Interview: Shanghai Treason
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Live music planted the seed for me. My early gigs I went to just filled me with such energy, I was almost vibrating with excitement just at the pure volume and atmosphere of a proper gig. A big inspiration aswell was when we used to go to The House skatepark in Sheffield and walk down to my mates Dad’s band practice at Yellow Arch and sit and watch the last hour of practice before getting a lift home. That showed us it was doable for us too. So we started learning and jamming. Fuck knows what I would be doing other than music. I’m also a support worker so slightly different field, but music is what makes me truly happy. Gigging is everything.
What do you like to do when you're not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Big fan of just relaxing and listening to some music, especially with loads of new stuff coming out left right and centre with all of people’s hard lockdown labour finally seeing light. Love photography, especially gig photography. Has been painful viewing with the black hole of social events over the last year though. I think everything you experience adds to your creativity and influences you in new ways. Sometimes creativity just comes out of nowhere when you least expect it. Just have a pen or a voice memo handy when it does.
How long has your band been around?
We’ve been jamming and putting songs together since early 2019. We started gigging and getting out there as soon as we had a set together and realised we worked really well together and had a decent sound and vibe. The rest has been history.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re based in Sheffield and surrounding areas, Huddersfield, Rotherham and Barnsley. Practice and write demos mainly in Sheffield, but try and gig all over and save the hometown shows for special occasions.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you.
We played about with a few names and “High Treason” was a heavy contender, but there was loads of other bands with that name, so we mixed it up into “Shanghai Treason”. Had a cool ring to it and no one had it, so it’s stuck with us. We like it.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Can’t really say we’ve had a “bad” show to be honest. Couple low in numbers, but once you get a few beers in you and you are on stage with the boys, there could be 6 or 6000 in the croud and you still have a great gig and give it some. Best one for me and most of the guys I can safely say was our headline at Corporation. What a night, what an atmosphere. It was bouncing and we had a reyt good fucking time.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven't already?
Best venue for me was Banshee Labrynth in Edinburgh. It had a cinema playing Evil Dead inside the building that you could take your pints into, mad cavernous tunnels you could get lost in, nuts drink offers and it was mega haunted apparantly. Stuff of legends. What a place. Some cool new venues in Sheffield popping up so hope to play them soon, but have always wanted to play/ fill the O2 Ritz in Manchester. Epic venue. One day.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
Rage Against the Machine
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
It’s not about fancy effects or expensive gear for a long time. Concentrate on timing and playing in time if you want to work with other musicians. If a band doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Don’t waste your time playing music you don’t want to for the sake of being in a band. Play what makes you happy. It should be a fucking blast and you have to like who you are in a band with. You spend a lot of time together on tour. Trust me.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Do even more gigs before lockdown hits? I don’t know. I probably wouldn’t listen to myself anyway and things would just be the same if I’m honest. Send Dave Grohl back to give me advice or Fat Mike. I’d listen to them.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
“Wildfire” is definitely my favourite and that was the case before Dan Booth put his magic on it. Just has such energy and love the imagery in the vocals. Just a great track. Mega fun to play, but can kill me as we do it as our opening track quite often and if you’ve warmed up with beer and not hand stretches it can be a swift wake-up call early set!
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I genuinely love playing all of them. Again Wildfire is really fun to play. Love playing Can’t even hang a man right and Drowning heart too. They are big hitters with me. Don’t get many requests to be fair, people are too busy bouncing around and just wait for the next song to kick in. Maybe more heckles and requests next tour.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
We all get together in the practice room and work our way through demos and ideas weve had, that we can do potentially something with and others that just don’t cut it. We trial and jam stuff out and see what sounds good and works. We have to be ruthless with decisions sometimes because we’re always determined for our latest tracks to be better than our previous despite our love for the “classics”.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We like to spread some positivity and local history in our tracks and get people moving and energized while tackling some heavier subjects with metaphors, imagery, and storytelling.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Every band disagrees about things, I mean 5 dudes all trying to totally see eye to eye would be insane haha. We just all know how to take each other and don’t really have an individual ego about us, we just know we are a great band together if that makes sense? We all want what’s best for the band and we know we work well together and trust each other’s opinion... most of the time.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that's coming up?
Got lots of plans for the future. We’re all itching to get back out there. Got some festivals, gig, got some big supports to announce, have our album and some more singles coming, videos too. Keep your eyes and ears peeled and if you are interested or even if you arn’t, give us a follow on Spotify, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, cheers!