September was a good month for Shy Nature. They released their debut self-titled EP, played a welcome hometown show to launch the EP and confirmed they would be joining up with Splashh and Charlie Boyer & The Voyeurs during their Autumn tour. We caught up with leadsinger Will from the band to discuss Megabuses, Morrissey and 90’s computer games amongst other things.
Hey Will… Deadly Sin was a real head-turner for me when I first heard it in April, was that the very first track you wrote as a band?
Yeah – it was actually written about a year ago on a Megabus journey from Glasgow to London. That was before the band had fully formed. Though we wrote a lot of material after it, when we sat down to think about what felt right to introduce people to our sound, we returned to Deadly Sin. It’s a song we love, though we were still kind of overwhelmed by the response when we first shared it.
You did get it spot-on with Deadly Sin. Have you all played in bands before or is Shy Nature the first for everybody?
We’ve played in bands before which ended for various reasons. Having crossed paths in the past, we all ended up living about 10 minutes from each other in London, so decided to get together and make some new music.
Where do you turn to for your influences? Going from the variety in your music they appear wide-varied (I especially enjoyed the 8-bit version of Deadly Sin)
There is a fair mix; groups like The Walkmen have influenced our use of organ sounds, we love the pure simplicity of The Strokes early material, and take a lot from the songwriting of George Harrison and others of his era. Many of our tracks originate as simple folk songs, and when working on initial chords and vocal melodies I find myself looking to the likes of John Martyn, Steely Dan, Morrissey, Joni Mitchell and Neutral Milk Hotel. The 8-bit stuff we did for fun after being struck by some childhood video game nostalgia one weekend. Gary sent it round and a few hours later Matt had made it a soundtrack to him playing the SNES game Paperboy. Nerds!
‘Live’ dates have been thin on the ground since you played Old Blue Last in the spring, was that due to writing & recording commitments?
A bit of everything really, we’ve been recording but also making our own music videos and acoustic versions of tracks from the debut EP we released in September. After shooting ‘Deadly Sin’ on a bunch of phones, Matt bought a decent camera about a week before we put EP track ’Sinking Ship’ online and we filmed and edited the video that weekend. Saying this, we emerged at a time when good shows are generally quite thin on the ground (festival season…) and have preferred to remain fairly selective about when and where we play. Expect our live activity to steadily ramp up.
We are looking forward to seeing more of you ‘live’. Do you have any tour plans in the pipeline?
We’re opening on a few tour dates with Splashh in mid-October, which will be our first proper string of shows away from home – we play Birmingham, Cambridge, Brighton then finish in London. It feels like a great first step, and one we’ll build on the next time. Particularly looking forward to playing in Liverpool and Glasgow at some point, where a few of us have lived previously.
You are still very much a new band so it may be difficult to answer BUT do you feel more at home on stage or writing & recording in the studio?
It’s important to strike a balance. We spent about 6 months writing, arranging and recording songs at home before even thinking about playing live. This contrasts other bands we’ve been in where it’s been tempting to play shows before properly figuring out the sound. Ultimately, we love playing live, but also take great satisfaction from developing songs together and making sure the material is right before getting too excited about shows.
What does the short-term future hold for Shy Nature now your self-titled debut EP has been released?
We capped the EP release with our first headline show in a local pub, which was a special night for us, followed by playing the main stage at Underground Festival in Gloucester a few days later. Next are our first tour dates, and having just finished recording, we’ll be finalising plans for another release. The new songs are some of our favourites yet, and we can’t wait to share them.
We were at Fiddlers Elbow to see your first headline show and the EP sounded great. Thanks for your time Will.