Folk pop hasn’t sounded more sweeter or more alive than the emotional rush of Shake Shake Go. Their spirited, pastoral tones and hand-on-heart storytelling will warm even the coldest of hearts and leave them in wonderment. We meet the Welsh-French band at a transitional period, one which is sure to seal their future as a household name. They are currently knee deep into recording their début album, but first we caught up with them to discuss their forthcoming release, the ‘England Skies’ EP, out 9th March.
Your latest single ‘England Skies’ has racked up over 1.3 million plays, that’s a huge number! What’s your reaction to hearing that many people have listened to your song?
“It’s really cool. Spotify has been a really great platform for us. We get people turning up to our gigs just from hearing this one song, and messages from people across the world telling us they’ve just discovered ‘England Skies’. So it’s awesome. I think the song has now reached 2.5 million plays on Spotify….which is crazy!”
‘England Skies’ is taken off your forthcoming EP, can you tell us a little bit more about each of the tracks that are on the EP?
“So the first song on the EP is ‘England Skies’ which is a song about giving hope to someone. I wrote the lyrics thinking about my brother who was living in America and going through a bit of a rough time on his own and needed some love. I think everyone goes through stages where they feel like everything gets a bit much. Sometimes all you need to know is that there’s someone there for you if you need them. That’s what this song is saying.
‘Doors To Heaven’ is the most powerful song on the EP. Its anthemic and empowering with a celtic feel to it.
‘The Lovers Side’ is a ballad and a love song about two people who have gotten to the point where they’ve almost given up, and have to make a choice. Its quite raw and probably the most delicate song emotionally on the EP.
‘Take me to the sea’ is the last track. The sea and nature are a big part of what influences us as a band, and it features itself a lot in this song. Musically it moves a lot. There’s a feeling of freedom and space to it, but also a lot of dynamics and power.”
How were the studio sessions? Do you enjoy your time in the studio?
“Being in the studio is always fun. For this EP we got the ferry over to France to record in the middle of nowhere for 5 days. It was a good place to be.”
How did the EP come together – from conception to completion how long did it take to get the tracks together?
“I guess you could say it took a couple of years. All the songs on the EP were written over a vast period time, along with a handful of other songs. ‘Take Me To The Sea’ was one of the first tracks we wrote when we first started the band. ‘Doors To Heaven’ and ‘The Lovers Side’ were written in the summer of 2013 when we were going on tour in France for the first time. ‘England Skies’ was written about 4 months before we went to the studio.
We’d had a lot of time practicing and gigging the songs, and getting a feel for what works best. In the end we picked what we thought would be a good introduction to Shake Shake Go.”
The ‘England Skies’ EP is very empowering and romantic. What was the inspiration behind the tracks?
“The main idea when writing the songs was to have something simple and relatable. Everything comes from something either we’ve been feeling or from what we know other people close to us have been going through, but with an added sense of hope.
There’s also a running theme of nature. It’s probably one of our biggest inspirations. For me, when ever I’m writing lyrics I always have to imagine I’m standing on top of a huge mountain singing at the top of my voice with my arms spread out and a camera panning around me. It’s a bit dramatic, but it makes me feel epic and gets me in the zone.”
Your band name came to you in a very unusual but creative way; can you tell us more about that?
“A couple of years ago we went busking all around the UK to get people to hear our music. But we didn’t have a name, and we couldn’t think of one ourselves. They were all really bad. So we decided to set up a competition ‘Name our band’ where people could go online and send us their suggestions of names. And we had loads! People really got involved in it – I think by the end we had about 700 suggestions.
But our winner was a little boy named Archie who joined in with us playing the shaker when we were busking in Sheffield. His dad wrote to us saying he’d came up with the name ‘Shake Shake Go’ and we went with it.”
You have a UK tour on the horizon, what’s your favourite thing about touring?
“Getting to travel a lot is cool. Before being in the band I’d only ever been on one holiday (Disneyland Florida – it was awesome). So, getting to go to all these different cities and countries is a really big excitement for me and the rest of the band.”
For people that may be new to your live shows, can you give them an idea of what to expect?
“A combination of heavy drum lead performances and folk based clarity with a lot of energy!”
You must have become really close to each other with spending a lot of your time together. Music after all brings people closer. What have you learnt about each other from your time in this band?
“We’ve got to know everyone’s little quirks. Kilian has to track everywhere we’re going using his iPhone maps app. He loves maps. We’ve learned to keep an eye on Virgile, as he tends to loose something every time we go out. Marc has a history for missing his trains. The boys have discovered that I am actually an 80-year-old woman and really enjoy doing Arrow Word puzzles at every opportunity. And as for Toby, we’ve just learned that Toby will always be Toby.”
What’s the plan for this year after you’ve released the EP?
“We’re working on our début album at the moment, so as well as gigging and touring, we’re going to be working hard on that and hopefully have it ready for your ears by September/October.”
Shake Shake Go will be touring the UK throughout May:
18th May – The Castle, Manchester
19th May – Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London
20th May – The Birdcage, Bristol