Photo: Lewis Evans
Words: Linn Branson
Ahead of what transpires to be a new musical period in the life of buzzy Yorkshire indie rock quintet SHEAFS, Little Indie put some quick-fire questions to the band's guitarists, Chris and Charles.
Check out the words, listen to some of their (old) tunes, then scroll down for tour dates - AND - how you can bag yourself a couple of free tickets to one of the shows to hear the revamped SHEAFS for yourself.
SHEAFS are: Lawrence Feenstra (lead vocals), Chris Goodacre (guitar/backing vocals), Charles Mellor (guitar), Callum Wright (bass/backing vocals), Charlie Eastap (drums).
So, hello, and who do we have here?
Good afternoon, it's Chris (CG) and Charles (CM), SHEAF's guitarists.
And how are you doing, chaps?
(CM) We’ve been working hard recently on revamping our set with new tunes.
(CG) Then obviously we’ve got our tour with This Feeling starting in Southampton on Friday, which we’re all absolutely buzzing for.
SHEAFS, the name - why and how?
(CG) We just see the word SHEAF everywhere in Sheffield; it’s like a disease. So we thought we’d add an S on the end and make it a band name.
(CM) It’s also pretty easy for people at our gigs to chant, which creates a decent atmosphere.
Acting as your own PR, for those who don't know you, give us the spin on SHEAFS, the band, the music.
(CG) We’re a band who thrives off live performance. We walk on stage with the attitude and the hunger that every time we play it will be the last time. If you’re standing still, we’ll make you move. If you’re looking, we’ll make you stare and if you hear we’ll make you listen.
Sheffield band...lot of good stuff from those parts. Do you feel you have a lot to live up to?
(CM) Yeah, there have been some good bands from here in the past and there’s a decent current music scene here, which is helpful for any new bands including ourselves.
When you first came together and presumably said something along the lines of, "hey, let's form a band!", was it a meeting of musical minds on the style and sound you would adopt, or did you have a few squabbles?
(CG) We feel we’ve gone through a teething process this past year and are now finding some ground in our song writing. This has been helped by the fact we’ve all broadened our listening where as when we started we all had pretty similar music taste.
You were tagged, I believe, a ‘punk Libertines’ by Christian Carlisle of BBC Introducing Sheffield. Are you still trying to live up to that, or live it down?
(CG) Yeah, we’re big fans of The Libertines and the stuff Pete and Carl have done and feel we carry a somewhat similar energy when we play live.
(CM) Saying that, we wouldn’t put them down as notable influences. It’s refreshing to get a punk comparison, as we don’t feel like we’re just an indie rock band.
You brought out your debut EP last year - very favourably reviewed by us! [see here] - what have you got lined up for this year, product-wise?
(CG) Big thanks for the review; we’re glad you liked it. As we have said, we’ve been working hard on new tracks which we feel are taking a new direction and we plan to release singles this year with the first one hopefully coming very soon.
What's on the cards for your upcoming run of shows?
(CM) Well, I think the most noticeable thing about these next few shows will be that we will be playing a completely new set with only one of our old songs making the cut.
(CG) We’re also buzzing to venture out to new venues with us playing three new cities including Southampton, Manchester and London. We hope to turn some heads so that we can get invited back down soon.
Writing and crafting a song, getting in the studio to record it, playing it live on stage - put the three in order of preference.
(CG) You want to write a song thinking about how it’s going to be received by the audience live. We’ve invested more time into crafting these new songs in order to get the most energy out of our set. As much as we enjoy recording a song and hearing it back, the most important aspect for us is song-writing and playing those songs live.
Name your three favourite SHEAFS songs to play, and give reasons.
(CM) Tricky one that, it’s hard to call a favourite and with us completely revamping our set we’ve only played some of the songs a handful of times. We’ve got a longer song called ‘I Need You’, that’s always good to play live cause it’s got a groove to it and a nice little bass breakdown halfway through.
(CG) ‘Sheeba Shake’ has quite a lot of energy to it, so that’s always a decent one to play.
(CM) Then we’ve got ‘Mind Pollution’ which is the newest song we’ve wrote. It’s got plenty of energy and pretty catchy, so that’s been going down well at gigs recently.
Who is influencing you right now musically? Are there any certain styles you'd like to try or artists that you look at and think you'd like to try a cover of?
(CG) Cage The Elephant, especially their album 'Tell Me I’m Pretty', there’s just something about that album.
(CM) We’re also fans of Nick Waterhouse who we went to see in Manchester a few weeks back. It’d be interesting to try and put our own spin on one of his songs.
To quote one of your song titles, 'Nobody's Watching', if nobody was and you could do absolutely anything and get away with it, what would you get up to?
(CG) We’d probably go venture Stateside and break into Dan Auerbach’s studio: he’s got some nice guitars we wouldn’t mind having a go on. Hopefully he wouldn’t mind and would agree to produce an album for us…
You now have a few sentences for your big plug to push whatever you might want to promote. Use it wisely. Go.....
We venture out on our first ever tour starting this Friday (March 24) with This Feeling - come and see us!
Finally, to quote another of your own songs, what is your own 'Punchline'?
(CM) Sorry, what’s that song? [Their loud rock 'n' riffs official debut single of early last year.]
How will the new SHEAFS sound er, sound? Well, if you would like to catch them live and hear for yourself, then all you have to do to be in with a chance to win a free pair of tickets, is email us with 'SHEAFS COMP' in the subject box, together with your name and preferred date to: email@example.com
24 The Joiners Southampton
01 Jimmy’s NQ Manchester
08 Lending Room Leeds
15 Rocking Chair Sheffield
22 The Rocksteady London
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