Shattered Sun’s Marcos Leal Talks ‘Hope Within Hatred,’ Touring With Testament + More
Shattered Sun are currently touring in support of their debut album ‘Hope Within Hatred.’ The Texas metal band recently wrapped a run with Testament and Exodus and will head out on the road with Soulfly and Soilwork in the fall. Frontman Marcos Leal was a recent guest on Loudwire Nights. Host Full Metal Jackie caught up with the vocalist who talks about their debut album, touring with legendary bands like Testament and Exodus + more. Check out the interview below.
Shattered Sun have released several EPs over the years but never a full-length album before now. Why did you hold off so long to make an album?
It was a very long process of just getting out there and making a name for ourselves, not only in our hometown but in our region and state, it's a long process. We had member changes, stuff like that. I look at a lot of those EP are growing pains. We were still trying to find our sound, who we were. Once we got this lineup together and kind of fortified our sound like, "Hey this is what we're going to be and this is what we do," that's when we put it together and said, "Hey let's do a full length." Let's do this the right way and chase this dream the way it's supposed to be chased.
On a lot of levels, an album makes a different musical statement than an EP. What was the main thing you wanted to express with Hope Within Hatred?
There was two things. When we first went in to record Hope Within Hatred, it was something to where we were at our breaking point as far as being a local band, here where we're from, Alice, Texas. It was that point in our lives where it was like, “Hey are we going to chase this whole-heartedly? Or are we going to be in the oil fields for the rest of our lives?”
Where we come from, it's pretty determined once you graduate high school. You have a family and you go into the oil fields. We were the group of guys who didn't want to do that. We wanted to do what we really love to do, which was playing music. We've been playing music together since we were kids, high school. When we went, we wanted to attract not only management but we wanted to attract the label. We knew, like you said, we needed to make a different statement than an EP could make. So we went in and on that record, I truly feel it's six guys at a crossroads in their lives and you're really hearing everything that we have put on that record just to show the world, "Hey this is who we are and we're not going to go down without a fight." With that album, we got management, Breaking Bands with Jon Zazula and Maria Ferrero, Chuck Billy from Testament. Then we found Victory Records. So I feel like we really accomplished that goal.
Shattered Sun is managed by Breaking Bands, a company run by Chuck Billy from Testament and Jon Zazula, the man who put out the first Metallica album. What made their unique insight so valuable to your band?
When we first got with them, it was like a stroke of luck. Right place, right time. Cinderella story-type thing. It was a friend of a friend, who knew a friend, who knew Maria who vouched for our music to get it onto her desk. It just so happened that it was a moment they were just creating Breaking Bands. It was just an idea when we came across their table and as soon as it became a reality, we really got their attention and they wanted to manage the band. They loved the tracks, they flew down to Texas within a week to sign us.
The one thing I can say is from the day that we met them, they were really family to us. They really believed in our music and believed in who we were. It was that family vibe from the get go. Maria was the one who found us, she's got Adrenaline PR -- best PR company in the game. Jon has been doing this, like you said, Metallica, Testament, Anthrax and Exodus. He knows the business and then Chuck filled that mentor role for us -- talking to us about the business, talking to us about touring and how things are done, how our bodies are going to adjust, my vocals. From day one he's been that guy who's always picked up his phone and has always been there for us. He took us on our first tour. We just finished the ‘Dark Roots of Thrash II’ tour with Testament and Exodus. They really mean the world to us and we wouldn't be here without them.
This year you’re doing the Rock Star Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. You've also toured with Testament and Exodus and you'll be going out with Soulfly. What's most valuable to you about touring with so many highly respected bands?
Learning from them. Really showing them that hey, we're not just like every band out there. We aspire to be like Testament and Exodus, Slayer, Soulfly, Soilwork. Those are all bands that we idolized growing up. Not only to be earning their respect as peers but learning the day to day from them. Learning how to take care our bodies all the ins and outs from these veterans. That's where it's most valuable to us.
Just coming off of this past tour, Zetro from Exodus, the first night, he really took us under his wing and showed us the ins and outs of things. Our first few shows, when I get off stage, Zetro would come up to me and say, "Hey, come here young man" and he would talk to me about the crowd and interacting with them. Those moments are so valuable to us, talking with Gary Holt, talking with Tom Hunting, Eric Peterson, Gene Hoglan. Those guys just teaching us how to be professionals is what we value the most.
Thanks to Marcos Leal for the interview. Shattered Sun will be out on the road all summer on the Mayhem Festival. See their tour dates here. The band's 'Hope Within Hatred' disc is available via iTunes and Amazon. Tune in to Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie and Tony LaBrie Monday through Friday at 7PM through midnight online or on the radio. To see which stations and websites air ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.