We are here today with ABOVE THIS, a Metal Core/Death Core band born in Norfolk/Virginia Beach. Their last album “7L7”, released in August, is enjoying a great success. Even in the web, the reviews and comments from listeners of this music genre seem to be positive. But now we try to know ABOVE THIS more closely, and let’s see what band’s vocalist, Shawn O’Brien, has to say…
1. Hello Shawn! I’m Sylvi from Metal Shock Finland. Happy to do this interview with you .. lets start from the origins: How did you meet and how you decided to form a band?
I met Thomas Buser onlone about a year ago, it was on youtube after i had been viewing some of his instrumental tracks that he has posted up. I hit him up and he agreed to work with me on a sample project so that i could try my vocals out with his music. Little before we knew it, we had a band going.
2. Do you guys get along well?
Me and Thomas have a relationship that is hard to explain. We know how to work to get things done and get our music out there in a record time. But the fact that i live in the U.S and he lives in Germany, changes the relationship factor because i have never met him in person. But as for conversation and friendship i feel that if we ever did meet in person, i’m sure we would get along like brothers.
3. Do you feel satisfied of your last work?
Our last work was our recent album “7L7”, 7L7 was by no doubt rushed, the song 7L7 was suppose to be just a single that we would release. But after we heard the final version of it, we knew we had something good going on here and we decided to start writing an album. We started to record the 7L7 album this past June, and we finished it in August about a week before the release date. It was rushed but we were satisfied with the turnout.
4. Are you already thinking about a new album?
Yes, a new album is already in the making. So far we have about 8 instrumental tracks for the new album, and hopefully the intro to the new album will be released sometime soon early 2012 just like we did for our old intro “7L7”. thats all i can say ;)
5. How’s born your passion for metal?
Growing up i always had a different mindset than anybody else that i knew. I wanted to grow up and make money by doing something that i love. But music seemed to have its tick on me, especially when i started high school. Ever since i went to my first show (which i believe was a Hawthorne Heights show) way back in the day, i’ve hooked on the whole “screaming” factor and i dreamed of being in a band. Ever since i’ve started to scream all of my friends say that there is something “special” about me and that i could go far with the right attitude and dedication.
6. Shawn, Are you afraid that reviewers judge your music as “another thing like all the other”?
The reviewers feedback is always something that an artist will agree or disagree with, it’s kind of like how movies are rated. Who gives these random people the right to judge a movie and rate it PG-13, R, etc. Especially when they aren’t even really a fan of the band they just doing another random review of 100’s of bands. But at the end of the day, feedback from our fans and judges is what we are interested in. If a review says that we sound “like every other band” then they must be listening to the wrong band because Above This vocal wise and intensity wise, stands alone apart from every other band.
What do i have different? Well, look at me. If you saw me in person you would never know that i was in a band or even listened to this type of music. But it’s all what’s on the inside. Above This is a band full of ordinary guys who have a love for the music. But we have our hard edge, and that’s what gives us the power to make this music. We strive to be different, because nowadays, different is what captures peoples attention. I feel that sounding the same as other bands and going “mainstream” just lacks the purpose of independent originality which is expected of a band when they go to wright an album. So what do we have that’s different than other core bands? We have a STORY, and man are we pissed off. lol
8. Tell me about a funny episode happened during the recording of the last album.
A funny episode was when I was going to record vocals for our song “D Rugs (Roger That)”. I woke up early just so i could get into the studio to record and i had already been memorizing the lyrics. As you could probably already tell the song is about being high on some kind of drug and just having a good time while all these random events are happening around you. But once i finished recording the song there was about a 12 second gap at the last breakdown where i was screaming ROGER THAT. Thomas asked me to do something funny or be shouting something at that last ten minutes. So i continued my day and then finally read that msg from him so i went straight back into the studio that day, i had taken my medicine and a couple shots of captain morg and was high out of my mind. So when i went into the studio and heard the final seconds of the track i just LOST IT. I started screaming while yelling and it just turned out to go perfectly with the song.
9. And now tell me a nasty fight, if there ever was.
There was never really any nasty fights that happened to me personally while growing up. I’ve always been the type of guy that gets along with just about anybody. I never start conflicts but trust me if i ever get involved in one I refuse to lose or backdown. I guess i get that from my dad.
10. Tell me what artist influenced you the most?
Blessthefall (when craig mabbitt was in it), Lower Definition, A Day To Remember, TDWP, August Burns Red, Attila. Every band
11. Shawn, what about the lyrics? from where you take the ideas?
The lyrics for 7L7 is always something that people ask me about. These lyrics are personal but slightly over exaggerated. I take events from my life that have influenced me to raise my voice and speak up, but also i use my imagination to create a world inside my head that i can just pull ideas from anytime i want. The words just come to me. I love the world and i love my life, I’m not one of those hatred foreal vocalist who throw their actual life into their lyrics. I am able to create an image and perform as that image while still possessing my normal life. It’s called acting. But with more of a personal side to it. So these lyrics become my life. I mean damn, they came from my brain. So they better be lol
12. Tell me what is the album that you listened to most this year.
Probably 7L7.. haha
13. With your fans, how do you act? You prefer to be open, or stay closed into your world?
For our fans we prefer to be open and there for them. I built Above This from the ground up with my own two hands. I know exactly what it’s like to be at the bottom and not have anywhere to go. So for our fans, I wish i could shake every single one of there hands, and possibly take a shot ;)
14. Before closing this interview, tell me a reason to listen to your latest work, 7L7!
A good reason to listen to 7L7, well it’s like an updated version of deathcore, hardcore as it is today. Here you have this normal guy who lives a normal life. Nothing wrong with him nothing crazy has happened in his life really. But he has a lot to say that other can relate to and at the end of the day being HEAVY is our favorite thing to do. So if you wanna hear some crazy ass heavy metal that will make you shake on the inside. Listen to 7L7.
Thanks Shawn for this interview, good luck and See you next time!
Thank you, it was no problem answering these questions! Anything for the Above This fans and supporters!
-Shawn O’Brien (Vocalist for ABOVE THIS)
Interview by Sylvi Taürie