A quick chat with Shanghai Blues the other day turned into a funky-fresh Q&A as they talked about their music journey, upcoming tour, and their definition of success in the music industry.
The four-piece England-based band told us all about their plans for 2018, which include, “Shows, touring, studio, new music, beer, beer, beer, touring.”
With the drop of their newest single, “Fall” in early February, the band says 2018 will
Photo by Saffron Foronda be focused on developing more of a following (although they regularly sell out their London shows), releasing new music, and playing more shows around the country. James Heed, a guitarist in the band says, “There is no comparable feeling to walking on the stage and tearing it up.”
After selling out their first show, they tried to find the words to describe the feeling. Heed said that selling out was, “Unreal! It really meant a lot to have that kind of support from those around us. We've got a Shanghai Blues team. I don't know if they know it, but we love them more than we love ourselves. They bad and boujee.” The band also looks toward their fans to describe their sound. “It's really hard to define your own music, so we like to let the fans define it for us and they always tell us it's nang af.” (Urban Dictionarydefines nang as: Another way of saying cool, wicked, etc.).
With a good fan base, the band must be doing something right with their alternative pop-rock sound. James Heed (guitar), James Chalk (front man/bass), and Mike (drums/management) were in a band when they were younger. The newest member, Reece, joined and it was the best decision they have made to date mentioned Heed. The band has been together for awhile and were not brought up Photo by Saffron Foronda
around music, but, “[They] were all innately drawn in by the unfathomable allure of sonic brilliance and insubordinate freedom cast upon one’s soul by the inclusion of one’s habits in music.” They were all drawn to music, but their writing process happens when they are separated. This may lead to the varying sounds on all of their released singled. Each one of the singles has a different feel, some faster with killer guitar, and other songs are softer with lyrics to match. “We always sit down in pairs and write - it's impossible to get four people to agree to something straight off the mark because we're so picky.”
One thing they do agree on is their attitude toward the band “if you're going to do something, give it 100% and all of us have dedicated a lot of time, effort and money to the band." It's easy to hear the dedication to their music in their songs. We like to think Catfish & the Bottleman meets The Shins? With intense guitar riffs, strong vocals, and ever-changing drums, the band has a sound like no other.
The true test of any artist is their love of music. Shanghai Blues had a wonderful response when asked if they had a moment where they thought the band could be something ~huge~ someday.
“I think we all have days where we wake Photo by Ant Adams up thinking, ‘this isn't working’, but it's not good to focus on those sorts of things. It can really mess up your head and also ruin your music if you get held up by the ‘are we gonna make it’ bullshit. We just really really, really, really, really love making music, playing shows, being stuck in a tiny car with all of our gear and everyone farting. We love it way too much to get dragged down by stats.”
As for their definition of success in the industry they replied, “Continuing to love what you do. Obviously it would be nice to sell a million records and make a ton of money, but you have to enjoy your life and whatever you're doing with it. Life gave me lemons, so we make music, ya get me?” Oh, we get you.
Catch Shanghai Blues on their European tour this April. What are they most excited about? Every show, the new towns, and all the beer they are going to drink.