Digital Noise Interview with Shaun

Shaun: Hi, I'd like to speak to Patrick please.

Patrick: This is him.

Shaun: Hey Patrick, it's Shaun from Seether. How you doing man?

Patrick: Great. How are you?

Shaun: Good. Thanks.

Patrick: Where are you guys at?

Shaun: Um ...Fayetteville. Arkansas I think.

Patrick: How's the road treating you?

Shaun: So far, so good man. We've been out now for a year. So, that's why we can't complain. It's actually better now than it's ever been.

Patrick: You guys have literally been on tour since the album came out, right?

Shaun: Yeah. We've basically ... we had our first American show actually, last 13th of June in L.A., so we've uh ... basically since then we've been doing it non stop. The reason why it's going so good right now is because we finally have our crew settled. The band is finally ... everyone's got the same focus and everything, so it's all cool.

Patrick: The band has gone through some personnel changes since "Disclaimer." Talk about Nick's departure and the additions of Pat and Kevin.

Shaun: Um. Nick had a different vision than the rest of us in the band. He didn't ever really want to be a part of this band. He was always talking about playing for other people. So we just decided 'you know what?' we'll make his dream come true, I guess. Basically toward the end of the whole run, he was becoming not a nice person to hang around. You know? So we decided to part through personal differences. We found Kevin through Pat, which has been awesome. Kevin is really a lot more active as far as the band goes. You know what I mean? He really wants to be here and he really is doing this for the greater good of the band and not for himself. And, just the whole atmosphere of what we do, we have fun on stage again. For the first time in a very long time. And that's really helped us out as far as ... we were reaching a point of burnout because of the fact that we didn't want to play shows because they weren't fun anymore. And now, it's like the band just started. We're out there having a great time.

Patrick: How has the band's surge in popularity affected you personally? Something had to have changed in you since the days before the record came out.

Shaun: Yeah. It's made me a more guarded person. As far as who I associate with. And as far as what you say in public. It's just really weird for me man. Sometimes it freaks me out. The bigger it gets the more it freaks me out. People become a little bit stranger. You know what I mean? They latch on to you a lot more than they normally would. Sometimes it's really disconcerting. But, you just surround yourself with friends and people you can trust and you'll be fine, you know?

Patrick: Has your outlook on the world changed during that time?

Shaun: Um. You know the world in general is not such a bad place. Most of the stuff I write about as far as the songs is more my personal stuff than an outlook on the world. I don't know. You become a lot more sympathetic towards people. When you meet people and they can't breathe cause their meeting you, it's just ... that really freaks me out. I don't understand that, you know? You get sympathetic to people. Which is a good thing. Rather than being a dick and being like 'everyone sucks, I'm cool.' You become more sympathetic to humans, which is a good thing for me because I was going through a phase of hating human beings. That was way before the band though.

Patrick: Do you have fans coming up to you to tell you how your words helped them through hard times?

Shaun: Yeah. That's always, I mean every show we play someone does that. That's why ... that's probably why I'm doing this. If I'm succeeding in one of my goals as far as the band and the music we write, then that's a really gratifying thing.

Patrick: Do you think that meaningful lyrics are missing in a lot of today's rock songs?

Shaun: I do. There's a couple of bands that I would say are real. I like Staind, their lyrics are awesome. Cold, lyrics are awesome, Saliva, Sevendust, there are some bands that deal with lyrics on a more emotional level than you know, writing something that's gonna be catchy. So, it's really cool. I think that's real important to me anyway. I've always listened to songs, there's music I listen to for the riffs and there's music I listen to for lyrics. We're just trying to combine both of those elements in our music. Put good lyrics to good riffs. At least make it meaningful and fun to listen to at the same time.

Patrick: Is it therapeutic for you to perform these songs you've written, on stage in front of an audience?

Shaun: Yeah, it definitely is. I never get sick of 'em. I never get tired of playing the songs. Some of the songs, I've been playing for eight years. I'm still totally into it. Every day it's like a therapy thing. I think for the band in general, all of us have ... we all play in the band for different reasons and at the same time a lot of the same reasons. Everyday it's like a cleansing process. It's a really huge bonding thing. Every show we play, when we get off, we'll all hug each other and that kind of thing. We're a real family there. So, I guess for all of us, it's the therapy that we need. It's our drug.

Patrick: Have you started writing new material?

Shaun: Yeah we have started, but I really am looking forward to taking some time off. The four of us, now are writing stuff together. The album as it is, I wrote musically, you know 95 percent of it. It's gonna be real interesting. It's kind of a trip too, because I'm not the only one writing right now. So, it's kind of weird to begin with. I've just embraced that. I think the next album is going to be a lot more textured and a lot more, just a lot more color and melody to the songs. Cause there's just so many more inputs, which is awesome.

Patrick: How did you first discover your musical talents?

