RogueM. Vocalist for the U.K. band ShadowKeep
Interviewed by Rick, July 2000
ShadowKeep are a great new metal band from the U.K. They play a potent blend of classic and power metal that will definitely bring them to prominence on the worlds metal scene. I recently had a chance to speak to the voice of ShadowKeep, RogueM.
Hey Rogue. Thanks for dropping by.
ShadowKeep is from the U.K. Can you tell me how you all came together to create such a great new band?
Well both Chris and Nicki on one side and me on the other were looking for motivated songwriters to complete the music/vox symbiosis. I was quite disappointed with the response I had sending tapes here and there as bands were only looking for death type of singers and these two were overwhelmed with unrequested responses from such singers. Fate made us cross the same road at the same time.
Well it seems like you have hit upon something very special. Can you give me a quick idea of the kind of music that ShadowKeep set out to create? What kind of metal would you classify your music?
Traditional Metal certainly. I think we tend to deliver a US style of Power Metal rather than a European flavour… it is not that surprising in a way as Chris and Nick are certainly quite keen on that type of Metal, the likes of Queensryche, Fates Warning, Vicious Rumours, etc. I am myself more influenced by Scandinavian bands such as Conception, TNT or Pretty Maids… I guess it is why our music is not quite a clone of anything but rather a good mixture of the two.
Your music cannot be classified as strictly power metal as to me it has some progressive elements. Is that by design or is it just the bands natural sound considering the bands influences?
Well your comment is very pertinent. I think US Metal is more straight ahead and Scandinavian Metal usually quite unconventional so I think this is where we come from. There is no research from our part for an overly complicated music that could make ShadowKeep a progressive band. I believe these days, Power Metal is associated with German Melodic Metal as on your side of the Atlantic the term of True Metal has not spread like the plague… don’ t get me wrong, I like that style but “True Metal” has no other connotation for me than a commercial one. I can do without.
Bands like Manowar and Hammerfall are often ridiculed in metal circles here in North America for their True Metal Stance!! Kings of Metal and all that stuff.
You have a great song in the Metal Rules!! MP3 archive called “Dark Tower” which is a great classic metal tune! How does it compare to the rest of the material on your CD?
I would say we deliberately chose it to represent the band. First because is it more or less an eponymous song. Second because it is one that catches you straight away or never does. Our songs are usually slightly less accessible at first listen but then grow on you. It is certainly even more the case with the new material but more importantly we want people to find our albums diverse. They will listen to their favourites first and then the others will grab them by the hairs and never let them go hahaha!
That is exactly how I found your material first when I heard it. After a few listens I was completely hooked!!
ShadowKeep has recently signed with Limb Music. Can you tell me how you came about signing with them and was there any other label interest in the band?
Sure, we had loads of companies interested in the band but the kind that any half decent musician can attract but honey moons never last with these ones. I have been involved at this level for 8 years before joining SK and it was completely out of question for me to waste our actual potential by signing to anything else than a serious player. LMP turn out to be a perfect partner with realistic goals and the power to achieve them.
What is Limb offering you in the way of distribution etc.? Will Limb be picking up your cd “6 Song Mini album” for distribution?
The distribution will be similar to what they do with all their bands which is not a bad start. LMP don’t actually sign bands to leave them on the side and I am convinced they believe in our music. If we don’t sell the first album then I don’t know but that won’t happen.
I am sure that when your sound gets out that you will have no problem selling CDs. Now back to your first release.”6 Song Mini Album” was recorded when the band was only months old. Why did you go into the studio so quickly. I assume you felt really comfortable as a band at this point to actually record a disc?
As for the 6 track, most of them will be on the album “Corruption Within” due out in Sept/Oct 2000. The CD was almost a private release and we know there is a much larger public for it than we have reached so far.
With the hype about the Maiden thing we wanted to be ready to post a decent production to any promoter or record label interested, all of a sudden, when the brave new world would have begun … so it was a bit rushed but I think the songs are still very mature.
