THRASH, THRASH, THRASH: INTERVIEW WITH KEITH LETOURNEAU OF SHALLOW GROUND
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
Connecticut-based thrash band Shallow Ground released ‘Embrace The Fury’ in late 2015 and will begin recording a follow-up release this month at Dexters Lab in Milford, Connecticut. Singer/Guitarist Keith Letourneau gave me some insight on the band, what they are up to, and what the future holds.
ALISON “METALBABE” COHEN: Hi Keith! I’m glad that we’re doing this interview.
KEITH LETOURNEAU: Hey Alison. How are you?
METAL BABE: I’m good, thanks! You’re about to start recording a follow-up release to your 2015 album ‘Embrace The Fury.’ Where are you at in the recording process?
KEITH: We are working very hard on new songs, and start recording May 21st. We are tracking drums first, and then we start tracking guitars and bass in June. We will start recording very soon.
METAL BABE: That’s great. For anyone who isn’t familiar with Shallow Ground, what can you tell us about the band?
KEITH: Thrash, thrash, thrash. We are a thrash band from Connecticut. If you like tunes that make you move, check us out!
METAL BABE: Awesome! How did you, Kurt Ragis (Drums) and Mark Chrzaszczewski, (Bass) all come together?
KEITH: Kurt has been in Shallow Ground since 2008, and Mark came onboard about two years ago. Thrash players just find each other.
METAL BABE: Very cool. What do you think some of the advantages/disadvantages are of being a three-piece?
KEITH: Well, this will be our first CD as a three-piece!
METAL BABE: Oh wow!
KEITH: I have a lot to prove to our fans, as I can’t let them down at all! As a three-piece, we are a much tighter band. We are all pros. The only thing I will miss is the different lead sound, but I think I will have that covered.
METAL BABE: I’m sure you will! What kind of training do you have as a singer/guitarist?
KEITH: I have been playing guitar and singing for over 30 years… I got sick of relying on people who were more into how their hair looked than how they sounded. So it just made sense for me to do both. [LAUGHS]
METAL BABE: Sometimes you just have to do it yourself to get it right! Who are your biggest influences as a musician?
KEITH: Black Sabbath. Tony Iommi is a God. That man wrote every cool riff in the book!
METAL BABE: Nice. How did you connect with Killer Metal Records (KMR)?
KEITH: I sent demos out, and Jens over at KMR liked us so he signed us!
METAL BABE: That’s great! What’s it like working with a label based in Germany? Will you be able to play Europe or any of the European festivals?
KEITH: It’s good KMR gives us our freedom to play what we want to play and how we play it! We get invited to go over three or four times a year, but we all have families and jobs that won’t let us just take off for two to three months at a time.
METAL BABE: Gotcha. It’s nice to be invited at least. What can you tell us about “Embrace The Fury,” which was released November 13th 2015?
KEITH: It’s killer old school thrash. We recorded it with Nick Rage from Toxic Holocaust at his studio Dexters Lab in Milford, Connecticut, where we will be again in May! If you like thrash, give it a spin. I promise it won’t suck.
METAL BABE: What’s the thrash metal/music scene like in CT? Do you play a lot of East Coast dates?
KEITH: We play a lot on the East Coast. Our next gig is on May 6th at the Metal MeltDown in Pennsylvania, which is a nice fun fest and our third time playing it.
METAL BABE: Very cool. Have an amazing show! Any touring plans to get to the Midwest or West Coast? We’d love to see you in Vegas!
KEITH: We would love to play out there. Maybe next summer you may see us in your area.
METAL BABE: That would be great! Shallow Ground has shared the stage with quite a few impressive national acts including Exodus, Mobile Death Camp, The Devin Townsend Project, Flotsam and Jetsam, Dragonforce, Kamelot, Helstar, and more! Can you tell us a highlight or two that stand out from one of these shows/tours?
KEITH: The Devin Townsend Project show on Halloween in Hartford, Connecticut was a killer time. Devin is the coolest, nicest dude you ever want to meet! We talked a lot of guitar and laughed our asses off at jokes and stories we were swapping. As far as the show with Mobile Death Camp, we were playing with Tod and the boys and I got this bright idea to pull Tod up and do a cover of Sepultura’s “Refuse/Resist.” Both of us forgot the words and that in itself was a funny cluster f*ck. [LAUGHS]
METAL BABE: LAUGHS] What last words would you like to say to our readers?
METAL BABE: Thank you for the interview Keith!
KEITH: It was a pleasure talking to you.