there is a lot more material that we haven’t used for the album for different reasons. Some of it will probably be released later on another record, but I’m not sure yet about all of the songs.
Rumours of a Coming Dawn is basically a story consisting of 8 chapters; I wouldn’t go as far as to name it a very consequent concept album, but the songs follow a string of events. Some of the tracks have an autobiographic aspect (e.g. Deny me, or Beta), but most of them tell metaphors about life in general. We’d like to leave it to the imagination of the listeners to explore, what images develop in their minds while listening to the songs.
But in all the sometimes melancholic and gloomy lyrics, there is always a decisive element of hope, the spark in the night, the sunbeam brightening the cemetery on the albums cover, this “heavenly promise, that survives in our hands” as named in the final verse of Beta.
In the recording and producing process we aimed to achieve a tight, very atmospheric and multiverse sound, balancing the dichotomy of bright light and darkness, always staying interesting throughout the whole record, never repeating itself. We also wanted to use a lot of keyboard elements while still giving the heavy guitars all the room they deserve. To our belief, Rumours of a Coming Dawn is an album, that reveals its full strength only when listened to it several times, unmasking more and more details in its structure with every repetition.
IMM: The band did some shows in different area of Switzerland?
Philipp: We have played in various regions of Switzerland (Bern, Zürich, Zug, Aargau etc.) and are currently in talks for shows in more areas (Obwalden, Basel). In the past there were also concrete plans and cooperation with other bands to do a tour in Finland, Italy and Germany, which had unfortunately to be canceled again that year. The reason was, that right at that time I was becoming a father for the first time and just chose, not to travel away from my wife and new-born son.
IMM: To follow up on the shows are their shows planned for 2018 for Switzerland and planning for other European countries?
Philipp: Oh yes! After a time-out of about one year we play live again starting february 10, 2018 with a show in Thun, a city close to our hometown Bern. After that we’ll play the famous Met-Bar in Lenzburg (together with Deep Sun and Elyria), one show in Zürich and then different gigs in other parts of Switzerland. The plans to travel to other European countries have been reactivated as well and there are opportunities, but there’s nothing been fixed yet. Keeping fingers crossed! As soon as there’s more information, we’ll share it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
IMM: Any new songs for this year while to support this album?
Philipp: We’re writing the set lists now for the next few concerts and plan to mix in probably a few songs, that don’t appear on Rumours of a Coming Dawn. Some might be old ones (for those that have listened to our early demos Into the Shadows and Dissipating Flows or have been to our concerts: we’re thinking of The Coming Storm, Reveries in Blue, Homecoming, or Demons Within), but maybe we’ll also add a completely new track. The last word hasn’t yet been spoken on this – to be honest, after this time-out of a year, it will also depend to some degree of how good we’ll feel during the preparations and how smooth the rehearsing sessions will run.
IMM: This is a good album and success for the next album and thanks for your time
Philipp: You’re very welcome, it has been a pleasure! Thank you so much for this opportunity and for your interest in the band. Hope to see you at a show one day. Stay Metal!!