I am glad to see that these songs will not be forgotten. Who produced “6 Track” and where? Did the finished product sound the way that you had hoped? What is the significance of the name “6 song mini album”? It seems like an odd name for a bands first release.
Karl (Groom) produced our material so far (including the additional recordings that we have just finished) and we are so happy with his input. He is just incredible. He did not try to put his ego on the board, he simply synthetised what ShadowKeep was all about: power and emotion.
Its has the feel and diversity of a full cd as there are bands out there today who are putting out CDs of only 35 to 40 minutes of music.
.Are there any songs that you are especially proud of on “6 song mini album” cd?
I’m tempted to say I like them all but then I have my favourites but still find that they all are very special to me in different ways. Overall, “Altar of Madness” and “Silver Sword” are the ones I’d certainly want everybody to listen to. The middle bit in “Cast Out” is by far my best presentation on the CD and I’m particularly proud of the background vox where I sound like a dozen bikers outraged by pop music hahaha…. Murder is the band’s favourite song as it is such a great song to play live!
To change gears a bit.. Rogue, you yourself have a great vocal style reminiscent at times of both Midnight of Crimson Glory and Geoff Tate of Queensryche. At least that is what it seems like to me. Who do you count among your influences both vocally and musically? What bands or CDs are you listening to now?
None of the above really. I am very much influenced by Tom Mallicoat (Lethal) which is why I have that “Tate” curse on me I suppose as well as Warrel Dane. If you listen to the Bridge of “Cast Out”" or Corruption” (on the forthcoming album) it will become obvious that Warrel’s mark is on me.
I believe I have heard that you are from Belgium? Did you move to England for the music scene?
Well, music wasn’t the main reason for me to move to England although I must say I was expecting a Metal scene a bit more healthier. My first attempt to find a band over here were pretty frustrating. In fact I took a break of almost 18 months before I joined SK and it was more or less the first time I was singing in that long period when I turned up to the audition.
What do you think of the music scene in the UK now?
It is a bit better than it was the last few years but the magazines are just not giving any support to traditional Metal as yet. It is all about K**n and Slipknot and the likes but with Maiden back they will try to catch another rainbow very soon, no doubt about that. I’m not that excited about the Maiden reunion myself but I think if this doesn’t sort out things over here than nothing will. It is a great hope for any British Metal band!
Back to the new CD. “Corruption Within” Can you tell me anything about it? Will it be more of what we heard on “6 Song Mini album”?
The material we just recorded is pure ShadowKeep and it is difficult for me to say I am not excited about it! It just reinforce my impression that we are truly finding new ingredients for every song. The album will contain 10 or 11 songs and they will all be a different angle of our song writing skills.
When do you expect it to hit the stores and do you have any plans to do an extended tour behind the release of this CD? Will you be getting to North America to do any shows? Also did you do any touring behind “6 Track Mini Album”?
The album should be out in Sep/Oct and certainly before the end of the year. I hope we will be touring soon after that but I think this time we’d like to support a great act rather than doing a headline tour as we did last march (4 dates in the Benelux – where the Euro Cup just took place). Supporting Dio brought us much more interest from the press and our egos can wait a bit for the day we’ll be ready to fill up a stadium in Athens. I’d like the band to do a few dates in the states but obviously the logistics and cost is out of reach for a newcomer like us right now. I can’t say for sure we won’t play the states in 2001 and it is only a dream at the moment.
What was it like to play live with one of the legends of metal? Did you meet him and how is he offstage?
He is very friendly but as all superstars his environment is very claustrophobic. He was overprotected and he did give me the impression he regretted all this artificial world around him but then again sometimes you must be freed up of the more extreme behaviors coming from your fans so I guess it has to be that way… unfortunately.
Thanks for your time Rogue.
That’s cool!! no problem man!!!!!!!
If you would like to learn more about Shadowkeep drop by their website at www.shadowkeep.co.uk