Chilling in the back of Newcastle Academy, George gets a chance to talk to one of the UK’s best new talents, Shadows Chasing Ghosts. Talking to guitarist Damian Cummings and singer Trey Tremain, they chin-wag about the bands trip to the land down under and why they had to stay awake on drives constantly, which bands they look up to, and what they’ve got in the pipeline for the coming months…
George: Can you say your names, and what you do in the band?
Damian: I’m Damian, and I play guitar.
Trey: …And I’m Trey, and I’m the singer.
George: Are you excited for tonight?
Damian: Yeah, definitely!
Trey: We’re stoked, really really stoked, Newcastle’s a second home to us, pretty much, so every time we come here…
Damian: We always get a good response!
George: That’s pretty much answered my next question! Why do you guys seemingly love playing Newcastle so much?
Trey: As we said, yeah, man, it’s pretty much the response, and playing here is always fucking quality, and we feel at home every time we come here.
Damian: It’s such a good venue as well! I mean, the sound’s always amazing.
Trey: Yeah, it’s not often you get to play a decent sized venue like the o2 Academy, but we’ve played quite a few venues up and down the country and all over the world now, and we still like coming back here more than anything else.
George: You’ve played a few shows in the days before this, does it count as a tour, or…?
Trey: Yeah, it’s just like a UK tour for us at the moment…
George: How’s the rest of that been?
Trey: Been good so far, hasn’t it?
Damian: Yeah, pretty good, I mean we were in Brentwood which is a local show for us, which was really good.
Trey: We played Bridlington before that.
Damian: That was a week before, erm… Leeds, and Glasgow.
Trey: Brentwood’s probably the best show we’ve had so far.
Damian: Yeah, so far… We rarely play local shows, so it’s always really good when we do play one, because everyone sort of pitches in, has a good time.
George: As an upcoming band, how important is it to you that people buy your music instead of downloading it, and buying your merch?
Trey: Well, I mean it really helps, especially with the situation we’re in at the moment, we’ve bought a new van, which is now totally fucked. [laughs] It’s even more so important now than it used to be. It helps other bands as well, like it keeps bands on the road. It keeps bands being able to go to other places, and do the things they wanna do, so it’s fairly important, but at the end of the day, people are always going to download music, I’m sure other people do it.
Damian: I feel quite honoured that somebody might of illegally downloaded some of our music!
Trey: Yeah, you Google us, Shadows Chasing Ghosts downloads or something, and you get all these Russian torrent websites, and its downloading in German and Italian places, which is nice to see in some respects, that the music’s gone that far afield, places that we haven’t gone to, yeah, it’s not the greatest thing, people shouldn’t download music, but it’s gonna happen. As long as people are listening to the music…
George: It’s nice to know it’s going that far out?
Trey: Yeah, it’s great! I mean, we’ve never been to Russia [laughs] we’d love to go, but to see the music out there on Russian websites for Russians and whatnot to download…
Damian: [laughs] Russian website for Russians!
George: You whore MySpace quite a lot! [laughs]
Trey: [laughs] Yeah, we do, we do.
George: I’ll go on sometimes at like 3 in the morning, and it’s always “Online now!” [laughs]
Trey: We’ve always got someone online, it’s usually me.
George: Do you feel it’s a useful tool for a band in your position?
Trey: Oh, yeah.
Trey: I’d say the most useful tool. Without a MySpace, we probably wouldn’t be as far as we are.
Damian: It’s a massive promotional tool, to be honest, I mean, otherwise people wouldn’t hear our stuff before a show…
Trey: Or know about the shows.
Damian: Yeah, or even know about the shows! It’s so good for promoting whatever it is you’re doing, everything from tours, to merch, to songs.
Damian: Competitions, exactly! We can pretty much use it for anything.
George: What’s your favourite show you’ve played this year?
Trey: Has to be one of the Australian shows, I’d have to say. Although saying that, last time we played Newcastle in July with Flood Of Red and The [Casino] Brawl, that was an amazing show. There’s some dudes who came dressed up as smurfs, I mean you don’t get that at many shows at all, probably actually no other shows, but again, that’s another reason why we love Newcastle so much. So that for me, was a pretty decent show. We also played here in April which was quite good, but there was a couple of the Australian shows that were pretty good.
Damian: Yeah, Sydney was pretty good.
Trey: Sydney was good, yeah.
Damian: I’ll tell you which one, [pauses] tiny little club in Gold Coast.
Trey: Oh yeah, the Nightlife?
Damian: Yeah. It was this tiny little place and it was upstairs and it was the hottest venue ever, proper sweating, and we were away with Haste The Day the first time we played there and it was [Blessed By A] Broken Heart the second time.
