The long-awaited album from Canada’s hard-rock outfit Within Shadows is finally upon us. Face to Face brings through an epic collection of passionately crafted new songs, fusing metal and melody with heartfelt outpourings on life.
Sean Farias is the man behind the music – we caught a second interview with him to find out how much things have changed over the last couple of years and what his hopes are for the new release, among other things. It was a real pleasure to catch up. Here’s the conversation in the full.
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Hi Sean – great to chat with you, congrats on the album release! We spoke to you a couple of years back I believe – what have been the main changes or developments in the band since then?
Hey Stereo Stickman. It is great to be back talking with you guys after a few years. Thank you so much for the congrats. This album has certainly been one of my biggest accomplishments and is the first musical project I have ever put out that I can 100% confidently say I am happy and proud of in every way.
Some of the biggest changes since we last talked are that the band had members leave and I regained control of the project as a whole. Sort of coming back to its roots to how I started it originally. Just me and a bunch of tracks exploring my mind and emotions. I have been lucky enough to work with many other talented musicians on tracks as well as work with many great people/companies to help promote my music on a bigger scale than before.
What does the album Face To Face represent or mean for you?
Face to Face represents a new chapter in my life as a whole. Creatively I am doing the same metal genres but at a higher level of playing and sound production. Lyric writing wise, I have done my absolute best to step up with the academics of it and the emotion conveyed. In the past my writing was very cookie cutter bland, but I believe I have accomplished bringing it to a more respectable level. The sound and engineering of this album is the best I have ever released, huge thanks goes to my very good friend Derek Petricka, for having a huge hand in on helping me achieve that. This whole album represents my growth as a musician and writer and I’m happy to have the last few years of putting out music to this release to showcase that with putting the work in, anyone can truly master their craft and become better and better. Content wise, this album represents me expressing my emotions in regards to big things that have happened in my life over the last few years. Friendships, relationships, losing people and more. It also dabbles in my depression and anxiety, plus my views on the world we live in. It really conveys how I am pushing through all these things in my life that are thrown at me, but I will always be scarred from them and never truly the same person.
You welcomed a few collaborators on board for this project, how did you decide when or where to feature guests, and does your creative approach change when new artists get involved?
I welcomed on 4 collaborators for this album. Oshie Bichar of Beartooth/City Lights, Lucas Mann (Rings of Saturn), Derek Petricka (Inflict) and Joe Farias (Intruder X). For the most part I was lucky enough for these guys to want to work with me already or I reached out to them proposing the idea. They are all some of my biggest idols and influences in music, and it was an insane experience working with them. Creatively we all just mesh and work very well together. Plus, they are all in or like the same genres that I create from as well, so they are always very coerced in the song writing and performing for them.
As for writing, I gave them all small direction on what I was aiming for with the specific songs we each worked on together. But in the end, I wanted them all to bring to me their own style and creative ideas to the songs and their parts. If they can do what they do best, what I love them for and showcase that, that will make me the happiest.
Will you be performing live much over the coming months, and if so, what can audiences expect from the shows?
Depending on how everyone takes the new music and if online promotion goes well will be the determining factor.
Which of the songs on this project would you recommend to listeners who only have time to check out one (and why)?
I would highly recommend anyone to check out the song Our Revolution. It is my biggest song now and I work with Oshie Bichar of Beartooth/City Lights. I like to look at this song and working with him as one of my biggest accomplishments to date. This song is a showcase of what I do and my best work. His vocals very much amplify the quality as well. I also very much like the riffs, music and lyrical content/message given in this song too. Anyone can listen to and appreciate the work put it. So far to as I am writing this, it is performing the best on my music platforms, and the overall response to it has been extremely positive.
What’s the songwriting process generally like for you lately?
The song writing process has always been the same for me. I do whatever I am literally feeling like doing on that given day and at that given time. If I feel like writing a metal song I will, lately I have been working on some hip hop and lighter genres. I never force myself to do anything though. That has been what I have learned over the years of making music. My best work and the most enjoyment I get from doing this is by not forcing myself to do it and just tackle it whenever I am super motivated to do so. I will start by piecing together an instrumental, and then think of a topic that fits the vibe of the song. From there I write the lyrical content and then lay down vocals. I heavily mix and review each song now. Sometimes for weeks on end just one song. Then once it’s final mixed it is mastered for release.
Do you always pour your personal experiences and feelings into the songs, or does fiction play a part?
