Track Fanatic Interview: The Shivers Bring “More” To Town

© 2010 Scott Rudd
scott.rudd@gmail.comMusic is constantly being fused into new and innovative takes on what’s been deemed as conventional. Instances of this have been recorded throughout the history of Jazz, Rock, etc. The Shivers don’t necessarily have the impact of a new genre, but the band is evolving and they are contributing a new perspective in how they write songs using folk, rock and soul. They blend influence from rock legends like Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, and Leonard Cohen, but also manage to take cues from soul musicians like Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, and Otis Redding.

The Shivers made their debut in 2004 with the release of an album entitled, Charades. From the album an indie folk single  called Beauty caught the attention of music critics, and since then they have gone on to release their fifth and latest album, More.

The new album, More, is introduced with a beautiful piano piece by Jo Schornikow called My Mouth Is For My Love. Initially, before hearing the whole album for the first time, I thought that this might have been a light-hearted play on Spinal Tap's, Lick My Love Pump. That's obviously wrong I now realize, but it left me wondering why it was given this unique name. Is this a statement made to someone particular? Is it a dedication?

The song title was influenced by prostitutes. Whenever you go with a whore she never lets you kiss her on the mouth. She's saying you can pay for my body but my mouth is for my love. Not that I go with whores I'm just saying that's what I heard they say.

In your latest album you've revisited the track entitled, Kisses, which was from your debut album, Charades. Is there connections between what inspired this track initially, and the overall narrative that you're telling in the new album, More? Why was this particular song chosen?

This is a song we've been playing in the band for awhile and when Jo joined the band she added something to it. The version on "Charades" is more like a demo. This is closer to the version. Although, we have a live version that is different than this, it's faster, more danceable.

The track, Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars, is the only song on the album composed in an orchestrated fashion. Is this your first experience doing something like this? I also heard some Leonard Cohen influence in this track, but are there other musical influences that guided the particular style of this song?

It's funny the Leonard Cohen thing has been coming up a lot and it's great in a way because I am definitely a fan, how could one not be?  I just hope I don't come across as a rip off artist because that's not what I'm trying to do. Jo arranged the strings. She's done this once before on a song we have called "I Wish I Was Never Born" .  The song was written from event memories. Never is there a conscious effort to write a song in a particular style.

What soul musicians influence your songwriting?

Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Ike and Tina, Prince and thousands more.

The band practices in a church in Flushing, NY, but the album was recorded in Manchester. Why did the band choose to record in the UK?

The reason for going to the UK was for the particular studio. It's an amazing studio called Analogue Catalogue and I highly recommend it. It's in an amazing house on the outskirts of Manchester in a little town called Mosley. The couple who run it Julie and Rob are wonderful, and you overlook the English countryside. The reason for going there was to record in an entirely analogue studio. There is not even one computer in the studio. All analogue gear recording live to tape. It's a choice and it's made to combat what I feel is ruining music and that is Pro Tools. Not only does Pro Tools sound awful , it also influences the process in which the music is made. With Pro Tools you have unlimited tracks and can easily get into the habit of "comping" or using snippets of different takes to make the song. Sure this is often done in analogue recording to a certain extent but in Pro Tools recording, bands are getting to the point of having a song with 80-100 tracks taking snippets down to a syllable of a line from one take and piecing it with another. After awhile, the music loses it's humanity and it's basically the computer making the song. This isn't to say I'm against electronic/computer made music. In fact, some of it, I quite like but in that music it's intentional. I find using computers to try to simulate a live rock band in a room sound is dishonest. Call me a purist.

Will May 15th be the first time that The Shivers perform in Fullerton? Have you done other performances with artists in the lineup (Lily Bee, The Janks, Su Blah Nu)?

We have played in Fullerton once before and I believe it was at the Commonwealth Lounge and also with the great band Su Blah Nu. We can't wait to come play with them again. 


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