One of the most recognizable faces of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal was Shadows Fall frontman Brian Fair, whose floor-length dreadlocks and signature vocal style put him alongside Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe and Hatebreed’s Jamey Jasta as the leaders of the movement. On a hiatus of sorts, Shadows Fall isn’t playing the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival this weekend, Fair’s pre-Shads band (Overcast) and post-Shads band (Downpour) will be there, performing on Friday, April 18th. We asked Fair about the approach he takes to both bands, whether he would perform with an established band, and his favorite memories of the New England Metal and Hardcore Fest.
You have both Overcast and your new band Downpour playing at the NEMHF. Do you take different approaches to each band?
The approach to both bands is very different. Overcast is all about trying to recapture the manic energy of those songs and try and create as much chaos as possible. It is a very physical performance as well. Lots of stage dives and high fives! Downpour is a much more atmospheric band with a heavy, heavy groove with a good amount of melodic vocals and these songs are still really new to me so I will be concentrating on nailing my parts and getting swept up in the vibe.
Give us a status update on both Overcast and Downpour?
Overcast is something that we will try to continue and play shows as long as all the guys can get together and schedules work out. It’s just fun to get back together and play songs that we wrote decades ago! It blows our minds that people are still into the band so many years later. Downpour has completed tracking enough material for an EP that we hope to release sometime this year. I don’t think we will be touring a lot but we do hope to play random shows whenever possible. Hopefully we will have some tunes to share soon.
What’s your biggest struggle been performing post-Shadows Fall?
Well the door on Shadows Fall hasn’t completely closed. Everyone has different things going on now but we do hope to play some shows in the future when it makes sense. It has definitely been an adjustment since Shadows Fall dictated my entire schedule and been my main priority for a decade and a half. Now I am focused on family and whatever the next stage of my life has in store. Since Overcast, Death Ray Vision and Downpour are so different musically that I get to express such different things with each band that it really hasn’t been a struggle.
Who would you want to collaborate with that you haven’t before?
Morrissey!! Haha. There are tons of great musicians that I would love to collaborate with. I have always wanted to get together with a bunch of metal guys and work on music that is completely out of the metal realm. Like make a crazy reggae dub album or a crazy shoegaze project. Anyone out there interested?
Jon Donais and Jason Bittner have joined Anthrax and Flotsam & Jetsam, respectively. Have you been approached or would you consider if approached, singing for an established band?
I have been hit up by a few guys who are from a established bands or ex members of some decent sized bands but it either didn’t work out or I just wasn’t that into the songs. The only thing that has come up that blew me away was the Downpour songs so I jumped at it immediately.
You moved away from New England. Do you feel out of touch not being in New England and/or the East Coast? What do you do to stay connected, or do you not even particularly care?
I do miss New England but I have settled into a great life in St Louis with my family. The two things I miss the most are jamming with a lot of people that I used to jam with from Massachusetts and being able to watch all of my Boston sports teams without having to go to a sports bar!
You’re not only a veteran of New England Metalfest, but a (former) native Masshole. What are some of your favorite memories of the Fest, either as an attendee or playing it?
Metalfest is without a doubt my favorite US festival. I have played or attended almost every year and I think between Shadows Fall, Overcast, Death Ray Vision and now Downpour that I hold the record for most times onstage at Metalfest! My favorite memories are from the early days of the festival when a good friend of mine would rent a suite at the Crowne Plaza and throw the craziest parties fueled by insane designer drugs and unreal weed. After one of those ragers, I remember melting into a chair while watching Candiria and possibly entering an alternate universe during one of their jams. Those were the days.
Other than play in both of your bands, is there anything you’re planning on definitely doing while you’re back.
I plan on hanging out with family and friends and getting in a skate session at Mikey T’s mini ramp. See you all there!
Tickets for the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival can be purchased at the following links: