EMQ’s With EIGHT.FOLD.PATH
Hi Everyone. Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with North Carolina USA Multi-instrumentalist Shannon Kerr, AKA Eight.Fold.Path. Huge thanks to him for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
I’m Shannon Kerr, A.K.A. Eight.Fold.Path. I’m a multi-instrumentalist, which is just a fancy way of saying I record everything myself because it’s easier and faster then getting other people together! I’ve always played drums in other bands (and still do!) but needed an outlet for my own creativity; there’s not a huge call for Metal on 7 In 2019, I finally got serious about it, started recording and releasing my own music, and haven’t regretted it since!
How did you come up with your band name?
It was a combination of my appreciation for Buddhist philosophy and my love of 8-string guitars! The concepts of Buddhism – that expecting reality to be different than what it is, is a natural human trait, but we can get better at seeing things for what they are, which ironically helps us change things for the better – has really helped me deal with my own issues. And of course, I love Metal played on extended range instruments!
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
I live in central North Carolina, US, in a smallish city, which you wouldn’t expect to be very cosmopolitan (and you’d be right!), but for all that, there’s a ton of small underground scenes, from Jazz to Hip Hop to Indie/Emo to Metal. There aren’t a ton of places for those artists to play live (venues tend to prioritize cover bands, because they draw crowds), but the scenes are super supportive, even of each other!
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
I’ve got a brand new single coming out on February 18th! ‘Fear’ is a dive into what it’s like to live with a severe anxiety disorder, through a Dune-by-way-of-Modern Metalcore lens.
Who have been your greatest influences?
So many! I’ll try to keep the list relatively short (if I can!); I can’t say my music *sounds* like many of these artists, but they’ve definitely inspired me! So, let’s see… Rush, Judas Priest, Sevendust, Deftones, Korn, Meshuggah, Periphery, Between the Buried and Me, Devin Townsend… that’s probably enough, I could go on forever!
What first got you into music?
I’ve always been into music. My parents complained that I’d pull pots and pans out of the cabinets as a toddler and start banging away! I was always in school band, was in multiple bands in high school, even got a degree in music. Weirdly, I never had the confidence in myself to pursue it exclusively, it was always something I did on the side, until I realized it was the only thing that made me happy and fulfilled. 2020, as terrible as it was, afforded me months where all I had to do was focus on my music, and it was a revelation. I realized not only do I love doing this, and would happily do it 16 hours a day, every day, but I *can* do it, and I’m good at it! Since then, I’ve worked at realigning everything in my life to make music the centre; everything else revolves around that.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Damn, that list would be longer than the influences! I’m 100% to collaborate with any talented, like-minded musician; I’ve written songs for others, written songs with others, help produce and mix others’ songs; I really enjoy it! If I had to pick just one, though, it’d have to be Devin Townsend: he’s just madly creative, understands what it’s like to be neurodivergent, and also seems like he’d be a great hang. Also, we’re both introverts, so at some point we’d both be like “yep, that’s enough, going home now, talk to you later”.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Another tough one! Hmmm… you know, honestly, the festival I’d most like to be on is the original Lollapalooza, any of those first years. Just freaking amazing acts, so many different genres but all equally enjoyably weird! Current festivals, I’d probably gravitate to the ones that are a little more niche; it’s hard to be on a giant festival as a relative unknown, playing to hungover campers at 8:00AM! Don’t get me wrong, I’d do it in a heartbeat! But I think it’d be fun to be on one of those Summer tours that are like traveling mini-festivals with 6-8 mid-tier Metal bands that aren’t massive but each have an awesomely dedicated fan base. Those scenes are always super positive and supportive, fans come for openers and stay for the whole show, and those bands tend to be pretty great people too. But, like I said, if Ozzfest called tomorrow I wouldn’t say no! Sharon, if you’re reading this, call me, I’m available!
