The melodic metal-core band Wovenwar whose members consist of former As I Lay Dying members Nick Hipa, Phil Sgrosso, Josh Gilbert and Jordan Mancino along with Oh, Sleeper vocalist Shane Blay released their debut self titled album this past summer and since then have been out on the road non-stop in support of the release. Media Mikes had a chance to talk with vocalist Shane Blay prior to the bands performance in Rochester, NY about his joining the group, the creation of the new album and the status of his previous band.
Adam Lawton: How did your joining the band come about?
Shane Blay: Nick and I were in a band together from the time we were 14 till about 19 called Evelynn. We were both the guitar players. After that he joined As I Lay Dying and I joined Between the Buried and Me. Somewhere along the line I started singing and Nick had sort of followed what I was doing with Oh, Sleeper. A few months after whatever happened with Tim I was out on Warped Tour with Oh, Sleeper and the guys hit me up. They played me some of the stuff they were working on and I thought I could do some stuff over it and after the Warped tour ended I flew out to Josh’s studio and the first day I was there we wrote “All Rise”.
AL: Were there any reservations about coming into the group at the time that you did due to the stuff with Tim being still pretty fresh?
SB: I didn’t really have any reservations however I was a little nervous about taking a new spot. I am a lead guitar player so being the lead vocalist/guitarist was going to be different. I also was concerned about the backlash that could happen being that I am more of a singer and not a screamer. I can do that a little but it’s nothing something I care too much for. I had that in the back of my mind along with people’s ideas that I replaced Tim. This was not the case as Wovenwar is a new band.
How much did you have to adjust your style of singing/playing to fit in with what the band was doing?
I don’t think I really have taken any different approaches to how I have always done things. I had gotten down the playing and singing thing with Oh, Sleeper as I was doing some lead playing and singing so luckily I had gotten that down quite awhile ago. (Laughs)
AL: How much of the material on the album was completed when you came in?
SB: I think there were about 5 usable songs that were done. The guys weren’t quite sure which direction they wanted to go in as they could have easily gotten someone who could scream and do stuff like Tim did so there was a lot of material done in that style. When they sent me “All Rise” it had versus and choruses and I knew I could do stuff over that. Once we solidified that I was going to be the guy we wrote the rest of the record in about a month. Going back to when I first got “All Rise” I sort of procrastinated on writing for it until I was at Josh’s but it came together that day, we recorded it and then sent it to Metal Blade Records. After that the song was sent to our would-be booking agent and they thought it was awesome. Somehow In Flames heard it and they instantly added us to their European tour. Before we even had any songs out we were asked to go all over Europe which was pretty crazy.
AL: Did your writing style/process change at all?
SB: Once I was in I knew that we wanted to be marketable as a rock entity. I always tend to take a the classic approach to writing as with Oh, Sleeper I would mess with that structure a little bit but I like having verses, chorus and pre-choruses as I feel it gives people something to latch on to. That style certainly flowed over to this record
AL: With everything happening so fast for the band what has it been like getting more comfortable with your material out on the road?
SB: It’s been awesome. The tour we just finished with Periphery was our first U.S. tour on the record and it was great getting to see what people in our home country thought of the material. It’s been really awesome seeing all the great reactions night after night. We have another tour run with In Flames booked and I am sure that is going to be just as great. After that there are talks to do a headlining Euro tour which should be a lot of fun
AL: Where are things at with your involvement in Oh,Sleeper?
SB: We are sort of on an indefinite hiatus right now. After Warped Tour we all agreed to put the band on the back burner. We hadn’t gotten bigger or smaller but we had the greatest fans and we didn’t want to abandon anyone. We all have financial responsibilities so we needed to take time away. I was the only one not getting married so the chance to join Wovenwar came at just the right time. I miss Oh, Sleeper as that was a band I started and I am going to finish it but I have to get the time to be able to do that. We were supposed to do another EP but I really want to do a full length album and one more tour to end on a high note.