Interview: Beardsley / Shaw (Written)

DANNY BEARDSLEY (The Parallax Method) and RICHARD SHAW (ex Cradle of Filth) collaborate as BEARDSLEY / SHAW on a killer new single and video, No God Of Mine, which lands everywhere on Friday 26th January.

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Long-standing friends and guitar maestros, Danny Beardsley and Richard Shaw first met many years ago, Danny as lead guitarist and songwriter for ISOLYSIS and Richard as lead guitarist and songwriter for NG26. When Beardsley left ISOLYSIS and formed EMPEROR CHUNG, he asked Shaw to join as joint lead guitarist.

EMPEROR CHUNG went on to acquire many accolades, a key highlight being a prestigious slot at Download Festival where the twosome had their first major festival appearance.

When EMPEROR CHUNG went into permanent hiatus, Richard joined CRADLE OF FILTH as their lead guitarist from 2014 until 2022, where he recorded guitars and co-wrote the albums: ‘Hammer of the Witches’ (2015), ‘Cryptoriana’ (2017), ‘Existence is Futile’ (2021), and the live album ‘Trouble and their Double Lives’ (2023). As part of CRADLE OF FILTH, Shaw toured the world many times over and played some of the world’s largest and most well-known festivals.

Beardsley went on to successfully form instrumental prog rock trio THE PARALLAX METHOD, and to this date, has released two EPs and a full-length studio album to widespread praise. Beardsley has also released two critically acclaimed solo albums.

In 2023, Danny suggested to Rich that they write a track together, which would diverge from their other projects.

Shaw remarks:

After leaving Cradle of Filth I wanted to throw myself into something different. I missed writing and this single gave me the opportunity to channel my creativity.

Beardsley also comments:

Being able to write with Rich has been a very enjoyable project where I have been able to concentrate more on the vocal, which is different to my solo work and The Parallax Method. Adding vocals to Rich’s composition has been a lot of fun – that boy knows how to write a thumping riff.

The track is a magnificent slab of punchy gritty anthemic alt-rock that has already been described as ‘Alice in Chains and Thin Lizzy in a bar fight with Alter Bridge’. Complete with a singalong refrain, ‘B string’ harmonised guitar solos, and gut-punching riffery, this is a special piece of work from a superior pairing.

Hello! Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. First things first, how has 2024 been treating you so far and are you eyeing up a busy year overall?

DannyThanks for taking the time to ask us questions. I’m attempting to not to put too much pressure on myself at the moment, gently easing into the new year. That being said, I have a lot of videos due for release I’ve put together for Orange Amps, guest guitar solo sessions and lots of songwriting. I find January to be a bit of a slog sometimes, the dark nights and early mornings messes with my mojo somewhat. Show me some sunshine please!

RichIt’s been good so far. Like Danny said, January can be a bit of a slog after a relaxed holiday period, but all good. I’ll be busy with Lick Library work and a few different things I have planned, plus writing more for Beardsley/Shaw.

You’re starting the year off with a bang. Releasing the track ‘No God Of Mine’, on Friday 26th January. When did the seeds of this track first start to grow, and did you have a clear vision at the time?

DannyWe are super happy with the new release. We started writing this a while back after meeting up for a guitar sale deal! We have been good friends for years and missed writing together, so we decided to flex those muscles again.

RichLike Danny said, we’ve always been in constant contact since the Emperor Chung days. I sold a guitar to Danny that he sold to me a decade previously, and we got chatting about writing a song, just for fun. That song became ‘No God of Mine’.

Did you focus on just enjoying writing music together at first without a specific goal? If so, at what point did you realise that you had something the world needed to hear?

RichWe did just write it for fun. Danny had the idea of ‘Alice in Chains and Tremonti get into a bar fight with Thin Lizzy’ almost half joking. I liked that idea and got working on the music. Danny came back with some great lyric and vocal ideas, and the song organically progressed. It’s only when others started to hear it outside of the two of us that we started to think we had something cool that deserved a real release.

Danny – Yeah, we absolutely started out writing for fun, no goals at all and the whole thing kind of snowballed. A few close friends had a sneak peek and this kind of fuelled the idea of releasing properly. Especially when I get a nod from my friend, Ted. That’s usually a good sign!

As you worked together, how easy was it to take your ideas and make them into a workable song? What sort of challenges did you face?

