Shroud Eater has been, without a doubt, one of the steadiest forces on South Florida’s contemporary metal scene. The trio’s informed doom is tempered by flourishes of melody, yet grounded in the cavernous and thunderous roll of sludge and stoner metal.
Founded by Jean Saiz and Janette Valentine, respectively playing guitar and bass, the band also counts a new drummer, Davin Sosa, among its initiates.
With a new two-song EP set for release this month, we caught up with Saiz and Valentine to discuss Shroud Eater’s recent hiatus, Face the Master, and “working towards a full-length."
New Times: What can you tell us about Shroud Eater’s down time since 2013’s Dead Ends?
Janette Valentine: The release of Dead Ends brought about a busy year, including a West Coast tour in early 2014 with our pals Orbweaver. Once we returned from tour and back to reality, a break was in order. We played what would be our last show of 2014 in June, with EyeHateGod in Savannah. When August rolled around, it was clear that it was time for us to part ways with our original drummer and rethink our direction as a band. A new plan of attack came to fruition, and we refueled the fire with the introduction of Davin Sosa on drums. It's been business as usual ever since!
In what ways did a little time off help the band?
Jan: Taking a break after years of keeping busy and plodding forward made us realize the need for balance. Personal lives, work, business, and band life needed attention, and the time came to restructure certain aspects. Finally feeling re-energized and focused, the inspiration struck and we started churning the creative juices and writing new songs. In addition, having extra time gave us time to do cool hippie shit like start an organic veggie garden, which, by the way, is thriving awesomely.
We’ll expect some heirloom tomatoes. How did you hook up with Davin Sosa?
Jan: Ha! We'd seen Davin's band Moirae a few times, and had played a show with them in the past. We've always dug on the band and his playing. We jammed with him and instantly gelled creatively and musically. Cherry on top? We spend 80 percent of our time having some serious fun together and laughing heartily at D's cleverly constructed funnies. Win.
Face the Master is the new EP. Are these two songs solely for the EP? Or can we expect something a little meatier in the future?
Jean Saiz: "Face the Master" and the accompanying song, "House of Endings," will only exist as this little two-song EP. The EP was really an effort to put out some songs and introduce the new lineup, while we begin to work towards a full length that we’re hoping to begin recording in the fall of this year.
You posted a picture of Face the Master's packaging and it looks awesome. Will all copies come in that upside-down coffin and are all singles going to be released as cassettes?
Jean: There’s only 50 of the limited-edition packages that come with the coffin, cassette, sticker, etc. And 30 of those already sold out online. The remaining 20 will be available at our shows and on tour. We are currently only releasing the EP as cassette and digital download. However, there is a slight chance it will be released as a seven-inch record. Maybe. Hopefully. We’ll see.
You’ll be embarking on a mini-tour after this show. And you’ll be playing at the Jinx (The Velvet Elvis) in Savannah, the home of Black Tusk, Kylesa, and Baroness. There’s a bartender there with boots tattooed on his upper right arm who’s a pretty cool dude. That venue is great. What other places will you be hitting up?
Jean: The Jinx is awesome. And the last time we were there, the hospitality was stellar. It’s a great feeling playing clubs that treat touring bands so well. Aside from Savannah, we’re playing The Maywood in Raleigh, North Carolina (another awesome spot), Kung Fu Necktie in Philly, St. Vitus in Brooklyn, Reggie’s Tavern in Wilmington, North Carolina, and ending our little run with a house show in South Carolina.
Are these new to you? Or have you played at some of these towns before?
Jean: The only new town we’re hitting up is Charleston. We had played an ill-fated show in Myrtle Beach a few years ago. We’re hoping Charleston fares a little better.
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What are the plans for after the tour? For a while there, it seemed like you guys had a pretty steady local gigging schedule.
Jean: We have a handful shows booked after the tour already. Bbut we’re really trying to focus on our full-length album throughout the summer. So the local shows will be sparse. But we’re hoping to hit 2016 with a new full length. No more EPs!
Shroud Eater. With Nixa, Snakehole, and Bleeth. 10 p.m. Saturday, April 11 at The Garret at Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-377-2277; grandcentralmiami.com. Cover is $5. Ages 21 and up.