It’s all about mean mugging to a really tight riff. With an appetite for no-holds-barred rock and roll, Shadow of Everest are strongly aligned with such massive artists as Tool, Black Sabbath, Mastodon and Pink Floyd. Heavy progressions and syncopated rhythms are accompanied by dissonant tones and powerful, haunting vocals.
Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
JV - Vocals, guitars
Shaun Cowell - Bass
Matt Burton - Drums
Andrew Welsman - Guitars
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Shadow of Everest? How long has the band been around?
Shaun and I (JV) were in a band called Little King Hunter before we formed Shadow of Everest. Kind of an alternative/stoner rock band. I know Matt was in a band called Last Kick before we auditioned him but Andrew hadn't played in any formal group for a few years. That doesn't matter though, he's a killer guitarist. We've been a band for almost 5 years and we have had this particular line up for 2 years.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
Since all of the good names were already taken we kind of all came up with a few and threw them out. SHADOW OF EVEREST just stuck out right away as being huge and ominous. I thought it was an excellent metaphor for staring challenge in the face and overcoming great odds. We've never changed names; just time signatures and tempos.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
We are all songwriters and it's really the best way to be. Everyone gets to contribute and I think that is what keeps our music interesting. It usually starts with a riff and Matt will lay a beat over it. We have had full songs come to the table though. When it comes to subject matter I like to write about the big questions: What is the meaning of life? What else is out there in the Universe? How are babies made?
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
We are all pretty heavily influenced by Tool and Mastodon. We love all kinds of music though; Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Pantera, Machine Head, Gojira...that list is very, very long. We hear these amazing pieces by all of these bands and we say to ourselves "How can we put our own spin on that technique?” Let's be honest; it's all hard rock and metal but it's all in the presentation. Like a steak. Sometimes we pepper-crust that big juicy slab of meat and other times we let it soak in hair conditioner and shoot it out of a cannon against a concrete wall. As long as we turn out massive riffs that make people bang their heads.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
Led Zeppelin started my journey through the musical obstacle course. I pretty much grew up on Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and when I started playing guitar I had the intent to get good enough to play in a band. My first live concert experience was Our Lady Peace and after seeing their energy from the front row I wanted to do the exact same thing.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, ect …
We all stretch and warm up. Andrew likes to axe up and play about 20 minutes before a set to warm up his hands. Shaun and Matt both stretch. Shaun's focus is of course his wrists and forearms while Matt is pretty much full body. I have a vocal routine I follow pretty consistently before we perform. I tend to write vocal parts that are at the top of my ability because it's the only way to progress but it's also very taxing on my voice.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
You know we've played some pretty cool shows with some really cool bands. Some of the festivals in our home province are really inspiring to play because of their commitment to supporting unsigned artists. The highlight of our career so far is definitely the release of our latest record, The Hunting Ground. We're so proud of how it turned out and the response we're getting is phenomenal.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Tool or Mastodon man! Personally, I want to tour with either of them. Or both. At the same time. What a killer show that would be! Shadow of Everest followed by Mastodon and Tool...people would shed their own skin. Why would I tour with those bands? Aside from the fact that I think they're awesome I really want to sneak some sliced pickles into MJK's shoes. Pickle Shoes. It would be hilarious.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for the interview! Hopefully it paints an honest picture of what we're all about; making music and having fun doing it. If you're not having fun, what are you doing? Stay inspired. Stay weird.