London based Shy Nature are already making their mark on the industry as we speak, along with a slew of other new bands following in the footsteps of such indie giants as The Maccabees, The Strokes and Mystery Jets. Shy Nature will be a name you won’t be forgetting any time soon, with an impossibly catchy sound, comprised of anthemic pop hooks, polished streamlined guitar melodies and spine tingling vocals, they have all the makings of a band with staying power. This month see’s Shy Nature take to the road for their first headline tour of the UK, tickets are limited, so be sure to get yours as soon as possible.
I caught up with the band before they head out on tour to discuss everything from the nicknames they have for each other, their new single, Lie Back, and much, much more.
Firstly, I’d like to say thanks for this interview. What’s one thing that we should all know about Shy Nature that we might not know about you yet?
Despite being old enough to know better, we all have childish band nicknames. Our keyboard player Gary is older than most of us, but looks like a boy. He gets called ‘Teenage’, or ‘Teeno’ for short. Other names include ‘Dad’, ‘Amnesiac’ and ‘Fizz’. We’ll leave the explanations for another time…
What’s the story behind your band name and how long did it take you to settle on it?
For a while, we had about 20 options written on a wall in our flat. ‘Shy Nature’ ended up sticking, partly as we liked the combination of words, and partly as reference to the way songs are often outlets for things you don’t express in the moment..
You’re set to go out on your first headline tour of the UK this month. What can we be expecting from the tour and have you got any surprises in store for us? Anywhere you’re particularly looking forward to playing?
We’re excited about all the shows. If we were to pick, probably Glasgow and Liverpool especially, as a few of us have spent some pretty memorable years living in those cities. Expect to hear our biggest and most energetic live show yet – including a bunch of music we’ll be playing for the first time ever.
Your new single, Lie Back, is another stunning track. Can you tell us a little bit about the track and the concept behind it?
The song is about overcoming trivial fears. The original idea was actually inspired by a trip to the dentist. People use a lot of energy worrying about simple things, which is kind of reflected by the urgency and twitchiness of the parts, and big instrumental section at the end which is like a release of frustration. It’s a lot of fun to play live.
You’ve been working away in the studio on some new material. How is it sounding? What is it you’re working on?
There’s a lot of material written, so we’ve been taking the chance to record whenever we can, without necessarily having a specific release in mind. We spent a week on a farm in Wales at the start of January, and finished another four tracks. A couple of the ones we did feel like real steps forward for our sound; we’re looking forward to when the time is right to share them.
Your songs are insatiably addictive. When it comes to working on them, what comes first for you, the melody or the lyrics? Can you talk us through your songwriting process a little bit?
Usually the melody comes first – I’ll play a few chords on an acoustic guitar until I find something that fits. Deciding what to write about always take much longer. Everyone in the band has different influences, so the song structure often evolves as it becomes noisier. It’s an fun process, and what we end up with represents us all.
I’m always fascinated by song lyrics and phrases, your band are particularly good at writing the perfect lyric. So I wanted to ask, what’s your favourite lyric that you’ve written?
Probably verse 2 of ‘Washout’, from our EP:
Young boy gets gold stars
Uniform so he feels part
Try harder for next year
Ambition can disappear
It’s about the struggles of traditional schooling, which often dumb down a kid’s raw talent. The accompanying music is pulsing and frustrated, which fits with the sentiments of the words.
Are you surprised by the level of attention and enthusiastic response you have received from such main stream media outlets as NME, Radio 1, DIY and The Line of Best Fit, just off the back of your début EP and new single?
We’ve been flattered by the response, for sure. Many new “guitar bands” seem to have been popularised by a formulaic idea of what’s “cool”, which has kinda drawn focus away from the music. We just want to make great songs.
We’re big supporters of new music here at Bitter Sweet Symphonies. Having said that, are there any new artists that have caught your attention recently that you’d like to share with us?
They’re not totally new, but we like Sydney band The Preatures a lot. They make fun, unpretentious music and their singer is mesmerising live.
Do you have any tips for new bands starting out, any advice that you could give them?
Record your best songs, and make sure you can play them. Make a plan. Learn how releases are handled for established bands, and do the same with your own. Constantly think about what happens next. Don’t wait for, or expect, someone else to pick you up and take you somewhere. Just get your shit ready, and start going there yourself.
What are your hopes for Shy Nature in 2014?
We plan to release more music, play some summer festivals and do another tour. It’s really important to us that we play in front of as many of the people who’ve listened to and supported us so far, around the UK and beyond. Somewhere along the way I’m sure we’ll select and record tracks for an album. It’s gonna be an exciting year.
A special thanks to Shy Nature for this interview and for more info on the band, check out the following links below.