When Ohio-based metalcore band Attack! Attack! collapsed in 2013, no one was more shocked and disappointed than its composite members. While many of them scattered into various other heavy projects – Caleb Shomo went on to form Beartooth, Austin Carlile moved on to life with Of Mice & Men – drummer Andrew Wetzel, disillusioned by his experience with the unforgiving side of the music industry, fell quiet. Until now.
It was with tentative steps that Wetzel agreed to re-enter an industry he had grown to despise. “I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in another band at first,” he says. “But [me and Andrew Bayliss, guitarist] were talking for a couple of weeks after being put in touch by a mutual friend. He was living in Ocean City, Maryland at the time and had sent some demos over. Next thing I know I put a bunch of shit in my car, clothes and laundry basket and started travelling to meet this guy.”
Nine Shrines is the product of Wetzel’s decision to face the industry again. A pummelling blend of modern metalcore, it sees Wetzel and his bandmates return to what they do best, but this time, they’re doing it on their own terms. “[Our new EP] is for people that have been walked on their whole lives,” he explains. “We’ve all had a time when we felt like our sole purpose was to bend over backwards so everyone around us could get what they want. Some people don’t deserve forgiveness and this is the anthem of our retribution.”
We catch up with the band to hear more about their new EP, and find out what they have planned for next.
Can you introduce yourselves - who does what and your roles in the band?
Chris: I’m Chris, and I sing in Nine Shrines.
Evan: I’m Evan, and I play rhythm guitar in Nine Shrines.
What’s the story behind how you guys met and started making music together?
Chris: Well Baylis (Guitar) and Wetzel (Drums) started the band a few years back and picked me and Evan up after they lost their original singer Sam Sky. We’ve been working together with the line-up we have now for about two years.
You’ve been involved in successful bands before. How does this compare or differ to what’s come before? Was there an extra pressure given your history?
Evan: If anything, I feel like we all felt a relief of pressure being in this band. Knowing we had a team of guys who could step up to the plate has made us confident in this next step in our lives. Every bit of success we have collected has led up to this band.
What’s the story behind the new EP?
Chris: We’ve all been in bands that either WERE something, or could’ve BEEN something. In all five of our cases, we’ve had those opportunities taken away from us. Misery is the product of our pent up aggression. It’s a record we’re proud of and one I hope people can relate to. It’s a middle finger to every soul-sucking criminal in the music business.
What drew you to the themes you cover on it?
Evan: The music industry is a brutal place. It’s taken us to some dark places in our lives, but everyone has something or someone that creates misery for them. This touches on everyone’s dark places.
What do you hope people will take away from the EP and your music in general?
Evan: I hope they take away a sore neck from headbanging. We take our music very seriously, but we also want people to rock out and have fun. This is rock’n’roll at the end of the day, it’s supposed to be a release.
How was the process of cutting your EP? Did it all go smoothly, or were there any hiccups?
Chris: Honestly, we had NO IDEA what we wanted at first. We tried multiple different sounds and after really spending time together and figuring each other out, we saw similar stories in our past. Thus, Misery was born.
What’s your favourite story/anecdote from recording the EP?
Chris: We solidified our line-up and went straight into the studio. Evan and I barely knew the guys and we set aside two weeks to head out to Ocean City, Maryland and begin working with Baylis and the other guys. Those two weeks of “hard work” turned into two weeks of drinking in Downtown OC. [Laughs] We got zero songs done.
You’ve shared dates and received support from bands like Volbeat and Halestorm. How did that feel?
Baylis: It’s amazing to share the stage with bands you listen to and look up to.
How was the recent tour?
Wetzel: The tour is ongoing and so far it has been a ton of fun for us.
What do you hope people took away from seeing you on tour?
Wetzel: We hope they see how much we love doing this and how much effort we put into getting out to play.
What do you have planned for next?
Wetzel: We’re working on filling up our schedule with more tour dates.
Nine Shrines’ debut EP, Misery, is out now via Mascot Records.