Shaun: Um. I was always in the school choir, in junior school, or junior high or whatever. So, I knew I could sing. And then, you know, one day picked up a guitar and started playing it, I mean, five minutes later I knew a song. Then, I was totally hooked on it. Taught myself how to play, got chord books and learned how to play chords and went through the obligatory like three or four months where every time you try to change from an E minor to a D it takes like 30 seconds cause you have to figure out where to put your fingers and all that kind of stuff. I guess my mother's side of the family was real musical. My grandfather could play banjo and guitar and piano and accordion and all that. Every Sunday night, the whole family would sit around and jam. Which is really cool. So I guess I got that from my mom's side. My dad was always in choir as well. And he was a guitarist at one point, then he had an accident at one point and hurt his fingers and had to stop playing. So, it's always been in my family, you know?

Patrick: What part of South Africa did you grow up in?

Shaun: Uh. (laughs) a lot. I went to ... My dad went to ten different schools in 12 years. I guess I was in one ... two ... three ... four ... five, maybe five different schools in the twelve years I went to school. I bounced between the parents a lot. You know, whatever. There's not really ... I guess where I spent the bulk of my time is the city my dad lives in now. I grew up there. I spent ten years there.

Patrick: How rewarding is it to be able to reach people in all parts of the world?

Shaun: Man. It's especially rewarding for me, cause I know it's one of my dad's dreams. He always said, when he retires one day, he wants to get an RV and tour America. Which I've done too, you know. When we first started touring we were in an RV. For me it's kind of cool because hopefully I can get that for my dad. And if he wants to do that, I mean legitimately wants to come out and cruise around in the RV. That kind of thing has been really gratifying. Just to know I can give my dad something back. Cause we went through a couple years where I was a total tool. Did the whole teenage rebellion thing. Then you leave, you get old enough and you're like 'damn, my dad was right all along.' It's such a cliche, but that's what it was. So, at the same time, it's really cool to meet people that have no idea what our country is like, but still don't care. The music is just translated to them. Which is really cool.

Patrick: Are you looking forward to touring with 3 Doors Down and Our Lady Peace?

Shaun: Oh yeah, totally. Those guys ... I mean, everyone who speaks says those guys are the greatest guys and their career is awesome. We know it's going to be a lot of fun. We're a little bit nervous about the crowd response. We're a little bit of a different sounding band. You know, we'll just adapt ourselves to be more suitable. I think it's going to be a lot of fun.

Patrick: I was at Denver Ozzfest last year, and it seemed like people were starting to get bored as the morning wore on, and some of the bands weren't doing it for them. Then you guys hit the stage and people's attention just focused on you guys ...

Shaun: That's cool man. I think it was different for us. We started out and really felt out of place on Ozzfest. Because there was a lot of really, really heavy bands, and a lot of similar sounding bands. So we felt that we stuck out, along with Chevelle, we felt that we really stuck out because we were actually singing songs. Then we just got over that because we ... I think we thought we had to prove somehow that we had a right to be there. So we got over that and started having fun with it. It was a really awesome tour. If that's what the crowd did when we played, that's pretty cool.

Patrick: Yeah it seemed like everyone around me was just getting irritated after getting screamed at all morning …

Shaun: (Laughs).

Patrick: And you guys were a welcome change from that.

Shaun: Yeah. That's cool. Thanks man.

Patrick: What's your favorite thing about performing on stage?

Shaun: Seeing the kids have a good time. That's always been cool for me. Seeing people sing along. Or seeing someone hold up a cell phone cause someone's not there and wants to hear a song. To be up there and the kids are all having a good time, and the same time, you're dealing with your own side of the live show, and it's like, all of that combines to being every show is cool.

Patrick: What do you think of today's mainstream rock scene and radio's push for the punk bands?

Shaun: I think that in time a lot of things come full circle. There was a trend in the 80's that people didn't even really know about. Even started by bands like The Damned in the 70's where the kind of pop-punk that is popular now was written by these bands decades ago. It's coming back and people are only noticing it now because it's been neatly packaged and made a viable commodity. It's all good cause you can listen to it and not really feel anything because it's all happy stuff. Which is cool, and it has a place. But, we're writing for kids of our generation and kids in the younger generation that feel like there's no one actually saying something. No matter what the trend is, there's always gotta be a place for music that actually means something. You know what I mean? Like I said, you have to be sympathetic towards them and you have to understand it. You have to understand that's what's cool right now. That and rap music. We'll just wait until that dies out. Rock will never go away, man. People will always come back to it to watch rock bands play songs.

Patrick: If you could share the stage with any bands past or present, who would they be?

Shaun: If we had our ideal bill, we would have ... all of the bands unfortunately have already broken up which really sucks, but we would have Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pantera, Rage Against the Machine and to throw something totally out, like Portishead. Be like just a crazy ass show. These are ... all our favorite bands will be there. Even if I just had a chance to see 'em it would've been cool. I would really love to play with Audioslave. We've pretty much played with a lot of the bands that are out there right now. So, we can say that most of the current bands we've actually played a show with. Those are the bands.

Patrick: Thanks for talking with me Shaun. I look forward to seeing you guys play up here.

Shaun: Cool. Yeah man, come on up.

Patrick: Good luck.

Shaun: Thanks man. Bye.