The Danish band are young, not-so-dumb and plenty of fun with their energetic mix of garage and surf.
After hearing ‘Road Rider’ we had to grab Cheap Shades for a quick Q & A.
Hi there, all the tracks we have heard so far are perfectly balanced between guitars, bass, drums, (sometimes organ) and vocals. You have a sound that it takes some bands many years to master; how did you all meet and how long have you been playing together?
Thanks a lot for the kind words. The founders and songwriters of the band is Bo and Jesper who met at a sound engineering course at ‘Rytmisk Center’ in Copenhagen in 2013. After the course we started making music together. This year we managed to put a whole band together in order to play our music live and actually most of the band is still pretty new.
We described ‘Road Rider’ as ‘a roadtrip through surf and psychedelia’ when we featured it on the website. How did the track come about?
Like with all our songs, we both bring something to the table: guitar ideas, fractions of lyrics or maybe a groove. ‘Road Rider’ was a track where we both had some ideas which we tried to combine. It took us some time to make it work, but it really came together when we decided the song needed a lifting chorus with new catchy lyrics. The lyrics had some inspiration from a movie called ‘Death Proof’ in which Kurt Russell drive around and acts like a real ‘Road Rider’.
Last year you released your self-titled debut EP. Tracks such as ‘Alright’ and ‘Steel Frame’ appear to be a more acoustic compared to the harder ‘Road Rider’, is this the case and was there a desire to make your most recent tracks sound different?
Not really, when we make music we try to use some similar ingredients and from there let the song decide which way to go, in the sense that we don’t force the song to be in a specific way, but just do what sound naturally for that specific song. As long as the new songs don’t stick out too much compared to earlier ones. We try to keep it within the same genre(garage/surf/rock) and just make something cool which we have fun playing.
All the tracks you have released have been in English, despite the fact that you are a band from Denmark. To what extent is it a challenge to write tracks that aren’t in your first language and have you written any songs in Danish?
Firstly, danish is not a very good ‘singing’ language. Secondly, we want our music to be understood all around the globe, to widen our audience and that is easier if it is in English. We don’t really have any problems writing in English, though the lyrics are written in pretty basic English, and it fits fine with the concept and genre of the music, both are straight out of the box and easy to understand.
You say that you have a shared passion in ‘Sound Engineering and Music Production’, how much of a help has this been when you take your band into the studio?
It helps a lot. It’s really important to know what you are doing when recording, mixing and mastering music, since this will have great impact on the outcome of the songs, a bad recording or mix can ruin a good song, which is a shame. All recordings we have published so far have been produced at home by either Jesper or Bo or together by jamming
You mention Dick Dale as one of your favourite artists, and you can hear surf guitars and tremolo picking in tracks such as ‘Just Outside the Town’ and ‘Surfing in the Street’. Is surfing a passion of yours, or is it just the musical style?
No, although our new bass player has actually been surfing a lot, we don’t have a particular passion for surfing, that’s a completely different lifestyle. That being said, interesting things do happen when differences meet, and surf rock can really bring some energy and edge into the mix. It’s not like we want to play songs that sound totally like Dick Dale or something totally BJM, but something cool can happen in between. We have many other inspirations as well.
What bands are you listening to at the moment, and you mention ‘the Brian Jonestown Massacre’ as a source of inspiration – what did you think of their most recent, more experimental, electronic album?
We listen to all kinds of music, and all of us actually have very different taste. It’s cool that BJM experiments with electronic music, but we are not really motivated by the electronic sounds, so we are more into the original 60’s sound that they are known for; in other words, we don’t like their new album!
What’s next for ‘Cheap Shades’; is an LP or another EP on the horizon, or possibly some touring?
Soon we will publish a live video from our latest and first concert from a small festival in Denmark, which will feature our earlier song ‘Surfing In The Street’. Then we have plans for making a music video for our next single ‘Carry On’. Also our plan now is to play as many concerts as possible to get more live experience and to get our music out there past the neighborhood.