Shawn Coar is the lead singer of the Brisbane, Australia-based heavy metal band, As Paradise Falls. Formed in 2014 — singer Ravi Sherwell left the band early 2015 — with Coar then assuming vocal duties. Sherwell had originally recorded their new album, Digital Ritual — released on New Jersey label Eclipse Records — so Coar wrote and re-recorded the vocals.
Coar spoke to The Aquarian Weekly about the history of the band, how several songs from the new album were recorded, as well as a new song that the band is working on for their next album.
Can you give me a brief history on yourself in the Australian music scene?
I have been singing in bands since the early 2000s doing heavy metal and metalcore. I’ve been in As Paradise Falls for the last few years. Before that I was in bands like Discollision, Bound for Ruin and Vessel Born. I have been steadily developing over the last couple of years and coming into my own the last five. I have been basing myself out of Brisbane, Australia. I have done some fill-in tour work with a band from Melbourne called Feed Her to the Sharks.
What is it like being a musician in Australia today?
It is very competitive, but in a good way. I think in the moment there is a bit of a spotlight on Australian heavy music artists. It is really hard to tour within Australia. There are only about five or six dates you can do in Australia on a tour run that would be lucrative.
If you compare that to playing in the States, you could play 20-30 date runs and go back and do them again and they would be quite successful. Even in places like Europe and South America I have heard can be quite good as well. That’s the hardest part about Australia, like, places to play so you can keep the ball rolling.
How do the members of your band come together to write songs?
We’re in the midst of writing at the moment. Each member writes some stuff at home and then they bring it to the band. By committee we decide what we like and what we don’t like, what could be changed with the structure, and what kind of feel we want to go for. Then we do the next draft of the song and form the structure. At the moment, we are focusing on what kind of sound we can all put towards the album. Maybe the thought we had on the last record…it may have been a bit too diverse with the sound, so we are going to make it a little more consistent.
What song has the most meaning to you when it comes to the meaning of the lyrics?
I think “Ultimate Consumers” is definitely out there. It is about consumers, but basically the idea that nothing is ever enough. In terms of what we take in, in many cases it is money, food, technology. It doesn’t seem to fulfill whatever void people seem to have and they can’t be satisfied with who they are with themselves and have to change into someone else. That kind of rings true within me, since there is always a personal note in every song. I take a thing I don’t see in society and see what I could change within myself to become a better human being. If any change can be made it is going to be right here at home before you can start looking to other people to change.
How did you become acquainted with Eclipse Records?
We are friends with another great band on Eclipse called “A Breach of Silence” that are also based in Brisbane. Way back in the day, Chris (Poland), the guy that runs Eclipse Records, I think he knew we were friends with them somehow. They look into who your artist is associated with. Somehow he listened to us ages ago. We released some new music and it came up on his new release material on Spotify. Finally, he listened to “Starblind” and thought it was a good track. He got into contact with us and that is how we got the ball rolling.
With the subject matter of “Hysteria,” are you speaking about something in Australia or another part of the world?
In terms of propaganda online, when I was learning about this first in high hchool, there was the WWI propaganda with the gorilla in the Hun helmet. The propaganda was really obvious back then. It now has evolved into something a bit more subversive or clandestine where you don’t see it for what it really is. It links into the digital world where people are sharing all these articles which may not be true. I don’t think it helps that to get extra money or pull in the ratings, get attention, or to pump these things out; it puts people in an irrational state where they can’t make rational decisions.
On “Reborn,” would you be happier if it was looked at as a warning or a requiem?
The song is more of a warning. The reason why I was reborn is I am talking about myself and I realize I am a family leftist kind of guy. Through the course of the last couple of years, I am sort of sifting more towards the center where I like to look at facts a lot more. It just seems like there is a culture of war happening, it was more of a stream of consciousness when I wrote it. I wrote that song when a lot of bad shit was happening around the world that is still going on. There was a lot of footage from Syria coming out. You just sit back and are in awe of what is happening and you can’t understand how people could be doing this to each other.
For “Starblind,” I read that you center that song around this celebrity worship going on. I feel like some people are getting rewarded for being an imbecile like the “Cash Me Outside” girl?
No one could have predicted how far that would have gone based on a Dr. Phil interview. I thought it would have died out by now like a lot of other “15 minutes of fame” situations. I credit her. Whoever is running her outfit is making it work for her however vapid it may seem. Business is business, and she is doing business well.
I think at the end of the day labels don’t think about these things. The bigger labels don’t tend to care a lot about artists in terms of what they are making as long as they are making money. I can’t say in a broad term every label is like that, but they may say, “We need money to fund the good artists that are on their label,” and I’m sure there are plenty on that label and they do need that funding.
It is frustrating. I can’t believe we are here. You need to realize that they can get out there and make some money and turn it into a business.
Can you tell me some of the stories or subjects you are going to be writing about on this upcoming album?
A title I am working on is called “Feast on Famine.” There is an arms industry that gets propped up. There are billions of dollars being made around certain disasters abroad and internally. There is a culture of fear happening. I don’t necessarily think of it as a revolutionary idea, It’s more of an observation from my set of eyes.
Like I said before, there will always be a personal aspect where I look towards myself and see my reflection in society. I then look at myself and see if I can look at the world differently to get a clearer point of view where I am not acting too emotionally. Then I can look at what the facts are, what can be changed, and what is within my grasp.
Would you like to go back to any questions?
With “Reborn” there is a lot of online protest happening but there is no real change happening. There won’t be any real change happening until people put financial pressure on certain structures or go out to the streets and protest peacefully. I am not talking about any violence or anything like that.
People need to make their point made in the physical realm. Making change isn’t just hitting a link. It’s more than that, you actually have to be involved. That is the biggest problem within everything now. People think they are making a difference by signing a petition online but it is nowhere near as effective as a physical presence at the front gate of whatever institution isn’t doing their job.
Any final words?
Thank you. It’s a good test of what my writing is if someone can make me sit down and explain what the hell I am talking about.