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
You know, I’m still getting used to the *idea* of having fans! Just someone saying they like or appreciate my music is super weird still, but of course also super awesome! I’m just so grateful for those fans, and it’s taken me long enough to get to this point, I don’t think I could ever take it for granted. We only have a finite number of hours in our lives, and for someone to spend even three minutes listening to my music, when they could be doing literally anything else… yeah, that’s a big deal, and it means everything to me.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Well, definitely thank you for spending your time and attention on me and my music! But also, something I wish I’d heard from someone earlier than I did: You deserve to be here. You have value and worth, just because you exist. You don’t have to prove it to anyone, you don’t have to defend it to anyone. Anyone who tells you different, no matter who they are, are telling you lies. Maybe because they’ve been hurt, or something else, but it doesn’t change anything: You Matter. And you always will.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
I’m gonna cheat and go with three: Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, and Chester Bennington, and all for the same reason: they left too soon, and needed to be reminded that we’re better off with them than without them.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Hmm… this is going to sound so lame, but I enjoy everything about being a musician, and don’t hate anything (at least so far, anyway)! Even the more tedious aspects, the drudgery, I’m cool with because it’s all moving me in the direction I want to go. Even the worst parts are way better than working construction or retail or food service, I’ve got nothing to complain about!
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
You know, as tough as the industry is, it’s full of really good people, and I love that. You can’t go into many lines of work and find the kind of camaraderie and support you do in music – or, at least in the heavy music scenes. But that willingness to trust attracts a lot of toxic people too, looking to scam or abuse others just because they can. So if I could change one thing, it’d be that, somehow remove all the toxic people and send them somewhere else. Wall Street, maybe?
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Just one? Yikes, that’s hard! Okay, I’m gonna cheat and name two (out of probably hundreds of faces): Rush – “Moving Pictures”, and Steve Reich – “Music for 18 Musicians”; they both, in their own way, gave me galaxy brain about what you could do with music that I never imagined before, and they’re both amazing start to finish. Okay, three: Black Crown Initiate’s “Song of the Crippled Bull” is amazing too!
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
What’s best for you is the one that makes you happiest, and is none of my business. I’ll never fight someone over how they choose to listen to music, that’s not what music is about! It’s about connecting and communicating, and if you connect better with a particular format, more power to you!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Playing your music in front of people is never bad! But in all honesty, the gig I’m always most excited about is the one I’m doing, and then the next one. If my best gig is in the past, then it’s already over, you know? I’m more interested in making the next show the best one yet, every single time!
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I know exactly what I’d be doing, because there’s been times in my life I wasn’t doing music, and I was completely, utterly miserable. It’s what I’m here to do. It’s who I am. The struggles in my life have never about who I wanted to be or what I wanted to do, it was “do I accept myself as I actually am and be happy, or deny it and be miserable?” Once I committed myself to music, literally everything else in my life got easier. Not EASY, but easier for sure.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
See, this is a trick question, because I’m a massive introvert, so a dinner party with strangers is one of my definitions of hell! But let’s have fun with it… my first love was drums, so let’s go with five drummers: Neil Peart, Morgan Rose, Blake Richardson, Alex Rudinger, and Jonathan Collin Greene (your readers may not know Jon but he’s amazing and they need to look him up!).
What’s next for the band?
Well, as I mentioned, I’ve got ‘Fear’ coming out on February 18th, and I plan to release a new song every two months for all of 2022. I’ve got a number of them already in the pipeline I’m really excited about, and I can’t wait for folks to hear them!
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
I’m pretty much everywhere, which is ironic considering how introverted I am in person! If someone’s looking for me or my music, probably the easiest way is to visit my LinkTree https://linktr.ee/Eight.Fold.Path and then you can get up with me on the platform of your choice!
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
I’m going to bow to the oracle of Wikipedia and go with “biscuit-shaped cakes”. I’ve never had one (I know, I’m shocked too!), but I can tell from the description I would call them neither biscuit nor cake, but simply delicious!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Just how much I appreciate you taking your time to do this, and for the really interesting questions! And to say thank you to everyone who reads this – you could have been anywhere on the internet and you chose here! If you run across me on socials, feel free to hit me up!
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