Apex Predator Singer Casey Shaw Discusses Their New LP, His Love for Federal Way, Washington

Photo: Ian Enger

A fellow hardcore lifer, Casey Shaw's discography is an extensive one. Throughout the years, he's been a member of such bands as GAG, Odd Man Out, and Crawl Space. Though most of the time he's played guitar in these bands, he's also fronted a few, including Apex Predator.

Apex Predator specializes in a vicious strain of metallic hardcore that can be heard on their newly released album, Jesus Wept. The Washington state outfit has also been going out on live runs, including LDB Fest in Louisville this March along with Hatebreed, Sunami, Obituary, and many other bands.

I spoke with Casey about the new album, his love for Federal Way, Washington, and how's juggling traveling for gigs with his other adult commitments.

Jesus Wept has been out for a few weeks now and you’ve played some shows since that. What’s the reaction been like and what songs from it seem to be connecting the most with folks?

It's been extremely gangster. We did our record release gig where we were filming a music video for the title track. Derek, who was filming the video, asked us to play the track 4 times throughout the set. I was pretty skeptical of how it was going to go, but everybody was just as jacked the fourth time we played it as the first.

So we're very lucky that "Jesus Wept" is connecting. "Nothing" is also so much fun to play live. We wrote the end of that song with like the back and forth call in response and the glorious pile-on in mind, and it's so bad ass that it worked out. 

With everything Apex Predator does, including the new track, “The Federal Way of Life,” you talk about Federal Way. 

Federal Way is my home. I grew up a couple miles outside the city, which is just kind of a place that's in-between Seattle and Tacoma. Now I live in Fed Way. Thanks to some weird population anomaly, Federal Way technically has the highest crime rate in all of Washington state. Despite that, it's actually a pretty chill place to live.

When I was a kid we used to just skate around and cause trouble. Classic stuff, like rearranging letters on readerboards until most of the businesses in the area switched to digital, throwing firecrackers at adults until they'd try to fight us, then realize they were about to be up against a 6'2" 275 lb 16 year old.

I think every part of the country has a Federal Way. It's a place that people are scared or skeptical of, and needs some level of street knowledge and discipline, but if you're not a complete fucking moron, you'll be okay. 

Photo: Joe Calixto

You’ve played in many other bands throughout the years, what sets Apex Predator apart from them? What do you get to do with AP that you don’t with the others?

Apex is the third band I've sang in. The first was Red/The Scare, and I think I kind of treated the live show for that band as a standup set almost the entire time. The next one was called Instant Death, and I tried to be super serious with it. That is not my nature at all.

Singing in Apex Predator is the most fun I've ever had with a band. I wouldn't say I'm at a middle ground between standup and super serious, but I do get to be over-the-top and sort of violent, and it's also completely okay for me to crack jokes or make speeches that are essentially inside jokes but with a real intended lesson or message I'm trying to get across.

None of these speeches are going viral or getting me interviewed on Sirius XM radio but they do get me jacked and I think when I get jacked up there, everybody else does too. 

How tough is it balancing the band stuff (writing, practicing, shows/traveling) with your work/career at this point in your life?

The Federal Way of Life is one of self-improvement and fulfillment. Contrary to my outwardly pretty stupid personality, I've been in college for the past few years. Pretty early on I started earning scholarships from being so gangster at Literature and Writing, and that covers a lot that I have to pay for.

So I've been very fortunate to be able to be in a situation where I can really focus on that and touring with Apex, GAG, and Odd Man Out, as well as my school without having to worry too much about the bills side of things.

Sometimes I have to bring a laptop on tour and take a class or two on the computer while we're on the road, and that's always pretty rough, but I know a lot of people have it a lot worse. Especially out on the road. 

Casey performing with Odd Man Out in 2018. (Photo: Dan Gonyea)

Thanks, Casey. It's always nice chatting.

Thanks for the interview and for all the support for Apex Predator, especially recently with Jesus Wept coming out. Go check that out! It's streaming everywhere, even Tidal. Thanks to LDB Records and Missing Corps Records for putting it out.

We're going to be touring down to LDB Fest, starting in mid-March. Those shows are getting finalized now so we'll be posting flyers and stuff. Then we're touring back across the south and up the West Coast with our homies for life Witness Chamber. I'm very excited for those shows and that tour. I love all of them.

Big love and respect to NWHC. Bands: tour out here, it's worth it. It's extremely gangster. 


Jesus Wept is streaming everywhere and available on vinyl via LDB Records/Missing Corps Records.


Tagged: apex predator, gag, odd man out