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

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Featuring members of acts including A Festival A Parade, Apologies, Blóm, Cave Suns, Drifts and Waskerley Way, mustard-adorned sextet Shy-Talk (now say it quickly…) have been busy making waves on the local circuit with their stomping and surreal take on punk. With their debut single Warlord Of The Dance out now and a debut headline show booked in at Newcastle’s Head of Steam on Saturday 24th February, I checked in with frontman Michael Bridgewater and guitarist St. Francis (surprisingly not his real name) to try and find out more about the how and why of Shy-Talk.

Discussing the band’s formation, Bridgewater shares, “My friends asked me to sing in their abrasive, rocking band, and I accepted. It had been a while since I had done the singer-in-band thing but I think I am growing back into it, enjoying myself. The primary motivation is self-indulgence, without a doubt, but I would contend that there’s nothing necessarily wrong with being self-indulgent. This phase of terrestrial life is short, so indulge in yourself if/when you can. We all have our own ideas of what excellence in music that features live guitars, drums, etc. entails, but personally I am trying to take some cues from the likes of the Nation of Ulysses, Drive Like Jehu, Nirvana, Thin Lizzy, Born Against and Big Black.”

The primary motivation is self-indulgence, without a doubt, but I would contend that there’s nothing necessarily wrong with being self-indulgent

Having made their live debut supporting Liars at the Boiler Shop in October – “the audience may have been there to see some ‘liars’, but thanks to our efforts, they left with the truth” – their first single Warlord Of The Dance arrived through Box Records in late January. Discussing the track, Bridgewater notes: “Like most of our songs, the riffs came first. I am not normally one to buy into electoralism, but I would happily vote for a party if it were to espouse a Riffs First policy. Anyway, I wrote the words once the riffs were glued together. The song is about remaining magnanimous amidst a bar brawl.”

All fine and well, but…this doesn’t really explain the mustard thing. Fortunately, St. Francis was on hand to elucidate. “We used to wear purple until Prince visited me in a dream on his motorbike. He said: ‘You can’t wear purple anymore. That’s my thing. Maybe you should try wearing mustard instead? I was going do that, but Mustard Rain didn’t quite sound right, so you go for it’. I asked if I could go with him on his motorbike but he told me I had to stay to deliver sonic pleasure to the North East and occasionally further afield.”

With a rapid follow-up to their debut single currently in the works and a recent performance at Sage Gateshead’s annual New Year New Artists event just gone, things are looking bright for Shy-Talk. With all this publicity and hype though, are Shy-Talk in danger of turning into that dread entity, a supergroup? “If supergroup means ‘group that is super’ then I will tolerate it,” Bridgewater clarifies. “With the six of us coming from different corners of the North East and supporting different football teams, I consider Shy-Talk to be something of a rainbow coalition, except the colours of the rainbow are all different shades of mustard.”

Shy-Talk play The Head of Steam, Newcastle on Saturday 24th February. Warlord Of The Dance is out now on Box Records.



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