DannyRich had a clear vision with the music and was pretty rock solid from the beginning. We discussed best places for guitar solos, of which there is an abundance of. I layered some acoustic under the choruses. I drafted some drums, which were tracked in real life by Paul Lourenco and Benny Goodman in the States. The lyrics and vocals were almost effortless, which usually isn’t the case. The most difficult part was mixing and mastering, but was eventually with the help of Dave Wright. (Drummer from The Parallax Method.)

RichIt was very easy going. The only time constraint was fitting it in around our life commitments, but when we knew that the chemistry we had in Emperor Chung hadn’t left, it was so much fun and quickly formed into the song you hear today.

Was it quite important for you to differentiate between your other musical outputs?

RichFor me personally, I’ve always wanted to play in different styles and show appreciation for my musical influences that probably weren’t able to come out in other projects. It was just so much fun to do something different to what I’m usually known for.

DannyDetuned guitars, lots of layers and heavier than anything I’ve personally released in a while. I enjoyed pushing myself as a vocalist. I’m usually juggling guitar and vocals with my solo material, and guitar focused in The Parallax Method, so this was quite a refreshing process.

Is this track a ‘one-off’, or might we see more further down the line? Either as individual song releases or something bigger?

We’ve started work on new songs. At first, it was a one-off, but we’re having so much fun writing again that it would seem silly to not explore it further. Watch this space.

What has been the most positive experience of making music to date for you?

RichJust the sheer joy of the process and the fulfilment when it’s released. It’s always nice when others like it, but if we’re happy with it and we’re having fun, that’s what music is all about.

DannyFrom a very personal perspective, creating music is generally a very cathartic experience for me, and helps me get out of my own head. At this moment in time, my biggest fan is probably my daughter, that’s hard to beat, but I’ve always enjoyed hearing from the listener how a song has been interpreted or how it’s affected their life in some small way. Starting with a blank canvas and building upon that is my favourite part.

Likewise, what has been some of the more challenging aspects and how have you overcome them?

RichIt can be challenging when an idea doesn’t come across how you intended, and then trying to find a way round it that works. Sometimes you have to admit defeat and say that the song isn’t working. But usually, something can be salvaged from a song that isn’t up to standard, even if it’s just a riff or melody.

DannyAlso, the challenging aspect for me currently is time management, balancing life, work, family and music. From a writing perspective, certain guitar parts take time to develop, vocals are always an ongoing improvement process and sometimes the lyrics can be difficult to convey emotionally.

How do you handle the modern expectations of being a musician? Always online, having to put out content constantly, your success measured in likes and follows?

DannyMeasuring your success with numbers is risky business in my opinion. I’ve had moments of self-doubt, but being content with what I’ve achieved, where I am right now and the supporters I have around me makes it all taste that little bit sweeter. It’s the journey itself, man! I often find the social media aspect difficult to stay on top of, it can seem a little contrived at times, stopping to press record and losing the inspiration a lot of the time. It’s a great tool for self promotion and keeping in touch with friends, family and fans but it can be overwhelming at times.

RichI used to feel it more, but having taken more and more time away from social media, I’m genuinely happier. I only use social media when I want to instead of feeling like I have to use it. I’m much happier that way.

What’s something that really ‘grinds your gears’ about the industry/business these days and what would you propose is done to combat it?

RichThe constant need for content instead of quality. Like an ongoing popularity contest that musicians feel they need to be in to stay relevant. Do what makes you happy, not what you feel you have to do for ‘the algorithm’.

DannyIt’s amazing that independent artists can now self-release their music and share their creativity, at a lot less cost and via services that allow a broader audience online. This has a downside though, it is becoming harder and harder to break through the noise. I don’t like unnecessary ego and in some cases poor communication or a failure to respond.

Outside of the music, what’s do you do to relax?

DannySpending time with my family and friends, especially my 7-year-old daughter. Finding a great TV series to watch and share with my wife. I’m quite enjoying reading again recently. I love a nice walk in the Peak District and playing board games.

RichI spend a lot of time with family, exercise, read, and watch television and movies.

Overall, do you enjoy collaboration with other artists/musicians and if you could pick any one person to collaborate with (dead or alive), who would it be?

RichI love it. It’s a huge part of music for me. I don’t know if I could be happy making music completely alone. There are so many people I would love to work with, but working on a film with Danny Elfman or Hans Zimmer would be incredible.

DannyI certainly do enjoy collaboration. There’s so much to learn from others, so much to share. I think it would have to Freddie Mercury. Night at the Opera period. To witness and work alongside that guy creating some of the greatest songs of all time would be a kind of magic! Pardon the pun.




Links

Danny Beardsley – Website | Richard Shaw – Facebook | Richard Shaw – Instagram

Author

  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!