Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Emerging Leeds trio B Shells Sing & Tell

Newly formed Leeds-based alt-dreampop trio B Shells, made up of members of The Voltaires, Proper Ornaments and Creatures, kick off at a pace making their debut with a seven-track mini-album/EP, 'Silver', released on January 11 2019.

Who are you? 

I’m KayV (aka Paul Cave). I play guitar, masquerade as a singer and pluck and paw at other instruments with varying degrees of competency. We also have MikeC (Mike Cockerham), who plays guitar/bass/keys, sings, engineers our records and makes an outstanding cup of Yorkshire tea, and finally BobE (Bobby Syme), The Busiest Man in Music™, who plays drums/ guitar/bass and keys, sings, does a bit of engineering alongside MikeC and possesses rock solid instincts around the reduced items shelves at both major supermarket chains AND local convenience stores.

Tell us something about yourself and how you came to be where you are today.

We all used to be in Leeds-based garage rock band, The Voltaires. When things came to an end a few years ago we kept on our rehearsal space/studio and started writing together. Although we all love garage rock it was quite freeing to escape the confines of the genre and see what happened. B Shells happened.

Give us an idea of your musical style and influences.

If the Beach Boys grew up in Yorkshire, listened to the Smiths and Cocteau Twins and couldn't really sing... which is to say, we love harmonies and echo. Hopefully, none of us is Mike Love. We’re huge music fans and we’re into a really diverse range of bands, but I guess Joanna Newsom, Dylan and Frightened Rabbit are my main influences in terms of lyrics (aim high).

Explain the production and writing process behind your songs.

We all write the music together – one of us might bring in an idea, or even a fully formed song, then we shape and mould it into a SLEEK POP DIAMOND. We’ve played together for a while, so we’re pretty good at not punching each other in the face during this process (although muttering under our breaths and passively aggressively munching on a handful of cashews isn’t above us). Lyrics are quite important to me and I tend to write most of them, with help from the others when required.

Production-wise, we wanted something quite simple, analogue and organic, but without restricting ourselves to playing everything live (as was the case with our previous band). There’s a certain dreamy quality about the songs – a yearning – which hopefully comes across in the recordings.

What can you tell us about your new EP?

We recorded the tracks on 'Silver' between 2016-2018, then spent the last few months mixing and mastering. Taking lead vocals was a scary prospect for me after a lifetime of hiding behind my guitar and chirping in with the occasional shout during choruses.

It features six thoughtful songs about the modern world, plus one instrumental about the economic influence of the developments in shipbuilding techniques, 1450-1485. Maybe. Includes melody, harmony and a single rude word.

We had a lot of songs to choose from and wanted to put together and EP that worked as a nice introduction to the band. There’s a lot of unpleasantness in the world at the minute, which I felt I had to address on songs like 'Black/White' and 'Two More Years'.

Can we catch up with you at any forthcoming live shows?

We live all over the country and BobE is busy with his other bands, but we hope to play live at some point this year.

How's the year looking, plans-wise?

MikeC has started mixing our debut album, which we hope to bring out in the summer. We’re also around halfway through writing our second album. Expect more thoughtful tunes for terrifying times.

Where can we hear more of your music?

'Silver' is available to stream and download from all your usual corporate behemoths, including Amazon, Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud.

What social media platforms can we find you on?

Facebook // Instagram // Twitter

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