‘I always look so confused on stage’: an interview with Shy Nature

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I caught up with quintessential indie band Shy Nature ahead of their penultimate night of their first headline UK tour. They discussed Limp Bizkit, tortilla chips and advice for student bands.

How’s the tour been going?

Will [vocals, guitar]: It’s been good… It’s been a lot of fun, we’ve played some new places, met some new people, and Phil met the guitarist from Limp Bizkit.
Phil [guitar]: Wes Borland, yeah. One to tick off the list!
Will: He got a photo with him and everything.

Oh really? That’s so cool!

Will: Yeah, put it on Twitter and it got retweeted by an Australian account…
Gary [keyboard]: Limp Bizkit Australia?
Will: Yeah, Limp Bizkit Australia.

Ahh nice, a bit of fame…

Will: Yeah, it was cool.

How are you feeling about tonight?

Will: Great! We had sound check, it’s a wicked little venue as well. It’s a nice place, yeah.

Yeah it’s nice, you guys sounded great!

Phil: Must be pretty loud then.
Will: You sure that was us and not The Creases? [laughter]

Do you guys feel nervous before you go out on stage anymore?

Will: It depends a lot on the vibe of the night. I think with London, I personally was nervous because loads and loads of friends and family were there and it was a bit bigger. Mum and Dad were there to tell me off when I was bad. But I think when you’ve had a good sound check and nothing is going wrong everyone feels pretty good.
Phil: Yeah, it relaxes you.
Gary: We’ve got a lot of time as well between now and when we play so we can chill out and get ourselves ready.
Will: Just eat loads of tortilla chips.

You’ve got a kilogram; why not?

Gary: When we run out of that we’ve got half a kilogram of pretzels

Carbohydrates, I like it! This is the second last night of your tour, tomorrow is Bristol; how do you guys feel now that it’s almost over?

Will: Quite sad.
Phil: Yeah, sad. Its been a lot of fun and if we could keep doing it for another month that would just be awesome.
Will: We go on tour later in the spring. It’s just nice to be out playing shows, it’s why we formed a band – to play live.

You’re amazing live, I saw you with Splashh in Brighton.

Will: There they are. [points to Splashh poster on the wall] Gary: We bring it everywhere we go.
Will: We don’t go anywhere without that. Ah, where was that?

Brighton, Green Door Store.

Phil: We really enjoyed that.
Will: Ah, that was a great venue.
Gary: We look forward to going back to Brighton.
WillWe’re playing The Great Escape there which will be cool.

Are you doing any other festivals?

Will: At the moment all we’ve been booked for is Tramlines, Live at Leeds and The Great Escape, but I’m sure there will be more.

Are there any dream festival you want to play?

Will: I dont know, we want to play Latitude because me and Matt have been going religiously for the last few years and its a nice vibe, love to play there. It would be great to play as many as possible.

Some of our readers may not have heard of you, so could you sum up your sound in a couple of words?

Will: Oh I suppose… rock music? I guess if I’ve only got two words.
Phil: Rock music, yeah. It’s fairly varied I suppose; up-tempo, garage-y sounds, indie sounds, there’s some sort of slower, heavier ones. I don’t know! It’s kind of varied rock.
Will: Rock and roll.
[Laughter]

I guess it’s quite hard to pin point it…

Will: Thats the best we can do!

Who would you say were your major influences are?

Will: I suppose we’ve got loads in the band. Song writing, I know I always listened to things like John Martin or The Beatles, and folk singers like Joni Mitchell have influenced me as a song writer to sit down with an acoustic guitar and write a song. Then when it comes to the whole band…
Phil: Yeah, its kind of a nice organic process – everyone can bring their own influences into the mix and colour it the way it becomes.

Like bands from childhood?

Gary: Or contemporary bands, things like The Walkmens are a bit of an influence on the way we put our tunes together and stuff like that.
Will: That band inspired us to put organ in the mix because we didn’t have organ and then we were listening to them so I got in touch with Gaz and was like ‘do you fancy learning organ?’. He got very good at the organ very quickly. He’s a talented chap.
Gary: It’s why I always look so confused on stage

Lie Back – your new EP – is out soon; could you tell us a bit about it? What influenced it?