Trey: Yeah, Blessed show was the better of the two.
Damian: The Blessed show got loads of lights, loads of smoke, and all of this, for us it was really hot, but for them, they must of been ridiculous! They’ve got that air to breathe that’s all like smoke.
Trey: There’s been a fair few good shows. I’d say those were probably the best ones this year, definitely.
George: Well, like you said, you’ve just been to Australia, how was that?
Damian: Yeah! Chance of a lifetime. The heat…
Trey: It wasn’t as bad though, was it?
Damian: If you’re down south, it’s a lot like the UK, but if you go up north, it’s so hot.
Trey: I stayed for a week after these guys went home at Gold Coast, and it was like 30 degrees every day, it was just horrible, it was nice, but ten minutes outside it was like, “Fuck this, I’m done.” [laughs]
Damian: Everyone out there as well, was so welcoming to us. I mean like, obviously as a band from the UK, main support to two huge American bands, everyone was just so nice to us! I mean, all the promoters, everyone was really helpful promoting us and stuff, I thought it was really good.
Trey: Again, you meet so many great people over there, and that’s another good thing about it, keeping in contact with people over there, we’re planning to go back out there again, sort of middle of next year, about August time, which is quality.
Damian: I mean, it kinda proves how much MySpace helps as well.
Trey: Yeah, that’s it. We got that whole Australia deal through MySpace, from some kid in Australia that we added. He said speak to this label, get them to get you on tour over here, we’d love to see you play. Six months later, we’re fucking on a plane to Australia!
Damian: Even from the time we got there, to the time we left, I couldn’t really believe we’d done five weeks on a tour in Australia.
Trey: It went so quick as well, didn’t it?
Damian: Yeah! [laughs]
Trey: Five weeks of constant touring, it was like “Fuck, we’ve been here five weeks, it’s time to go home now” but yeah, absolutely.
Damian: The one bad thing was driving these eight-hour drives and having to stay up and watch for kangaroos.
Damian: Kangaroos, you get the wild ones, and you’re doing these long drives, and they see the lights, and they just jump out at you and total your van, like your tour van, and they jump in through your windscreens, freak out, kick you and stuff.
Trey: Thankfully, we didn’t experience it. [laughs]
Damian: We never saw one, every night we were just like [pulls a worryingly awake face] [laughs]
Trey: There was one drive that was like what, 22 hours? Sydney all the way down to Adelaide, 22 hour drive, and our tour manager was driving the whole way, and I pretty much stayed up with him in the front the whole journey, and I was getting matchsticks to hold my fucking eyes open. [laughs] Absolutely horrendous ’cause if I fell asleep, he kept nudging me saying, “Kangaroos, mate!” fuck’s sake…
Damian: …And the koala’s that jump out at you and rip your face off and you’re sitting there like [pulls a scared face] shit! [laughs]
George: How do the Australian crowds differ to UK crowds?
Damian: They’ve got a huge hardcore scene.
Trey: Yeah, it’s a bit like Europe, I guess, isn’t it?
Trey: We’ve been to Belgium a few times, and it’s got a really straight up hardcore kinda scene, and it’s kinda the same deal with Australia, but we did have kids there, who were there to see us, got involved with the shows, had a bit of a mosh, bopped along, bought shirts and stuff, it is different to the UK.
Damian: They’ve got a lot of Christian metal scenes. That sort of UnderOATH sort of stuff, but then you’ve also got hardcore, people that like Parkway Drive, people like that.
Trey: Have Heart, stuff like that.
Damian: But it was cool, I think the tours we did…
Trey: Were definitely the right bands to play with.
Trey: That was the good thing about touring with those two bands, it wasn’t too different to what we do, and the same sort of kids like that kind of music as well, which is cool. It’s a little bit different, but it’s good.
Damian: All the Australian kids love Parkway Drive, their album got to like number 4 in the charts.
Trey: The mainstream charts. For a metal band like Parkway, that’s crazy.
George: Well, you’re an upcoming UK band, what are your favourite upcoming UK bands?
Damian: Me personally…Deaf Havana. Definitely one of my favourite upcoming bands.
Trey: The Yashin boys as well, they’re in the same sort of place we’re going.
Damian: Flood Of Red!
Trey: Yeah, Flood. They seem to be getting the ball rolling again.
George: I love their new direction.
Trey: Yeah, it’s amazing isn’t it? I’ve been a fan of Circa Survive since they first came out, to hear that new album. I saw Jordan [Flood Of Red singer] last night funnily enough, in Glasgow. He was outside, he was absolutely shitfaced!
