Interview with Eaten By Sharks
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
[Dan] I started playing guitar at 15; it was AC/DC that gave me my first taste of heavy music and I needed more! I soon found Cannibal Corpse and Pantera, and then one day, at a pawn shop, I found Suffocation’s “Pierced From Within” cd, which still influences me to this day, as a guitarist.
[Justin] I took my first drum lessons when I was 11 years old and got my first kit when I was 12. Nirvana got me started into rock, but it was my older brother that introduced me to Anthrax, which is when metal got its hooks into me. I then got into Sepultura and learned every song on the Chaos AD album. At 17, I started playing in my first original band, and never looked back. I love the challenge of being handed a guitar riff and adding my own style of drumming to it.
[Tyler] I started taking bass lessons at 13 at a local music store. One of the first songs I learned was “Another One Bites the Dust”. It wasn’t until I heard Korn that I started getting into heavy stuff; I loved how the bass could be heard and not buried in the mix. I really started to develop my fingerstyle when I heard Symphony X live. The bassist was so tight and played every note so clean; I just had to learn how to play like that! At 19, I started in my first original band; an instrumental progressive tech band.
[Matt] I started out playing bass at age 15 and shortly after started doing heavy vocals. System of a down was the first band I listened to that was adding a sporadic element to heavy vox; I found that very intriguing and needed more. At the same time, I was listening to Cannibal Corpse which led to more and more death metal. There was a time when it was all brutal Death or nothing. But I started to branch out into other genres and got into some crazy fast rap, such as Tech 9, and I really enjoy the raw vocals of Spite. I try to keep things interesting with the vocals, but not to take anything away from the song if that makes sense, treat the vocals as another rhythm guitar adding to the heaviness.
[Chris] My parents got me into guitar lessons when I was 13; I sucked really bad. I could not connect to the music I was learning and my dyslexia and ADD did not help either. I remember hearing Nirvana on the radio and thinking I could probably figure that out; I pulled the guitar out of the closet and started down the path that would lead me to the metal. I remember learning some riffs from the band Death; they were so hard, but once I mastered them, it was like the best thing I had ever accomplished.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
[Chris] I love to research and collect guitar gear! When I get a good signal chain and tone happening or a crazy effect that grabs me, it often leads to the beginning of the next Eaten By Shark’s track!
How long has your band been around?
[Chris] Back in 2013, I wanted to start a band that was heavy as hell, in which I could push myself playing and writing-wise. I ran some of the songs by my friend Dan, a guitarist who I had collaborated with in the past. He was more of a traditional metal guy and loved the vibe of what I had started. We then assembled the rest of the band with Justin on drums and Tyler on Bass; we recorded our first EP and started playing live instantly. After a few years of being active, the band came to a halt due to unfortunate circumstances with our original vocalist. A few years later in 2018, we reignited the band and found Matt our new vocalist (we actually found him online doing Archspire playthroughs!).
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
[Justin] We are based out of the Niagara region in Ontario Canada. We have all been influenced by many great Canadian tech-death bands, Cryptopsy, Despised Icon, Archspire, etc. We found that being Canadian made it super easy to write tech metal, must be something in the maple syrup and ketchup chips!
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
[Chris] The songs we write are brutal and extreme, so our name had to have that same vibe. For me, the name paints a brutal picture of a post-apocalyptic time where the glaciers have melted, the lands have flooded and a swarm of sharks has devoured what was left of the human race, easy-going stuff like that, you know? We also wanted to have something that was more than just cool a name, but rather something we could incorporate a theme around. It has worked so far as all of the songs, art, and content have an oceanic flair to them.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
[Tyler] Before the pandemic, we got to play a few shows with Beyond Creation. One show was at a metal fest in the middle of a mall; the crowd was amazing and we got to meet some sick fans and bands! Another show we played that was sick was our first EP release, back in the day. We had a few fans bring some inflatable sharks and they were bopping around in the pit. This year, when we release the new album, at Warehouse Concert Hall, you can bet there will be more sharks crowd surfing!
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
[Chris] We love our hometown venue, Warehouse! It was opened up by friends of ours, focusing on a live music experience. The stage is great, the sound is killer, the staff is amazing and they always serve sick craft beer! How cool would it be to get on a ship show, like the 10000lbs of metal; Eaten By Sharks on the water!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
[Chris] Being a progressive band, we like a variety of metal. I would love to get on a bill that had Meshuggah, Cattle Decapitation, Ingested, Suffocation, Spite, and of course Dethklok! All these bands and styles influence us and it would be great to meet them and play for their fans!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
[Chris] Attitude is everything, it does not matter how good of a musician you are, if you can’t gel with your bandmates it's destined for problems that could be detrimental to all the effort put into the band. If I could talk to a 21-year-old me, I would say, the community is everything. Don’t spend all your time in the shed working on your craft, get out there and support your local scene. The relationships you build with bands, promoters, and fans will help you succeed in the long run and also help others to do so too.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
[Chris] Don’t be afraid to invest in the band. Sometimes we get too caught up spending money on things we don’t need, even music gear can get a bit carried away. If I were to have invested more into the production of live shows and albums, I would be a lot further ahead with more to show.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
[Chris] Lyrically, I love “Shallow Water”. The story Matt tells of a cove battle between man and shark and the ending when that final fin comes in to exact revenge for her slaughtered children, brings a bloody tear to the eye. Musically, the guitar work in “Same Face, Different Mask” is some of my favorite riffs we have written and the beats are also very slick!
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
[Chris] My favourite song to play is Megalodon, it moves all over the place and has some epic moments that I find translate really well live. Our most requested song would be “End Your Existence, Now” we always get people commenting ALRIGHT! on our socials, which is the first lyric our singer says in that song.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
[Chris] We typically start a song with a guitar riff that someone brings to practice and then I build a solid instrumental structure around that riff. I then give the song an oceanic “shark driven” working title to plant a lyrical seed before sending it off to Matt. Matt then takes the suggested working title and creates his lyrical seascape, pouring in elements of horror, gore, and sharks.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
[Matt] Our messages are based in an oceanic realm with reference to the ills of humankind. The album is named, Eradication, and if you look at the artwork, it's pretty obvious what we are referring to. The cover depicts an army of Atlantian shark people descending on a corrupt shore intended for eradication!
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
[Chris] We have built solid relationships over the years. We all have our issues but, like family, we work through our shit together and have each other's backs. I’ve been playing in bands with some of these guys for years and any issues we deal with head-on, we don’t let things grow in the background and build like cancer.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
[Chris] We are in the midst of releasing our new album, Eradication, which takes the listener on a nautical journey through the horrors of the deep. So far, we have released three singles, including two high-quality lyric videos and a music video. If you like death metal, and you like sharks, then you are going to love us! After the album's release, we plan to do more interviews, live-to-air events, and as many live shows as possible. Now that the album is finished, we are shifting focus to playing live shows and spreading our music...and then... it’s back to the shark tank to create more sickening riffs!
Music Video - Dead Weight -
Lyric Video - Shallow Water -