Northern Irish act Shocks are an edgy rock trio from Bangor, Northern Ireland, one that has built largely through the isolation of lockdown. The three-piece have gone big from the start, producing an EP entitled ‘Sayonara’ that is intended to both tell a story and introduce the band fully, after four preceding singles.
“The EP is entitled ‘Sayonara’ and I suppose you could call it a ‘concept’ EP,” guitarist Ryan Davison says. “There’s a theme that threads its way through each song and there is definitely an arc to the story.”
“It came to be as a result of an old Marlon Brando movie of the same name that Andrew (Wilsdon), our singer, watched on a cold, wet and miserable night in January. The EP isn’t about the movie, but it birthed the idea around which all other ideas became anchored. It is an EP that tells a story of a man on a journey from rock bottom – his world falling apart around him – and he slowly picks himself up, manages to both deal with and distance himself from all that is weighing him down and take flight to pastures new.”
“I think we all deserve at times to feel like we just want a fresh start, but as humans with emotional connections and commitments, naturally we have a lot of baggage to deal with first, and it simply has to be dealt with before you can really make that leap.”
“Something we focus on a lot is making sure the music represents us not only as a collective but as individuals. Andrew is largely left to his own devices when I share with him a melody, riff or chord progression for a new song to work out what he wants to say, what he thinks my riff is trying to say and what serves the song.”
“We’re three long-time best friends, and because of this we know each other’s strengths and we have trust in each other to deliver in our own areas in that respect. That being said, however, we’re not dogmatic in our approach – any one of us can contribute towards the music, the lyrics or the general groove or flavour of the song.”
Part of that comes through self-production – that what Shocks produce is theirs at its core, from start to finish, including the work that puts a shine to the songs in the studio.
“In the years before Shocks was formed, I was regularly producing and mixing my own music,” Davison says, “however it was in the world of electronica & ambient. To have the opportunity now to apply what I had learned to our rock music is exciting, and sometimes yields interesting results.”
“Recording with renowned engineer Lee McMahon on ‘Sometimes’, ‘Crocodile Tears’ and ‘No Place to Hide’ has also been of immense benefit. To watch and learn from one of the best in the business is an opportunity not many get, so I make sure not to be a passenger in moments like this, and instead observe closely the techniques employed by the pros that we can put into practice ourselves.”
“Shocks, first and foremost is three best friends making music they love – a fierce and unique brand of modern rock music, but one which draws influence from a wide array of genres outside of rock and of which we are incredibly proud, and that is the key. We’re proud of and love the music we create. We want to tell a story and we want everyone, from every background, to find something in our music they can relate to.”
“This flexible philosophy allows us to go from creating chaotic soundscapes to low-key, infectious hip-hop-esque grooves but always topped off with the consistent sprinkle of artful, tongue-in-cheek lyricism and guile.”