Trey: I was like “You alright, geez?” He was like [puts on a Scottish accent] “I’m just tryin’ to recover from fucking last night, I dunno what’s going on man!” [laughs] So, I let him get on his way, but yeah, those boys are amazing too. We’re off to Belgium with them as well. Mini tour in Belgium, really good stuff.
George: Who would be your dream band to play with, and why?
Trey: I’d say Saosin. I’d love to play with either them or UnderOATH.
Damian: UnderOATH, yeah!
Trey: Just because they’ve been quite a big inspiration to us as a band, as well as individually, we all listen to different types of music, different styles of music, but there’s always a few bands that we’ll all bum. [laughs] UnderOATH has to be one of them, but yeah to get on a bill with those two bands would be fucking unreal. Who else? I’d probably say mainly those two bands myself. We could go into all these kind of emo-ey bands.
Damian: Nobody’s gonna care about that, Trey! [laughs]
George: Were you fans of Finch before you went out on tour with them?
Trey: Yeah, man! I mean, to do that tour with them, they were one of the main reasons why we started the band, and started playing music, and this style, and got into the alternative kind of scene, if you like, and to get that opportunity to go and tour with them is just amazing.
George: Are you guys fans of Story Of The Year?
Damian: Yeah! That’s another band, yeah.
Trey: They’d be quality to play with.
Damian: Definitely! I’d get them to teach me that spin kick. [laughs] Then next time Matt pisses me off, [mimics spin kick] [laughs] have some of that!
George: They’re one of the only bands where their live set never seems to lose its energy.
Damian: The times I’ve seen them, it’s always just been relentless.
Trey: Me and a couple of the boys went to see them in London, the show was just unreal. We used to sit and watch their DVD, the Assassins DVD, of bonus footage and stuff, and me and our drummer used to sit before shows and get psyched up, it had loads of live footage in it as well, so those guys were quite a big inspiration to us as well, I’d love to play with them.
George: What’s in store for Shadows in the near future? Apparently, you’re going to India?
Trey: Yeah, December! We’ve got India in the pipeline, touring over there with MXPX, I mean, that’s unreal as well, I’ve been listening to those since I’ve been a kid as well, and there’s rumours of Bring Me The Horizon being on that as tour as well. There’s a poll with an Indian radio station going on at the moment, just to find the other band, they’ve got three international acts, and to have us as one of those three international acts, up with MXPX and possibly Bring Me.., that’s just crazy for us! So that’s coming up, we’ve got a tour in January, a small tour with the Yashin boys, currently being booked at the moment, just to fill up January a bit, and in February, we’ve got something being booked, but we can’t say at the moment, but that should be a whole big kettle of fish, a whole UK and European job.
George: I was wondering if you’d tour with Yashin, ’cause it seems like you’d be a good fit!
Trey: We love the Yashin boys, we’re really good mates with them. There’s a few things going down that could possibly be going on at the moment, but we can’t really say anything as it’s still being booked, but next year looks to be hopefully just as busy as this year’s been for us.
Damian: We’ll have an album out as well, we’re in the process of recording it.
Trey: That’ll be out in March, maybe.
Damian: We’re looking for a single release in like, February time.
George: Is Searchlights going to be on that?
Damian: Yeah, Searchlights will be on the album.
George: Do you have a name for it yet?
Trey: We’ve been throwing a few little names here and there, nothing that’s really gone [snaps fingers]. We do sit and talk about it quite a lot sometimes, while we’re in the van, there’s some good ideas, but nothing’s sort of stuck yet.
George: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Trey: I mean obviously the bands we’ve already mentioned today, Yashin, the Brawl, Flood Of Red, Saosin, Alexisonfire as well, Haste The Day would be great for people to listen to, Blessed, they’re not cup of tea music, but once you see them live, they’re just something else. Finch as well, people should really be listening to them.
Damian: [laughs] Or else!
George: You’re one of the first bands that hasn’t said Deftones!
Trey: See, I don’t mind the older Deftones stuff, but they’ve sort of lost it a bit for me. I was always more of a Green Day kid when I was growing up, as opposed to Deftones and miserable music. Maybe that’s just me. [laughs]
George: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Damian: Buy our merch! [laughs]
Trey: Come and buy some t-shirts online, and some CD’s. Come and see us at a show. Just keep listening to music.
Damian: We’ll really appreciate it!
Trey: Coming to shows is always important, and thank you guys for doing the interview with us, we really appreciate it!
– George Cannings.
Massive thanks to Trey and Damian for this interview; Shadows Chasing Ghosts tour almost as constantly as Random Hand – check out http://www.myspace.com/shadowschasingghosts for more details. The single Searchlights is available now.