Recently I was able to conduct an interview with new French traditional heavy metal act Shining Steel. A big thank you goes out to Raskal at Metal Integral who translated the interview for me.
Andy-How did Shining Steel come about? How did you guys form the band?
Shining Steel-First of all thanx Andy for your interest in our band and and we have to say it’s rare to see people that are in Underground medias that buy the band’s stuffs ! SHINING STEEL in fact was born by accident with the help from Raskal / METAL INTEGRAL ! Seb and I were playing mostly Rock songs for some years, and sometimes Raskal (a long times friend) come to visit me and we were playing together music for fun. In 2009 he asked us to do a Hard Rock song because he thought we were able to do one. September 2009 we did “Voler” and immediately Raskal said “ Do 5 other songs in the same style and with METAL INTEGRAL we produce a MCD” ! I must admit I never believe a word of that first…but with Seb we trust Raskal and we composed 5 other songs rapidly, it was natural for us so we didn't have to think a lot to find the ideas… When we finished the 6 songs Raskal said “OK that’s great” and then we were talking about the fact we have now to become a band to realise the MCD ! One night I was on the way to quit Raskal’s house and just near the door he said “SHINING STEEL !” I said “What SHINING STEEL ??” …He told me “This is the name of your band, what do you think of that ?”…..I said yes that it sounded positive and fresh but also 80’s ! And then the story was on the way ! 4 months later we had 500 MCD in front of us and we were really stupefied that all this became reality !
Andy-Heavy Rockers is a killer record. For such a young band how is it you have such a classic sound?
Shining Steel- Thanx for your words about “Heavy Rockers” ! For us it’s not again perfect but we are proud of the songs, this is what we like ! About the sound I always played with that sound, so it wasn't difficult to do it ! But we know for the future that I have to find a unique kind of sound to make something more pleasant. We were already fan of Hard Rock and Rock in the 80’s, so this sound is for us natural ! I know we couldn't’t do a “modern sound” tomorrow, because we want to stay “roots” and what we are.
Andy-What sort of bands helped shape your sound? Who did you guys grow up listening to?
Shining Steel- As I told you we are quiet different in the “Heavy Metal world” as we only start to listen to 80’s stuffs (Underground) only since 2010 with the help of Raskal. But we can say we have “our sound” and we copy no one. When you are musician, things come naturally and once again we don’t want to sound like this or this other band. We don’t have any career plans or stuff like that ! We are just here for our pleasure first, then for the pleasure of those who can find positive sensations listening our songs ! But some people told us they found in parts of our songs some 38 TONNES, ATTENTAT ROCK, SQUARE, WARNING touches ! Also some found that our spirit is the same as the bands that played in the 80’s, and that’s a great honour for us to read that…but we are far to be so professional as most of these brilliant bands from the 80’s could be !
Andy-Do you find your language to be a barrier? It must be hard getting your foot in the door when people find out you sing in French. Is there still a backlash against heavy metal bands who don't sing English?
Shining Steel- Well let me ask you a question….Imagine tomorrow the universal language in Rock Metal music is “French”,… but you don’t speak French…Will you stop play and sing your songs, only because of this ? And do you prefer a good singer in its own language or a bad singer singing in English ? But in the other side you”re right, some Metal fans only listen bands with English singers…So a French band, with two musicians only, singing in French and playing old Hard / Heavy style can be taken as a “joke” by some people ! Then I know most of the fans prefer SORTILEGE sung in French rather than sung in English, so I think if the songs are good, French, Italian or greek singing, that’s not important !
Andy- Your demo made quit a splash on metal blogs. Were you surprised by all the interest? Especially here in the States interest was high for a classic sounding metal act. Is traditional heavy metal on the way in?
Shining Steel- For sure that it was a surprise ! Imagine we are living in a small village in the mountains, near Chambéry, till SHINING STEEL only few friends listened our Rock songs; then after the MCD Heavy Metal Shock, Raskal shown us the reviews and the words from peoples around the world…Waoooo it was amazing and unbelievable ! W sold the demo in around 17 countries and in 5 months the MCD was sold out at METAL INTEGRAL ! We’d like to thanx the Japanese, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and American Mail orders that supported us ! It seems that 80’s Metal is still on the way around the world ! Of course some people didn't liked our MCD and we can understand as we can’t be classified easily. That’s a bad point but also a positive one !
