Written By Sarah Ebockayuk, ‘Track of the Day’ Editor
If you haven’t heard of Shields, first of all; where have you been? And secondly, you most definitely will in 2016! Todays ‘Track of the Day’ band are releasing their debut album ‘How Can We Fix This?’ on February 26th, at the Sage in Gateshead, and will then be embarking on a tour throughout the UK supporting their new album release. ‘Alive’ is their new single and is accompanied by a highly intriguing video, with a dark undertone.
The Newcastle band describe themselves as dynamic, colourful, big, and have already caught the attention from the likes of Tom Robinson / Steve Lamacq of BBC 6 Music and support from the likes of DIY, Consequence of Sound, Drowned In Sound and many more.
How did you guys meet? how did you decide on your musical style? Are there any notable influences in your music?
(David) Luke and I were in the same class in college in Durham. Luke already had his own band playing fuzzy guitar riffs and there was no room for my piano, so I’d just attend the gigs while jealous that I wasn’t part of it. Eventually a while later persistence and circumstances matched up and we ended up writing together, along with John, Tom and Rich.
There isn’t really any discussion about the style of music we wanted to write, we just pile the instruments that we own in to our rehearsal room and whatever makes us feel good is what gets recorded. During rehearsals we’re always sharing new tracks or albums, throughout this album I think there was a lot of listening to Dirty Projectors, Tune Yars, Foals and Grizzly Bear. We often get compared to Everything Everything, and our previous band gigged with them a fair bit when they and we were starting out. While selecting the tracks for the album we kept a couple of personal favourites off because it didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the album.
Tell us something your fans may not know about Shields?
(Luke) Not directly about shields but if you watch our new video for ‘Alive’ you might recognise the main character from the hit TV series Heartbeat. He played PC Phil Bellamy! He did an amazing Job on our music video and we can’t thank him enough!
(David) We’re all big Radiohead fans and earlier this year we met them when we were recording in the same studio. Unfortunately, we later found out that we ruined their recording because our drums were spilling over into their session. We listened for Thom Yorke’s voice on our recording, but it’s nowhere to be heard.
Shields has a great fan following and has had positive press. 2016 may be your year! What are your aims for 2016 musically?
(Luke) We plan to be gigging as much as possible!
(David) We’ve also started writing and demoing tracks for the next album, so hopefully while gigging extensively with our current album we can try new material and see if it gets any applause.
How does your creative process work? Do you guys have control on your sound and music video ideas?
(Luke) We have complete control of everything we put out. We don’t really have a set creative process. Every song comes together in a slightly different way and we like to embrace the results it brings about. Sometimes one of the band members will bring a fully finished song to the table, we all agree that its perfect and we don’t change a thing. Other times one of us will bring a riff or a beat or something and then we jam it out and end up with 10 versions of a song before eventually settling on one.
Your new video for ‘Alive’ has comedic value as well as a dark theme. Why did you want to take ‘Alive’ in a new direction on the darker side?How did you come to have the idea for the video and work with Kristian Young?
Our previous videos have all been performance videos (one of them where the band were all played by sock puppets). We just wanted to do something a bit different. To begin with all we knew was that we wanted something that looked cinematic that had a darker edge than our previous videos. We loved the idea of having a video that was closer to a short film than a music video. We chatted with our Director friend Kristian Young about it and after he listened to the song he came up with a concept about a travelling man that is desperate to entertain and please people, but when it doesn’t go how plans he loses his shit! We loved how Kristian interpreted the lyrical content and couldn’t wait to get to work on it.
Your new album ‘How Can We Fix This?’ is out on Feb 26th and is dubbed to be a potential top album of the year. How was it working with Adrian Bushby? How long did it take you to record the album and how did you decide which songs made the cut?
We worked on demos for about a year and ended up with far more than we needed. We lost perspective a bit about what was good and what wasn’t so good. We thought a bit of independent advice would be good. Adrian had worked on a few of our early singles so I thought he might be a good person to talk to about it. We just wanted his opinion on a few tracks but amazingly he offered to mix the whole album! He was really into it, which was very nice for us. Once we decided on the songs it didn’t take long at all to pull it all together.
Who would you say in Shields is:
The Most Optimistic? Tom – his nick name is Positive Chad
The Most Creative? Luke – He makes sculptures out of baby bell wax
The funniest? Dave – Watch out for his new stand up show ‘jokes without laughter’
The laziest? No-one is lazy, which is good!
The quietest? No-one, is quiet which is sometimes not good!
If you had to describe your sound in 4 words what would it be?
Dynamic, Colourful, Big, Energetic
Any exciting things happening for Shields in 2016? UK tour? Collaborations? Or surprises!
(David) We do actually have a collaboration lined up. We can’t say who with just yet but it’s quite a different sound for us and has a female vocal. Collaborations is something we hope to be more involved with in the future, we’ve only ever had good experiences with it, and it seems to work well in hip-hop.
(Luke) We also Have a vinyl release lined up for April which we are VERY excited about but again… we can’t say anything more about it, sorry!
Catch Shields at their Gateshead album launch on 26th February!