Shihad tell all about their Konsoles for Kids involvement.
We were lucky enough to talk with Shihad's very own Jon Toogood recently to discuss Microsoft's Konsoles for Kids charity auction (which you can read up on here), their new album, and - of course - how good the boys are at Guitar Hero.
NZGamer: First off, how did you get involved with Konsoles for Kids?
Jon: We were approached by Microsoft who asked if we would be into being involved.
NZGamer: What attracted you guys to the event in the first place? Obviously it’s for a very good cause, but was there anything particular about it that made it appealing?
Jon: It was pretty much about what it was for. The cause was great and we thought we should do it. Pretty simple really.
NZGamer: I’m sure most of our readers are dying to know: do you guys play games at all? What kind are you into, if anything?
Jon: Although most of our time is spent making and performing music we have all been into games since we were kids. I had an Atari 2600, then a ZX81, then a Commodore 64, then a Playstation then a Dreamcast then an Xbox then a PC then a Playstation 2. Now I’ve got an Xbox 360. We usually have a lot of time on our hands when we’re touring or recording (while other members are laying down stuff) and there have been many games along the way that have been part of our lives. Our 1st tour of Europe was spent playing a German version of the original Zelda game with a German to English dictionary so we could understand what we were supposed to be doing. Gran Turismo (in all it’s different versions) has been there a lot of the time especially while recording as was the original Halo game (we were lucky enough to be invited to the launch party for the original Xbox while we were in LA recording the Pacifier album and walked away with a console and a copy of Halo) Most recently I’ve been playing GTA4, Halo3 and Wii Sports (I love the bowling).
NZGamer: Obviously you’ve tried Guitar Hero out – what’s your take on it as real musicians? Do you think it (along with other games like Rock Band) might actually inspire people to grab a real guitar, or are they wasting their time pushing buttons on a plastic toy?
Jon: It’s funny but every musician I know can’t play Guitar Hero for shit. For a guitar player it seems totally unlike playing a real guitar and is basically a completely different skill. I suck at it. The people I know that are good at it don’t play a musical instrument at all and they kick my arse every time.
NZGamer: Your new album is an interesting mix of stuff that’s come before and a few new approaches. What drove you to this sort of sound, which is arguably a bit of a departure from the hard rock you’re best known for?
Jon: After touring for the Love Is The New Hate record we wanted to get back into the studio as quickly as possible to retain that ‘tight’ band thing you only get from playing lots of shows and when we got there we found that the music that was exciting us as a collective was stuff that was far more melodic, electronic and uplifting in nature. Every time this band comes together to make a new album all we’re really interested in is going down new paths and trying stuff we haven’t tried before and challenging ourselves. To make the same record again would’ve been dishonest to ourselves and our fans. We have to believe in what we’re doing 100%. If that meant making a record like Beautiful Machine (which we’re all extremely proud of) then so be it. I had things I wanted to say on this album that needed the music to be just right for saying it.
NZGamer: Speaking of which, would you consider going back to your roots? Not to say life as a Metallica covers band, but more like early albums such as Churn and Killjoy.
Jon: I lived Churn and Killjoy already and as much as I love both those records I feel I do not need to go back there. I’ve already done it! It’s like life. You always want new experiences to keep you feeling fresh and give yourself new challenges.
NZGamer: Are you still putting a focus on building up a following in international markets like the US?
Jon: We definitely a different outlook towards those things than we used to. All we’re really interested in now days is making music we love and if people want to see it live then we’ll go to where they are. If not, then no problem.
NZGamer: You’ve been going for a while now – how do you keep the energy up? What drives you to continuously reinvent yourselves?
Jon: Writing, recording and performing with the other 3 guys in Shihad is a thrill. It’s an adrenaline rush and a completely life affirming experience which I find extremely addictive and would be very hard not to do. I love finding out new ways around music and everyone in this band is so good at what they do it is a pleasure doing so. Also, on a good night, this band is fucking killer live and that feels better than anything else I’ve experienced.
NZGamer: And finally, do you think you’ll be bidding on any of the consoles when the auction rolls around? Which one would you love to own?
Jon: The Wiggles!
NZGamer: Thanks for your time, hope the tour goes well!