Nadine Shah is a young artist, but she works fast… She’s already released two EPs this year and her debut full length is due July 23rd on Apollo/R&S Records… It has the best title of any album to come out all year… Love Your Dum and Mad (produced by Ben Hillier, known for his work with the likes of Suede, Blur, Depeche Mode, and The Horrors). Shah is an enchantingly morose singer/songwriter who grew up in a sparse English town (Whitburn) and currently resides in London. She uses little more than a piano to compose hauntingly profound numbers that sound equally as if they could’ve been conceived in the golden years of post-punk or an electrified version of the old West… or the Outback (She has drawn comparisons to Mr. Cave.) Like Poe, her work is scary and prolific in a timeless sense… but embodies a beauty well worth staring straight in the face. She most regularly gets compared to Mr. Cave’s former squeeze, Polly Jean… something that both flatters and confuses her. I recently got a chance to chat with Ms. Shah… who proved to be far more light-hearted, charming, and friendly than her often apocalyptic sounds might imply… But, isn’t that always the way…
Izzy Cihak: Despite being a relatively new artist, you’ve already gained a lot of amazing critical acclaim. Do you have any favorite critical assessments of your work, or critics that you feel like best “get” you? Or, for that matter, any that most annoy you? You’ve called out people for being so quick to compare you to PJ Harvey.
Nadine Shah: I’ve been pretty lucky. We’ve had a lot of very good press about my work so far… which is lovely! I get compared to PJ Harvey a lot, but that, in no way, is a bad thing… I love her! Personally, I don’t really see the connection between our music, but I do see a similarity in our approach to music making, if that makes sense? I read something one critic wrote that I really liked, which was that my music was “A cross between Maria Callas and Interpol,” haha.
IC: What have been the highlights of your career, thus far?
NS: Sorry for the boring answer but, honestly, just making the record has been the real highlight. Seeing the project totally evolve from bedroom demos on my laptop to then having a team of super talented musicians play them and (in my opinion) one of the best producers around make it.
IC: What were the biggest influences and inspirations behind your debut?
NS: All sorts of things. Lyrically, it’s been inspired by films and books I’ve read. Sonically, I was inspired more by sound art than other music, like industrial noises. I think the way we recorded the album is interesting in that it is recorded in two different places. We recorded half the album in my Dad’s warehouse in Newcastle. My producer, Ben, made sure to capture the whole sound of the place… including traffic noise from outside and the overall enormity of the space.
IC: Do you have a particular favorite album track, or one which you feel like best represents where your sounds are going in the future? I quite like “The Devil.”
NS: “The Devil” is also one of my favourite sounding tracks, kind of like a Balkan cowboy film? Haha. I think my favourite song on the album is a track called “Floating”… Lyrically, I think it sums up the overall theme of the LP.
IC: What are you most excited for in the second half of 2013? You have a number of upcoming shows in the UK. Any chance of a US tour this year, or early next year? If so, what can be expected of the live experience?
NS: I’m excited/anxious for the release of the album… It’s been a long time coming. But yep, we’ve lots and lots of shows in the autumn and we’re headed to lots of different cities where I’ve not played before, so that’s exciting. I’ve no idea when our US shows will be, most likely at the very end of the year or early 2014. What can be expected of the live experience? A lot of peculiar facial expressions from me.