I’m guessing that a number of you are, at the moment, eagerly anticipating Bishop Briggs’ first ever Philthy headlining show this Friday, May 5th, at Union Transfer… And, if you’re anything like me, I’m guessing you generally like to take your sweet ass time getting ready and show up fashionably late… However, equally as enticing and intoxicating as this particular indie chanteuse is immediate support, SHAED, who I’m guessing will hit the stage shortly before 9… The DC-based trio, comprised of twin brothers Max and Spencer Ernst and vocalist Chelsea Lee, kick out sassy, sultry, and synthy indie pop jams that would seem to be equally indebted to ‘80s New Wave and ‘90s R&B. After their dates supporting Bishop Briggs SHAED will play a number of festivals, including a return to our general area for Firefly (Moz help them…) I recently got a chance to chat with the band about how they came together and how it is to have so much major stuff going on in their present.
Izzy Cihak: First off, I have to ask what DC’s like these days? I spent my teen years (2000-2003) basically living at 9:30 and The Black Cat, but it’s been a while.
Max Ernst: It’s eclectic. It’s very DIY and communal. Everyone is supportive of each other’s music even if it’s not the genre they’re creating. DC has a deep-rooted history of soul, jazz, and funk (Marvin Gaye, Duke Ellington, Chuck Brown) and there are really good musicians in DC now who are flowing that into future electronic music.
Izzy: Do you have any particular favorite spots to play or local peers to play with?
Chelsea Lee: 9:30 Club is the pinnacle of all DC venues and is our favorite club to play in the whole country. It was such an amazing experience to play there in the fall with Marian Hill.
Izzy: And I realize this is a really big question, but what have been some of the highlights of the band so far?
Spencer Ernst: 1) Having a fan in Seattle tattoo our signatures on her arm. 2) Running on fumes in the middle of Nevada just barely rolling into the gas station. 3) Headlining a club in San Diego and seeing everyone singing along to our tracks.
Izzy: What was it that originally brought the three of you together? Although I realize two of you have been together for literally your whole lives…
Chelsea: We met when we were in high school. I still remember the exact date – August 31st. I instantly fell in love and we’ve been best friends ever since. We were always making music together but never had the opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in a project until we created SHAED in March of last year.
Izzy: Is there anything you think is especially important for fans and potential fans to know about your process of making music?
Max: We live together, cook together, and basically spend 100% of our time together so we’re really comfortable with being honest and free when we’re creating.
Izzy: What would you consider to be your most significant influences, both musical and otherwise?
Chelsea: My parents raised me on the most alternative 80’s music – Peter Gabriel, The Smiths, and the B-52s. That stuff still remains my absolute favorite. Right now we’re really into Sampha, the Japanese house, and Roosevelt. Our collective favorite album is Kid A – Radiohead.
Izzy: You have a ton of really big shows coming up, including a bunch opening for Bishop Briggs and a bunch of festivals. Are there any gigs you’re especially excited to play, or cities or fellow artists you’re especially excited to see?
Chelsea: We are so stoked about this entire tour with Bishop Briggs. I’m honestly excited for every single show, in every single city. We’re also really excited about playing Firefly because we’ve never played a big festival like that before.
Izzy: How has it been getting to play with Bishop Briggs every night? Were you previously a fan of hers? I definitely dig her as well.
Spencer: Bishop kills it every single night. We always dug her tracks. More than that her and her band are awesome people and so humble. We’re learning a lot.
Izzy: What can be expected of your live set when you play Union Transfer?
Chelsea: Just get ready to have fun 😉
Izzy: Finally, what do you have planned for the second half of 2017? What are you most excited about?
Max: Playing festivals and recording new songs.