Gary: It’s out Monday!
Will: Lie Back comes out Monday. What influenced it? I think the lyrics were inspired by a trip I made to the dentist and I was getting stressed out. I think I was having a filling and it just inspired the lyrics ‘lie back’; it became about getting over those stupid times where you’re getting scared, like at the dentist.

Just relax.

Will: Yeah, relax man.

So your plans for 2014 – you said festivals and touring?

Will: Yeah, as much gigging as we can, touring, putting out another single in May which will determine where we are at the moment. And then yeah, so do as many festivals over the summer and then probably another release in the autumn – maybe an EP, maybe a single. We keep recording all the time so we’re always writing and recording new stuff, with the aim of at some point doing an album.

So an album; when do you think you’ll be releasing one?

WillRealistically I don’t think it will be this year because we’d like to put some other stuff out before that. Get some more people to know our sound before that and then maybe early next year get around to doing an album. We definitely can’t wait to do it because we’ve got loads of songs for our records.

So there’s been quite a lot of debate about Spotify and online media resources, do you guys find it helpful or harmful to you guys as musicians and a band?

Phil: Personally, I think its a bit of a tricky one because its kind of an invaluable outlet for the world to hear us and get back to us about our music. I guess when it comes to people actually wanting to pay for an album then I don’t know…
Will: I don’t think we’re really in the generation of bands that are really bitter about it.
Phil: Yeah, we use it.
Gary: I love it, yeah.
Will: It’s hard to slag it off really.

So do you think it’s essential for bands to have an online presence now?

Will: I think it is, definitely, yeah.
Phil: Vital to the development of the band.
Will: People use it and its a good way of telling people what you’re up to.

Get your name out there!

Will: To tell people what time you’re out on stage – we spoke to two people who are coming tonight on Twitter just saying what time we’re on because we’ve all got the access to it. I just think it’s important to stay in touch with fans. We also like to talk to them in person as well, we don’t want to lose that.

Do you think its helped gain more fans having an online presence and touring as much as possible?

Will: It’s definitely helped us stay in contact with everyone who becomes a fan, so yeah, definitely.

So if you weren’t in the band, what would you be doing? Do you guys still have jobs?

Phil: Yeah, we work.

What would your dream jobs be?

Gary: Well really we’ve all been being musicians really
Will: We’d definitely be doing stuff related to music, like we play in a jazz trio around some restaurants in London and people actually pay money for that so that’s always good. [laughter] Will: I think all of us are musicians and would be doing something with music.

So where do you guys see yourself in about two to three years time? Where would you hope to be?

Will: Playing to lots of people, having done an album and just being a full time band.
Gary: That’s be the dream, and playing other countries.
Will: It’s early stages for us at the moment. We only got our first release last year so we’ve got a lot happening and we’re not expecting to become massive overnight, we just want to have a slow build and keep writing decent music with a solid fan base and work from there. Hopefully in three years time we’ll be doing some cool stuff!

Any advice for young student bands?

Will: I think good advice for people starting a band would be to make sure you can really play your song live and just before you tell people you’re in a band, make sure that you’ve rehearsed, practiced and you can actually go out there and play your stuff which will be better than recordings. That’s the whole point, playing live so people can hear the live stuff and it should be better live. Just make sure you think about things like your artwork and what you look like and how it comes across to people because it’s important as well. Just work hard I guess!
Gary: Always have the next thing coming

Have things lined up?

Gary: Yeah, definitely!
Will: Sometimes you put out a track and it may get people excited but they want more. They’re instantly wanting the next thing and if you can’t give them the next thing then they’ll lose interest.

Awesome! That’s great advice and that’s all the questions I’ve got so thank you very much!

Will: Not at all, it’s a pleasure.

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Head of Events for The Edge magazine. Keen concert goer and angry feminist. Shared recycled oxygen on a 12 hour flight with Foals.

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