SHAPE THE ABOVE: Bringing Feelings to Brutality

Shape The Above

Montreal progressive death metal band Shape the Above released ‘At the Hands of Loss,’ their debut full-length album and a follow-up to 2014 EP ‘Continent,’ in April this year. The eight-song release was recorded at the Wild Studio with producer Pierre Remillard (Gorguts). Read what they had to say about the album and more in the interview below.

Define the mission of Shape the Above.

Our mission is mostly to create music that we enjoy playing and hopefully people will enjoy it too!

Tell me about the creative process that informed your debut album At the Hands of Loss and the themes it captures.

The creative process was quite long, it’s not that easy to have many different writers in a band since everyone has to be on board with the songs and there’s a lot of compromises to be made, but at the end, it was for the better. When it comes to the themes in the album, there’s two parts, the musical theme and the lyrical theme. We mostly knew the order of each song even before we were done writting because of whats was happening in the story of the record. At the Hands of Loss is a concept album about what you would do for a loved one that you lost, it is about life and death, and it is about the fact that there’s no begining without an end. For the musical themes, some ideas are repeated throughout the album, for example, the album starts almost exactly as it ends. I could talk about it for hours!

At the Hands of Loss

What is the message you are trying to give with At the Hands of Loss?

There’s not a definitive message because it’s more of a story, but something that I wanted to do was to bring feeling into the album with the lyrical content. There’s not that many metal bands that talk about loosing someone to sickness or about love. The song “Pale” is a great example of that. Even before I wrote the lyrics to this song, I knew exactly how it needed to feel musically. It is about sickness, feeling helpless and wanting to trade you life for the well being of someone you love, so musically it had to be really dissonant, twisted and heavy. To sum it up, we tried to bring feeling to a genre that is mostly made to be brutal.

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

The majority of the music came from jaming ideas back in forth with everyone. We didn’t write anything down while we were in the process of writing the album. It’s not ideal but it worked for us.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes, we tried to make the songs flow as seemlessly as possible while changing the pace. The whole structure of the album was defined pretty early in the writing process and we had a general idea of the feel that we wanted for each songs.

Describe the approach to recording the album.

We wanted the album to sound like an actual perfomance. We chose to record at the Wild Studio with Pierre Remillard because we knew he could bring out the best of us and really capture the sound we were looking for. Wild Studio is basically in the middle of the woods, we had to live and breathe this album 24/7, it was pretty great!

How long At the Hands of Loss was in the making?

It’s been four years in the making. There’s a song that we had written while recording our first  EP. I think we grew alot in those past four years and it’s mainly why the album sounds as differently from our earlier stuff.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

For this record The Contortionist, Gorguts, Revocation, Opeth and many others actually. One of the main reason we decided to record at the Wild Studio was because Gorguts recorded Colored Sands there.

What is your view on technology in music?

In our opinion, technology is a great creative tool for us. Nowadays I think it’s easy to fall in a mindset where you can fix everything digitally and everything can end up feeling to perfect. A little imperfection here and there can be a good thing.

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

We don’t take ourselves that seriously but maybe the music and the lyrics will resonate with some people. We tried to convey a lot of emotions in the record and we hope that people will feel most of it.

What are your plans for the future?

Who knows what the future has in store for us, but we hope to reach as many people as possible with the album.

Thanks for the interview!

At the Hands of Loss is available from Bandcamp. Follow Shape the Above on Facebook.

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