INTERVIEW: Shamu | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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There’s an interesting piece of advice from John Lydon is often quoted when offering advice to young bands; namely the idea of splitting revenue and creativity credits equally. Putting forward the idea that democracy, and band harmony, is much more important to a successful career than in-fighting over small percentage points, Lydon is a staunch believer that the last thing a band should be focused on is their own egos. Paraphrasing heavily; if you’re going to be in a band, then you’ll have a greater chance of success if you can create a dynamic where everyone feels involved and that their ideas matter.

Whether or nor Shamu have recently been reading any of the Gospel according to Lydon, given their recent activities, there’s a strong chance they’re at least going to the same church. “I think what’s more important than anything to this band is that we all want Shamu to be a product of our friendship as much as it’s us trying to ‘do’ a band.” says one-fourth of the band Jonathon Evans. “The main motivation for the band is that we love doing it, and we love creating together. It’s really important for us all to be part of the creative process.”

The main motivation for the band is that we love doing it, and we love creating together. It’s really important for us all to be part of the creative process

Defining this attitude, Shamu’s new album, Use Your Voice, which is released on 12th June, sees the Newcastle electronic band deliberately retrace earlier steps to ensure all members felt they contributed to the album. “Some of the songs were written in 2017, and some of the singles like Dive and Jump Ship we’ve completely redone and rerecorded as a band. Originally there were two members in the band and now there are four and we all felt it was important to go back to the original songs and rework them. We wanted to create a band atmosphere where none of us were too precious about ownership but could all see our contributions.” 

Coming in at nine tracks, Use Your Voice is a sparse, beat-heavy album filled with new-wave spiky guitars, as perfectly evidenced on Dive, and moments of distant atmospherics as found on Jump Ship. Pop in places and dance-floor ready in others, Use Your Voice is a cross-genre journey into themes of friendships and relationships with a consistent atmosphere. “We’ve already written another seven or eight new songs which we want to record but we wanted the first album to represent our first chapter as a band, and these songs fit together nicely to define how we sound at the moment.” Pushed a little further about what their ‘sound’ is, Evans admits that it’s often hard to describe: “there’s a sense of space throughout the album, but it’s also really considered. There are parts which are really tender, which we’ve never done before, and there are points on the album that are huge with massive synth beats but they are scattered across the album; no one wants to listen to 40 minutes of the same sound.”

On a creative roll, the current thought is to record some follow-ups as soon as possible and to get out into the live scene to promote the material. Until then, their album serves as a fine example of what happens when you mix teamwork with extraordinary ideas.

Shamu release Use Your Voice on 12th June

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