I like to be extremely real with my audience, because this is the most relatable and effective way of reaching to them. This is also how I have always wanted to write my music as. To this day I believe every song I have written has been extremely raw and true to my emotion and what I have experienced. I do see myself sort of story writing lyrics in the future to try and create some new kind of content instead of rehashing the same stuff as before. I feel it’s always good to try new things and I will be doing more fictional and story writing for my lyrics soon.
On a similar note, do you ever worry about getting too personal on record, or do you find it therapeutic and a more genuine way to connect with listeners?
I really don’t worry about any of that once I am in front of a microphone and writing music. I want everything I say to be the most genuine to my listeners. At the end of the day, I make this music for me because it is my way of venting and artistically expressing my emotions in a constructive way instead of going online and complaining or doing other things. I will always talk about anything I want to or feel is necessary with no censoring. And the feeling knowing that the people that listen to me respect that and relate to that means everything. I have had people personally tell me that my music has helped them get through some very dark places in their lives and that is one of the most incredible feelings knowing it helps others.
With the recent return of some classic hard rock and metal bands from yesteryear (Slipknot as an example), what are your thoughts on the current rock landscape, and your hopes for the future?
The current rock landscape is very much alive and doing well. A lot of people talk down about the genres and say they are dying, but I very much believe they will live forever. So many iconic people and songs have lived on throughout these generations of rock and metal, paving the way for so many other musicians and bands. They have all influenced other people to pick up the genres and connect on a spiritual level.
When I go to rock and metal shows live, I see like-minded individuals – and a lot of them, may I add. The community is huge and very awesome. I see the future being very bright and only continuing to grow and give many more people big opportunities and for us all to enjoy even more awesome bands and songs.
Our writer Chris commented on the brilliant manner in which you’re able to contrast gentle vocal moments with those that utterly scream out. What advice could you give to up and coming rock vocalists who are yet to master the art of performing in a versatile and captivating manner?
The straight up honest advice that I can give any up and coming vocalist is to never stop pushing yourself to learn and PRACTICE. I have been screaming for around 5 years now and singing for just as long. I didn’t start good from the get go by any means. I sounded absolutely horrible. But I didn’t let that get to me, I just kept trying to learn what I was doing wrong and just keep trying to do it everyday. Everyday for about 20 minutes or more while I’m driving somewhere, whether it be to work or to hang out with someone – I would be practicing both singing and screaming to my favorite songs. Whether it be Attack Attack!, Beartooth, Northlane, Slipknot, etc. I would be trying to learn the techniques other vocalists that I love were doing literally by trying to do it myself.
The biggest hurdle for my sound and professionalism was confidence. I had too much anxiety to be able to do it properly. With help from conquering those anxieties by playing shows live in front of people to just recording more and more songs in my studio room, these things really helped take down the barrier I was facing to achieve a good sound and technique. From there, once you start doing it properly, healthy and professional, you can really start to shape your voice and technique into something unique and of your own.
If you could sit down to lunch with anyone at all, past or present, who would you invite – and what would you ask them about?
If I could sit down with anyone and share that time it would have to be my Grandpa, Joe Farias Sr. who has been passed away for many years now. He is one of my biggest influences in my music career and also life in general. If it wasn’t for him and being so brave and smart, he would have never come to Canada from overseas and started our family here giving the rest of the past generations of our family the opportunities we have. He was also an incredible musician, able to play so many different instruments and was so talented. I’d love to just be able to sit down with him one more time and just talk to him about a lot of things. Also, get more of his insight on stuff with music and life, plus what he also experienced throughout his life.
What’s next for you – what are your main ambitions going forwards?
My main ambitions now are to heavily promote this new album. I am the happiest I have ever been with this work and I want as many people as possible to hear it and see how far I have come. Other than that I plan on creating more content. I have some projects open with other musicians and friends exploring some different genres and new things. I also plan on creating more songs and videos in relation to the heavy stuff I already make.
Is there anything else we should know?
I want you and everyone to know how much I truly appreciate you. Thank you for your time Stereo Stickman. It has been so cool being able to talk again after so many years. Everything you have done for me and all the other amazing talents you have worked with means a lot! I also want to thank everyone who has stuck by me over these years of music and anyone who is new and supporting. I love you all so much and I want you to know you are all my family. If you ever need me, I am here for you, and I hope you know that without you I wouldn’t be the person who I am today. Thank you for listening to Within Shadows and appreciating my work. Love you all!
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