Shaman’s Harvest has created their version of an old-school throwback record in a way. They threw technology in the dusty ole garage, preferring ‘vintage’ analog to digital in the creation of a truly visceral journey in sound and production. Tales of the blues, country rock, the shadows of spirits passed, gospel healing, Native American and historical hymns mixed with sounds expected from a forest ceremony or a horror movie.
Releasing July 28, sound wise, they went for a happy medium between Midwest and L.A. and are touring with Nickelback this summer and are on the road till further notice. For a band with 20 years of staying power their hunger for music and recording hasn’t diminished.
Singer Nathan Hunt discusses Red Hands Black Deeds “Yeah, we used Pro Tools to do all the editing but yeah, everything else is analog.”
Every sound is physically made by something, “Yeah it was quite the process.”
They took a more uncomfortable approach this time, not giving into repeated patterns, “It’s easy to get caught in the trap of ‘That’s the sound we’re looking for.’ Everyone uses Google maps to find your destination but then you miss out on all those weird, little backroads and shit you’d never find without it. A lot of what made the record was stuff that happened by accident, stuff that was completely different.”
It ended up becoming a unique beast, “It came out not how we were looking for it to be initially but different and better. You can definitely hear the journey, process and end result.”
The record tells a story, “That was one thing we set out initially to do was have the songs be dynamic,” Hunt says. “We didn’t wanna hash out the same song 12 times. The record itself took on a concept. It has that concept vibe all the way through. It‘ll take you on a ride, as opposed to just finding your favorite track and skipping to [it]. It helps the listeners enjoy the process that we enjoyed, as much as we enjoyed making it.”
The intro, “We actually wish it was another minute-and-a-half long like a full song. Cause it could go so many places, that was the idea behind [it], just leave it unresolved.”
It was a ceremonial delivery, “It’s gotta very ceremonial feel to it. I can see the ritualistic part, really low in the mix there’s Tibetan monk’s singing, it’s pretty ominous.”
Political elements are involved, “Yeah, some of the themes are. I kinda wanted to write about what was happening at the time as opposed to; ‘I broke up with my girlfriend and I’m so fuckin’ sad about it.’ Something that means something a little more than just a personal thing, something we’re all stuck with. Politics at the time definitely reared its head on our record.”
Social media, “I think there are enough people using social media to get their message out,” Hunt says. “It’s like there are a hundred people in a small ass room and they’re all screaming their agenda at the top of their lungs and not listening to what the next person’s saying. We try and keep the social media positive and avoid negativity.”
The cover of the record is, “It’s a fuckin’ wild hyena and there’s a vulture on the back.” Just like scavengers. “That’s their natural state. [It’s] a good representation of the way I feel when I listen to the record.”
On ‘goat toes’ used on Blood Trophies, “Goat toes actually made a bunch of appearances on the record. It’s a percussive instrument. I think it’s Latin. We used a lot of primal percussive things, a lot of indigenous instruments. What I think they are by looking at them are a pair of old goat hooves hollowed out and they just bang against each other [making a sound] that you can’t really get with anything else.” Hunt assures they are legit goat toes.
“I’m not sure how common they are. You can find them in L.A. It’s something that people actually make.”
The Scavengers song secret hoedown, “The whole record’s so heavy, not just heavy sounding, the lyrics are heavy. It just needed a little bit of levity. I mean if you listen all the way through, it puts you in a dark mood, then out of nowhere that comes in. We’re making fun of ourselves really.”
On the inspiration for recording Dirty Diana, “There wasn’t any aha moment,” Hunt recalls. “We were in the studio, we were out of songs, we already recorded everything we’d written, we were like well we got the studio booked what are we gonna do today? Somebody just started messing with the riff and we said, fuck it, let’s do it. Next thing you know, we’re off to the races.”
On different sounds used on the record, “Man, I don’t wanna give you all our secrets, there’s lots of stuff. We did a lawnmower in there, I’m not gonna tell you which song but there’s definitely one recorded in there. I was actually mowing the grass, so it was dual purpose. There’s kid’s playing down the street, all kinds of stuff. There are a couple of us reading an Onion article; you can hear that in there. I mean, the effects of people talking. That’s the tip of the iceberg, each song have things in it that are not instruments.”
It was experimentation with new objects, “Hey man, what does that thing sound like, let’s make it make noise. Next thing you know it’s making the record.”
On their experiences with the WWE, “We did a few things for WWE universe. We’re not opposed to doing more if they reached out to us and had a song in mind. We like working with those folks over there. Good people, I to this day, have working relationships with some of them. Plus, WWE Universe fans are one of a kind. So it’s good advertisement for ole Shaman’s Harvest.”
When initial contact was made, “I don’t recall, I think it was Jim Johnston, the guy that does most of the music for the WWE, he had heard Dragonfly I believe, was where it came from. He dug it and the sound for a movie they did called Legendary. We ended up doing four or five tracks for their movies. We did something for Bray Wyatt and Undertaker for Wrestlemania. It’s always nice to work with people you’re comfortable with.”
On attending a live show, “We got invited a couple times but we’ve never been able to make it work. We’re always in different cities when we’re touring, then they are. One day all the stars will align and we’ll go see a show. One of the coolest things is, on the Drew McIntyre thing, we all got video games from the song. If you play it, you can make your own character and theme song, we all play it, it’s always Broken Dreams, and the guys always seven foot tall, all muscle.”
Touring this year, “Yeah, we’re out with Nickelback and Cheap Tricks on a couple shows, till October. We’ll be putting together another tour right after that, I don’t think we’ll be home for the next couple years, it’s one of those records, till we get back in the studio.”
Being road dogs, “We toured nonstop straight until we got in the studio. Over the last record, we have no plans on resting our heads for this one. No time to rest of your laurels.”
They hope to make next year’s Rock on the Range and all the festivals here in the States.
On the band name, “My momma came up with the idea back in 1996. The band’s name was Purge and that really doesn’t leave you with a good feeling inside when you think about it. Real quick, we went through four or five different names. We made a lot of bad band name decisions before we landed on our band name. It was the best of the worst.”
Influences, “Like most people in the Midwest and South when we were cutting our chops, for a long time we were doing four nights a week in a biker bar. Skynyrd made the cut four or five times a night. The Allman Brothers is a big one for us. Gregg Allman’s passing was a big wow moment. It was unfortunate. A lot of kids who listen to music don’t know who Gregg Allman is. I don’t think people realize his influence on rock singers and writers in today’s music, but he was a huge influence to all of us out there.”
Bucket list items, “We’re living a bucket list item every day we’re able to do what we do. The goal is to always mix it up, with every record you come out with, be different from the last and you’ll never get tired of it and you’ll always have something new that you didn’t have the day before.”
Final word for fans worldwide, “Don’t be a bunch of pussies. Buy the record.”