3 INCHES OF BLOOD’S SHANE CLARK TALKS NEW ALBUM AND NEW RECORD LABEL IN METALSUCKS INTERVIEW
On the eve of the release of their latest banger Here Waits Thy Doom, I spoke with 3 Inches of Blood guitarist Shane Clark. Clark was in the middle of an intense day of interviews promoting the new album but was still sharp enough to tell us all about the writing process of said album, the band’s label jump from Roadrunner to Century Media, the effects of Jamie Hooper’s departure from the band, and where 3 Inches of Blood fit (or not, as it were) into “the scene.” Our chat after the jumper.
You’re in the middle of a mammoth interview session here.
Yeah. That’s cool though.
Is that a grind for you or do you kind of enjoy doing the whole press thing and talking about your band and everything?
I totally enjoy it. I’m just grateful for it. Getting press is something a lot of bands don’t get. If this is a grinding day, then I’ll take it any fucking day rather than working construction. I’ll tell you that much. Sitting on the phone and talking about what I love to do, it’s pretty one-sided for me.
That’s awesome, man. Thankfully you guys have been in a position for some time to be able to do that. So the new record, Here Waits Thy Doom, is your first for Century Media Records. How has it been different this time with a new record label?
Comparing the two is like apples and oranges. Different labels operate differently. The enthusiasm for our band is a lot higher. They’re very . . . fuck, I’ve used so many words today I can’t think of anything.
They’re very enthusiastic with what we’re doing, as much as we are. You know the media blitz that happens when a record comes out. The focus is just different. The focus is on different things like getting people to know that the record is out as opposed to looking at numbers and being bummed out that there’s not a hit single or video. You know what I mean? Being a little more career orientated. Rise to the top, the label makes some money, cool. Okay, now we like your band. You know that kind of thing. It’s just a whole different vibe which is refreshing.
That’s good to hear. Did you run into that a lot with Roadrunner where you felt like you weren’t really getting the attention you deserved?
Absolutely because granted, it is a business, and I’m not complaining about Roadrunner. They have an M.O. An underground band like us isn’t going to have the kind of numbers that a pop band is going to have. That’s just a fact. We had some great support from that label during Ozzfest for the 2 months that we were on it, but that was it. After that we were done, bottom of the list priority. That’s not really good business. If you make an investment, you’re going to have to at least let the people know that your band is on tour and sell a couple of albums. That didn’t happen. I think at the end of the day, they were happy and we were happy that that relationship ended. When one door closes, another opens, and here we are.
So you just used the word “underground” to describe you guys. I definitely think the kind of stuff you guys do is so specific that it is definitely an underground thing. How do you think of yourself within the metal community and your goals for the band? Obviously you’re not trying to be on the level of a Killswitch Engage or Slipknot, speaking of Roadrunner bands. What is the bar that you measure yourself against for your career?
I think one of the big things is that we’re very much into what we’re doing. We’re all kind of morons when it comes to current music, fads and trends. We’re very much music fans, and we write stuff that we’re really into. Listening to new stuff and what we’re doing, I kind of think that extreme music is going one way and we took a total left turn by accident. We’re just writing stuff that we’re into. When I see where we sit in the scheme of things, we tend to stick out like sore thumbs no matter what tour we’re on, in a good way. We have a lot of contemporaries that our band fits in well with, but we don’t sound like many bands. It has a lot to do with our vocalist and our vibe of playing. Does that answer your question a little bit? I love a lot of the new bands that are out. They’re great. Just like these bands that we speak of, we don’t share the exact same musical vision. That’s what makes bands stand out.
I guess I was asking more about the level of success that you hope to achieve more so than the scene you fit in with.
Oh, I see what you’re saying. My expectations have already been met by playing in this band. Anything else that happens now is just icing on the cake. The level we’re at now is far beyond where I ever thought I would be in the music business. That’s a hard question for me to answer. I don’t have any delusions of where I’m going to be like in a huge band that you mentioned. Originally when I was a teenager, if I was famous in my hometown, that was my success. So this is kind of surreal sometimes when we go to a place where we’ve never been and people know who we are and the lyrics and stuff. I’m just going to have to play the humble card on that one, man. I don’t know.
That’s cool, man. I think a label like Century is a lot more conducive to that kind of attitude.
Yeah, they’re understanding to where we are. We do want to take this as far as we can and keep it going. It’s all about getting the music to the people and getting it to more people to spread the celebration of the metal music that we do.
It’s a little more streamlined. There are 2 less members of the band. As far as the writing thing, it felt like there were less cooks in the kitchen where you could really streamline a few things. The last album had a lot more death metal and black metal elements going on, and we didn’t really feel like repeating ourselves. It’s kind of one of those unsaid things. It wasn’t like “don’t write any of this.” We just wrote what we felt like writing and were into at that particular moment. A lot of it, I think, came from listening to a lot of Rainbow and UFO and a lot of that first wave of metal. Over the last couple of years of touring we listened to a lot of that together. That’s just kind of the vibe that is very present on the album. There is one kind of departure song, for us anyway. “Preacher’s Daughter” is the most overt Ritchie Blackmore influenced. In today’s musical climate, extreme music is fucking extreme. So it’s like back in the day AC/DC was considered heavy metal, but now it’s hard rock when you compare it to Brutal Truth. We’re just sort of celebrating our old influences. That’s where the songwriting took us with the album. There are definitely elements from all of our albums on this. There are lots of guitar harmonies. We’re minus one singer. That’s another streamline thing. We have the duo vocals, but a lot less. Justin does the backups. I think the record is the most focused because it was the most mature album yet. We’re not upset with anything we’ve done in the past, but we just didn’t want to repeat ourselves. If we tried to write a song like “Deadly Sinners” it would sound contrived. There were different guys in the band who wrote that song, so it would sound like we were trying to rest on past achievements. That’s the song that got the band a bit of popularity. We try new things. You don’t get anywhere in life without taking a chance. That’s where we’re at with that.
You mentioned Jamie no longer being in the band affecting the writing of the new record. Did it also affect the general band dynamic of how you guys get along?
Not so much because Jamie actually left 2 years ago. We toured for 2 years together without him. The dynamic, by the time we wrote this album, was what it was. It wasn’t this shocking thing that he wasn’t there.
Yeah, totally. So you guys are doing a tour with In Flames. That’s a pretty diverse bill. Do you think their fans and the fans of Between the Buried and Me and The Faceless will be receptive to you guys?
We’ll just have to sort of wait and see. It’s a diverse bill, like you said. I think it’ll be an entertaining show to see. I don’t know if you’re actually into death metal, but you go to see your favorite death metal band, but when 5 death metal bands open up for that, it’s kind of anticlimactic. I think diverse bills are where it’s at. We’ll see whether the fans of In Flames pick up on us. They have a lot of fans, and I look at it like if out of 1,000 people 25 like what we’re doing (who never heard of us before) then maybe 50 people will show up to the next time we go there. It’s all relative. Getting your music to new fans is what it’s all about. It’s a lot of fun.
Definitely. Congrats on the new record. I definitely think it’s awesome.