North East electronic alt-pop outfit Shamu are set to release their debut EP this month so Lee Allcock caught up with the band to talk about the release, experimentation, and Northern Electric Festival.
You’re set to release your debut EP on Friday 20th July, so what can listeners expect from it in terms of its sound and lyrical content?
We’ve spent a lot of time exploring and experimenting whilst making this record; we’ve tried a lot of new ideas and they’ve come together to make something both expansive and focused. It’s electronic but it’s human. Lyrically, it’s about having to let go of something that isn’t good for you, whether it’s your choice or not. It starts off in a place of desperation and is a journey to a different way of seeing something.
‘Up In Arms’, a track we’ve recently played on the NE Volume radio show, features a verse from Hip Hop/ R&B artist, Sågaboi. What was it like working with Sågaboi? And how did that come about?
Us working together was a really good experience for everyone involved. We’d played a show together when we were both just starting out and when we wrote the beat and bass line for ‘Up In Arms’, we knew straight away it needed his flow on it. When we played Evo Emerging last year we asked him to guest on that track and he did and it was sick. When it came to recording the track for the EP, it was a no-brainer to get him in the studio with us.
‘Up In Arms’ is also a politically-charged release, so can we expect the EP to be politically-focused too?
That song is definitely the most politically direct on the EP – it’s a much more outward observation compared to the others.
Having listened to the EP, it sounds like you’ve experimented a lot with the drum sounds and synthesisers. What was the reason behind that?
We really love exploring new sounds and when it comes to production we get a lot of ideas from hip-hop and electronic music. We try to make headphone candy with loads of little details and interesting textures.
You worked with producer James Haselhurt on the new release. What was that like? And did he give you any advice?
We’ve worked with James on everything we’ve recorded so he has an incredible sense of what will make our songs come to life. His studio, The Grain in Newcastle, is a really cool space so it’s just a pleasure to go there with him and explore that process. Recording the EP was an exciting back and forth of ideas between everyone.
You’re set to play Northern Electric Festival this month, so what can gig-goers expect from your set? Will you be playing the EP in full for example?
We will indeed be playing the EP in full as well as some new songs. We’ve spent a lot of time working on how we portray these songs live and we love doing it. We’re really excited to be part of Northern Electric Festival again and we haven’t played any shows in a little while so it’s going to be worth seeing.
And finally, what else do you have coming up in 2018 that your fans can get excited about?
We will be heading back to The Grain to record some new stuff, possibly an album. We’ve been writing lots since finishing the EP and we’re excited to see how that takes shape in the studio.
To listen to Shamu’s debut EP, head to soundcloud.com/shamuisaband on Friday 20th July.