Technology meets metal for Shadows Fall
A quick glance at Matt Bachand’s current project list reveals there’s far more to this metal guitarist than meets the eye. Between tours and recording sessions with his two-time Grammy-nominated metal band Shadows Fall, Bachand produces a host of progressive side projects and composes work for soundtrack placement. His impressive chops even landed him a spot on Guitar World magazine’s list of the 100 greatest heavy metal guitarists of all time. With an arsenal of M-Audio gear—including the ProjectMix I/O control surface, Octane preamp, Solaris mic and Pro-Tools M-Powered software—Bachand uses his portable studio to collaborate with bandmates across the country, attacking the songwriting process with characteristic intensity.
Along with guitarist Jon Donais, you write the majority of material for Shadows Fall. What part does technology play in your songwriting process?
Most of our songs start out as a basic guitar riff or two with a rhythmic idea. Usually we put together a rough structure using drum machines before presenting the song to the band. Then we bounce ideas around and reprogram parts if necessary. Since we don’t live near each other, our songwriting process would be very difficult without home recording technology.
What M-Audio gear are you currently using in your personal studio?
The ProjectMix I/O is the centerpiece of my home studio. I’m getting amazing results using it with Pro Tools M-Powered to record everything from demos to final arrangements. The Octane 8-channel preamp has also been a very versatile tool—punchy and powerful when it needs to be and equally subtle when the time is right. The direct input on Octane is perfect for recording guitar, and with the Solaris microphone it makes a great setup for recording acoustic instruments.
I’ve also gotten surprising results using the Solaris to record live Shadows Fall performances. I set up near the front-of-house board and record the venue in stereo. A lot of subtleties in the live mix are easily captured with a pair of Solaris microphones.
With all the choices available to you, what makes you choose M-Audio?
I tend to choose gear that is easy to use. The M-Audio product line is very user friendly, especially for beginners and people that just don’t have the time or patience to read a 2,000 page instruction manual just to lay down a riff!
You have a strong interest in the business side of the industry, from creating your own label and releasing Shadows Fall’s first album, to taking courses at Berklee School of Music. Why has this been a priority for you?
Every musician should understand a little about how the industry works. The music business is just that, a business. I’m sure everyone has heard the horror stories about unsuspecting artists getting exploited. Business knowledge can prevent that, and can also prove useful if you want to explore other areas of the music industry.
What projects are coming up next for you?
I’ll be producing bands back home as well as working on several of my own projects including a pop project, death metal project, more Shadows Fall material, and some soundtrack work. No rest for the wicked!