Andy-France has a rich history of heavy metal bands. Is the scene there starting to pick up steam? Are there a lot of local metal bands in your area?
Shining Steel-Well as we are “young” and we don’t know a lot of bands, we just noticed that “traditional Metal” sing in French isn’t practise a lot ! That’s perhaps why people are interesting by our songs, but in the other way we sold more CDs in foreign countries than in France…so…France is not a “Heavy Metal country” even if there are fans of these style and Underground medias. But I hope France Heavy Metal will rise again ! Right now we have really good bands such LONEWOLF (they are in our area) and we had the chance to meet Jens BORNER the leader who is a great guy and their last album The Dark Crusade is fantastic ! But in Chambéry we also have ELVENSTORM that will soon release an album in the RUNNING WILD style ! The drummer is the ex LONEWOLF one, Felix ! We also have NIGHTMARE in our area !
Andy-Shining Steel is not your normal band. Are you a studio only band?
Shining Steel-Here you go:
Yes we want to stay a studio band, I know some will be shocked or disappointed with that, but here are the reasons. First of all with Seb we found a balance in our way to compose, and if we find two or three musicians to complete the band, it will change all, and my past experience in bands shown I am maybe not ready to work with 3 or 4 persons. The problem is also money, if you want to be serious you have to pay for a local, then you have to find serious and motivated musicians that are ready to “live for SHINING STEEL”…But each time I tried to find musicians, 2 weeks after the first rehearsal, the guy phone me and say “hey sorry I can’t come tonight there is my girlfriend”… So with Seb we have girlfriends and children, but we have chosen to live for music after our families, and we prefer to continue together as it works. Of course we know some people would like to see us onstage and sing with us “Heavy Metal Shock, Fou A Lier or Black Shuck” but we are sorry to say it’s for the moment not possible.
Andy-Who are the members who played on the album?
Shining Steel-Seb that sing and me that realise all guitars, bass and drums. Generally Seb writes the lyrics and find some melodies, and I compose the songs all by myself….It’s a huge work and I passed nights and nights alone in my room to play, play and play, to record and record again the musical parts… But that’s the tribute to all musicians in the world, I am no exception!
I know I am not an excellent bass player or drummer, but I try to do my best each time.
Andy-What are your future plans?
Shining Steel- Well first to continue to sell our album and take a little break because if you noticed that, we composed non stop between August 2009 till last January and we did 15 songs (nearly one by month). So the idea with METAL INTEGRAL is to finish to sell “Heavy Rockers” till mid 2012 and to work to release a single in vinyl with two new songs just before the next KEEP IT TRUE Festival. It will be a limited edition (something like 250) copies just for our die hard fans ! We don’t want to work again with the idea of an album because it’s a lots of work. But realise some limited edition single in vinyls or MCD sounds good to us ! Then we still want one day to re release “Heavy Metal Shock in vinyl too !
Then we will searching for a session drummer that would like to work for us the drums on the future songs !
Andy-Any bands you would like to tour the U.S. with?
Shining Steel-Hehehe ! SKULLFIST ! The first band we had feelings with when we started ! Raskal gave us the MCD sent by Jacky and we immediately love that spirit and “Youth Gone Wild” Heavy Metal ! Since there we can say this band is like a cousin of something like that !
Andy-Last words for all the metal fans out there?
Shining Steel-Well, we never had the chance to visit your country that is the “Rock’n’Roll country” ! We saw guys like you Andy, support with heart small band like ours and it touched us a lot you can’t imagine ! We know we are “nothing” compare to LONEWOLF, MANIGANCE, HURLEMENT or MALEDICTION, and we respect a lot the works from these bands ! We invite you to discover French Heavy Metal and you will surely discover very good songs and bands !
Then those who wants to buy the vinyl or the “Warrior Pack” (CD + LP + Tee Shirt + 3 badges for 30 euros) have to hurry because only 105 vinyls are available (200 are already gone !).
Buy our stuffs on www.metal-integral.com ! Andy we know you have a project to share your passion about French scene and that’s great ! To finish we stop our Myspace and as we don’t have computer home (yes we are pre historic !) please contact us by Email if you need something ! firstname.lastname@example.org (for the business part) and email@example.com for the musical part, Seb the singer will answer you ! Thanx to all those who took the time to read this interview !