SHADOW KEEP can be seen as one of the most interesting newcomers in the British Metal scene. Their new album “A Chaos Theory” sounds very mature and slowly the band gets rid of their image of being a QUEENSRYCHE copycat. Guitarplayer Nicki Robson was more than glad to provide us with a little bit more information about this new album and tell us about the vicissitudes of the band. A band, that saw vocalist Rogue M. Vox leave, right before this interview got published. Those things are never pleasant, but I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more from this band, who have already found a new singer. And I’m not saying these things without a reason. All facts are listed here and it’s about time to straighten out some things in this “Chaos Theory”....
“A Chaos Theory” is the title of the new, second SHADOW KEEP album. Maybe you can explain this title to us?
Nicki: " “A Chaos Theory” is about the universe and it's ultimate distruction and rebirth. This is more of a question for Rogue, so when you do speak to him make sure you have a whole day free as it may take a while. Alternatively go to: wwwchaosgenesis.com."
Can you tell us a bit more about the songs on the new album? Do they form a certain concept, and what are the lyrics about?
Comment from Rogue: " “ACT” is indeed a concept album. It is a mixture of philosophy, theology and post-newtonian scientific arguments. Up until recently, sciences (not mentioning religions) were deterministic in the sense that they provided an answer to our inner fears. Not so much an answer, but an illusion of security. 20th century theories are much more pleasant in my view, because they stress the complexity surrounding us. It still makes sense to study phenomenons throughout the universe but now we have that essential humble approach that makes us creative on our way to understand our condition. That is what the Hindus implied with the meaning of the abhaya: Fear is an illusion. Everything that has been created must be destroyed, so why worry?"
Do you think there are there any significant differences between “A Chaos Theory” and your previous album “Corruption Within”?
Nicki: "I think there are quite a few differences between the two albums. “A Chaos Theory” has a darker sound and is a bit heavier and also a bit more technical. I think the songs are more mature, which shows we have progressed since the first album, but it’s not a complete departure from what we were doing this is something we would never do."
Does the artwork of the new CD have a deeper meaning, that you’d like to explain to us?
Nicki: "The cover is connected with the track “Chaos Genesis”. The lyrics go as follows: “I'm lost, I die, will I rise from the ashes? The phoenix is rising from the Earth, which is burnt and blackened which signifies the rebirth." "
We all know that Steve Scott has left the band, and is being replaced by Steve ‘SK’ Kightley. Why did he leave?
Nicki: "Steve Scott quit the band for personal reasons."
How did you get in touch with the other Steve, who plays the bass on the new album?
Nicki: "I responded to his add, which I found on the net. However, Steve Kightley did not play on “A Chaos Theory”. It was Steve Scott."
Very recently, we also heard that your singer Rogue M. Vox has left the band. Why did he leave SHADOW KEEP?
Nicki: "He wanted to pursue other musical projects in the future. Check his personal website for more info."
Did you find a replacement for Rogue yet, and maybe you can introduce him to our readers?
Nicki: "Yes, Rogue has handed the microphone over to Richie Wicks, who has worked with ANGELWITCH before and has most recently finished working on the latest TYGERS OF PAN TANG album."
SHADOW KEEP played at the Bang Your Head Festival in Germany. How was that experience for you?
Nicki: "The Bang Your Head was great not only to play Germany, but for the atmosphere and to play to a metal audience. For me, meeting Geoff Thorpe was the best being such a huge VICIOUS RUMORS fan and him down the front at my gig, it was unreal!"
Last year you also played at the Bloodrock Festival in England, together with SAXON and GLENN HUGHES. Can we speak of a metal revival here or is the metalscene still as dead as a doornail in your homecountry? (except for SHADOW KEEP then of course!)
Nicki: "Bloodstock is the only decent festival in the UK. The metal scene in the UK is getting better more bands are coming over, but it is still very underground."
Nicki, how does it feel to be one of the very few female metal guitarist in your home country?
Nicki: "It makes me feel good in some ways, because I have had to work very hard to get to the standard I am now. It also makes me feel disappointed that so many female musicians give up, because they realize it is a little bit more tricky than putting your make up on! One of my friends plays guitar. She is very good. In fact, she has been playing for twenty years and is currently looking for a band."
Who are your influences?
Nicki: "My influences are VICIOUS RUMORS, CRIMSON GLORY, LEATHERWOLF, WASP, PHANTOM BLUE, SANCTUARY, etc."
You also played at the Headbangers Open Air Festival in Germany this Summer. On this bill, you’ll mostly find the big names in the underground scene, while on Bang Your Head, we see all the big names in the metal scene. You played at both festivals. Do you consider yourself as a big name in the underground scene, or as a good newcomer in the ‘premier league’?
Nicki: "This is a difficult question. I think we are popular in the underground scene and feel very proud to be part of that scene, but I would like to believe we have the potential to be in the premier league."
You already supported great bands like DIO and HALFORD. I guess that you can tell us some nice stories about these tours? Maybe about some funny or interesting things that happened during these gigs? Did you actually get in touch with DIO and ROB HALFORD? And did they give you full support?
Nicki: "Unfortunately, we only did one date with each band. The DIO support came through Bob Schoemaker and HALFORD we got from Olivier Garnier and Limb Music. We only met them briefly, because they were very busy. I met DIO only, because I went into the wrong dressing room. He was doing an interview at the time. I said “sorry” and made a quick get away towards the bar. On the way to the HALFORD gig in Paris myself and Chris ordered a really hot curry for everybody, but the trouble was they are not used to eating hot food. The thing you have to realize is that Rogue may look a small guy, but he eats for Belgium and between Rogue, Chris and all that spicy food well the bus didn't smell too good and the driver didn't seem to find it funny!"
ANGELWITCH is also back in the scene. We know that Scott Higham also plays the drums for this band. Isn't ’t extremely difficult for him to combine his work for SHADOW KEEP, with his work for ANGELWITCH?
Nicki: "ANGELWITCH have only recently reformed and are not very busy. His main band will be SHADOW KEEP. (Note: Scott has left ANGELWITCH in the meantime)"
When will the new tour start, and will you be supporting any big names or are you doing a headline show this time? Is there a special band, that you would like to go on tour with?
Nicki: "Nothing is planned at the moment, but we would love to tour. I would like to tour with EVERGREY, because they are one of my favouite bands or perhaps VICIOUS RUMORS or KAMELOT."
What are the future plans for SHADOW KEEP?
Nicki: "To promote “A Chaos Theory” as much as possible and to go on tour."
Do you have any messages for the readers of HEADACHE magazine?
Nicki: "I would like to thank everybody for their interest in SHADOW KEEP and believing in the band."
The last words are for you....
Nicki: "It is great for myself and Chris, Scott, Steve and newcomer Richie to be playing the music we love, but more strangely being compared to all the bands we have grown up listening to.
Interview by: Toine van Poorten
(translated and published in HEADACHE magazine, Netherlands - Jan./Febr. 2003)
Current line up:
Richie Wicks- vocals
Nicki Robson- guitars
Chris Allen- guitars
Steve ‘SK’ Knightley- bass
Scott Highham- drums
Shadowkeep (1999 MCD; independent)
Corruption Within (2000 CD; Limb Music/SPV)
A Chaos Theory (2002 CD; Century Media/Suburban)