Shadeworks is interested in his own dark side

interview Shadeworks

Shadeworks is the one-man project by Arnaud Nicolas (current drummer of both Belgian Metal bands Obsidian and Icy Winds). Solo recordings started back in 1998 (under the name of Icy Winds At Dusk) with the first demotape ’ Endless Snowfields «. That instrumental was nothing but a rough sketch of what was to follow... Anyway, it got some favourable reviews in underground zines and some copies were spread around the world.
Two years later, the project changed its name into Shadeworks, the underlying idea being : to make something more professional, though still weird. The second demotape ’ Lights Hiding in 8-D Architectures « was recorded in May 2000. It had a better sound quality and got very encouraging comments in a lot of zines, magazines and webzines. Some tracks were also included on underground compilation tapes.
The brand-new ’ Sooty Limbs « demoCD has been recorded in April 2001 on a digital 16-track home studio. The female vocals were performed by Icy Winds’ singer Fae.
A huge promo-campaign will be developed in order to complete Shadeworks’ excellent pressbook and find a label interested in releasing the project’s first album.

interview with Arnaud on 31-8-2001

Please give us a short introduction of yourself?
Well, my parents used to call me Arnaud, so I guess that’s me... I’m 23 years old, playing drums in Icy Winds and I also have that weird solo-project named Shadeworks. Besides that, I’m running Beyond which was a monthly paper-zine and will become a big webzine soon... Let’s trade a link when I’m online, ok?

Do you like working on your own?
Yes, it’s something I need for my mental health. But I also like playing drums in my bands... I’m not that crazy... or maybe I am... who knows?

Where is your Shade studio?
Well, the Shade studio is actually my home-studio, so please stop searching for it in the yellow pages...

There are some great guitar riffs. Where do you get the ideas?
I don’t know exactly. I always have a basic idea in my mind, and then I start arranging those simple things until they get pretty agreeable. I work on the music and the sounds at the same time, which means I’m already concentrating on what the final result should be. It’s quite an unorthodox way to work, but I like it very much.

As a one man you are limited to only studio recordings. No problem?
I could play Shadeworks’ songs with my band Icy Winds, because Fae is the female singer in both projects as I am, and that would be great. But I won’t commit suicide if this doesn’t happen...

How do you begin writing the songs ? What is the inspiration?
I start writing stuff when pondering upon the weirdest dreams I had, and everything comes out in a very natural way.

Why do you have three projects running? Is this due to different styles?
I actually have only two projects left, as I stepped out of Obsidian. But yeah, styles were quite different of course, and the mood I was in with one or another band was also always different. It was a quite pleasant thing as you get more creative, but Obsidian is history, because I didn’t feel well with different things... We’re still friends, that’s all...

What are your favourite bands?
Huh, well, I totally wore down my CDs of Katatonia, Forgotten Silence, Arcturus, Dream Theater, Ark, Paradise Lost, Cynic, Opeth, Pain of Salvation, Explorer’s Club, and many others... I also listen to all the stuff I get to review in my zine Beyond. Among the new releases, I liked the latest Kreator (should be out late September 2001), the Cydonian album, Beyond Twilight’s “The Devil’s Hall of Fame” and some demo releases were quite good too... Enemynside, Fultrack, Scapegoat...

After all the positive reactions you got, did any label show interest yet?
I got a lot of reviews claiming that I should get a record deal, but I still haven’t brought up the issue with the labels yet. First, I want to have a big press-book and that’s the reason why I’m sending out a lot of promos to mags, zines, webzines, and radio stations. If there’s no label interested in taking care of my next recording, that won’t be a problem because I also want to start my own label... and once again I’ll do it all by myself. And that will be OK too because my press results are more than just positive at the moment. Let’s keep the faith...

Do you practice some kind of meditation?
No, but the people who work with me always need some because it seems that I can get quite irritating at times, hehehe... I always want everything to be as perfect as I imagine it and stuff like that, you know... My girlfriend (who actually starts working with me) would say that I’m nothing but a fuckin’ typical Virgo, but that sounds cool to me...

Any spiritual interests?
Yes, but nothing like religions or that kind of “institutionalised” way of thinking. I’m more focused on myself in order to understand how to live in peace. It could be seen as a selfish thought, but it’s not. I like to channel my energy and I hope I do it well.

Do you think there is a heaven and/or a hell?
I think both Heaven and Hell are part of our lives. I don’t believe there’s anything beyond death.

What was first : the egg or the chicken?
Well, this is the kind of silly question you should ask my father. He’s fond of this kind of ironically “important” questions. He’s into stuff like astronomy, chemistry, the mysteries of life and so on... I can’t focus on things that are so far away from us... hehehe... But hey, I still think he’s a great guy...

Any interest in the dark side of humans?
Once again, I’ll give you a pseudo-egoistic answer... I’m interested in my own dark side. But I’m certain that this is the dark side that will help me understand someone else’s.

What is your favourite holiday and why?
What? Holiday??? What does that mean? I haven’t been on holiday for years because I’ve been too busy with my musical activities. Hope I can go to Italy next year... I’ve been living there for six years when I was a kid, and that’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to... Tuscany rules!

Why do you refuse to speak Dutch?
Wow, I do not refuse to speak Dutch! It so happens that I’ve been raised in French. Ik zou graag een beetje Vlaams spreken, maar ik ken niet zo veel woorden, en dat zou een probleempje zijn, denk ik... (I’d really like to speak Dutch but I’m afraid my vocabulary is a bit poor and that would be slightly problematic for a good interview, I guess...)

Where do you use the internet for?
It’s just a professional tool to me. A lot of e-mails and stuff... It’s way easier than the Postal system, which misplaces or loses half the letters one sends... I have no time to play videogames or download music, but this is fine to me.

What kind of computer do you abuse, professionally for example?
I use the ‘big’ computer, which is my girlfriend’s, for graphical and internet purposes. I also have a smaller computer that is almost exclusively dedicated to composing (my Cakewalk program is on it).

If you don't play music for one week what is your mental state then?
It sometimes happens (when I’m writing for my zine or doing some administration and planning) but I’m ok then, because I know that I’m working hard to earn some money and to have more time to play later... And so it shall be.

Do you listen to your own songs? Still have new ideas to add to the existing songs?
I sometimes listen to my CD, but once you’ve heard something 100 times, you start having new ideas, and it’s better to calm down, because that’s not the right moment to record something new... I prefer to take the time when I really feel it, not because I’m just a little bit excited... I already have a lot of ideas for the next recording, but I know these ideas still have to mature in my mind... Everything in due time.

Is there anything like the Perfect Song ? Are you trying to reach this ideal?
That’s a great question and it’s also a funny thing, because I talked about that in an interview I did some time ago for another webzine... The fact is that a musician who plays with passion is always reaching out for something unreal. And the easiest way to make it real is to give it a name... and there we have the concept of the perfect song... Of course I’m striving for it, but that’s something very personal if you take it seriously, and I don’t think I could explain it precisely enough... But that was a great question...

Why should people contact you?
Because I’m a very attractive guy with extremely long hair, and my phone number is... the same one as my girlfriend’s! Hehehe...
And now the serious answer: people should contact me because I’m a very active guy and I’m always interested in everyone’s music... My address is NICOLAS Arnaud, 22 rue Reniers, 1090 Jette, BELGIUM. Email:

Last rites ?
Rites? Something like abracadabra? Abracadabra then, and thank you very much for this intie, you’re a great supporter of the scene! Oh my God, I think I’ve changed myself into a frog. Croaaa...
Interviewer: twansibon
Aug 31, 2001

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