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Interview with Shady Oaks
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
-I got into music (seriously) in highschool. I always played guitar and “wanted” to be in a band, but I never got into song form and writing until I got introduced to EDM production and DJing. At the time, the possibility of producing a hit song by using only computer software seemed much more approachable than forming a band. It allowed me to get the first “idea” off of the ground, build a brand, play a few shows, and experience failure before I spent all of the energy it takes to form a band. Less risk, I would say. If I never got into music, I would have probably gone back to school to get a masters in Geology and pursued a more traditional career path… OR would have panicked and moved to the tropics to live on a beach.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I like to spend my free time with my partner, play video games, golf, or go out with friends. Those seem to be the only activities that allow me to fully escape and relax and not obsess over the next move with the band. I spend almost every waking hour thinking about Shady Oaks, so it is nice to run away for a bit. I think the more I obsess, the more my mind gets bogged down with a million little ideas. So.. the more time I spend not thinking about the band or practicing guitar, I end up coming back to a creative space with a fresh slate. Also, going out with friends can often lead to wild stories that could develop into song ideas.
How long has your band been around?
Around the fall of 2019. Right before the ol’ pandemic.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Denver, Colorado (USA). I think the music scene drove me to do something different and unique. There is a huge Jam/Funk scene around Colorado and it drives me absolutely crazy. It is like a strange cult.. BUT now we get comments like “oh thank god, we finally got to see a rock show instead of watching another band drag out a 30 minute song that was supposed to only be 15 minutes long”. So I like to think we use the scene to our advantage..
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Jonah (drummer) and I just left a Shakey Graves show when we were trying to figure out a name. We decided that we needed to think of a 2 word name that sounded “bluesy”. At some point in the next few days, Jonah passed a liquor store on a trip that said “Shady Oaks Liquors”. He pitched that idea, and it stuck. It WORKS! The crowd chants “SHADY SHADY SHADY” while we are starting our set and it really gets us going. And then again when we are done with our set. Can you imagine following that?
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Underground Music Showcase 2022. We just got placed on the radio, we built up so much hype around our set, and we had the best location and set time of any local band in our scene. The result… we packed the venue to the point that people were getting turned away. AND the venue was garage door style so the people that could not come in were still able to watch and listen from behind. It was the most INSANE set we have ever played. The crowd was moving, they picked me up and I was crowd surfing during the guitar solo of MAD. We were later voted as one of the most memorable sets of the ENTIRE festival. The whole set is on our youtube channel if anyone wants to see what happens during a Shady set.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Lost Lake Lounge in Downtown Denver. Lost lake is the most intimate, sweaty, and loud places that we get to play at. We LOVE playing there. It is definitely one of those bars that everyone has to play at least once on their come up. Definitely a right of passage. I would love to play at Mohawk in Austin TX. It was my favorite venue in the town when I was living there. Our dream gig is always Red Rocks, but that is a part of our 3-5 year plan.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
It would have to be Shady Oaks, IDLES, and The Dead Weather. That would be the most insane rock n roll show of all time.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
The advice I always give is to invest in a team of people that genuinely believe in your vision. The advice I would have given myself was to spend less money on guitars and to save that money for band expenses. You definitely have to pay to play.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
If we are speaking about the band, it would have been to focus on organization as much as songwriting. You always need time and everything always seems late.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
So many of our songs mean so much to me, but I always have a soft spot for 3AM. I struggled for so long and have overcome my relationship with insomnia (for now). I love opening with it in our sets because I can easily put myself in that traumatic time where I would go weeks not being able to fall asleep at night. It drove me to the brink of insanity but puts me in a great place, mentally, to play a rock show.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
As a whole, I think our favorite song to play is Out of Town. That song is so fun to play, it gets people dancing, and it is catchy while being heavy. Our most requested song is probably Dazed. That song gets the people MOVIN’ and will sometimes create a semi-friendly mosh pit.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Generally I (Ty) will write a song in my home studio. That usually comes as a demo with 2-3 guitar layers, vocals with harmonies, programmed drums, and sometimes bass. That song is brought to practice and is sometimes re-worked or tweaked into what we would record or play in a set. The first album is (mostly) about a tough relationship that lead to many experiences and feelings (MAD, alone, better days, MISTAKES, DYIN’ you get the picture). I think most artists will agree that it is easier to write about raw emotions such as passion, anger, and some level of sadness and I definitely went down a rocky path during the formative years of our band.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
My hope is that a listener can find one or more songs and be able to relate that song to what they are experiencing at that time. And I hope it lets them feel as if they are comforted and not alone by feeling that way.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
We are still figuring out a lot about each other and the creative process. The first album was so set in stone by the time we finalized our band lineup that most of the songs went almost untouched during the recording process. Sure we tweaked them and added dynamics and a whole lot of fancy production, but the songs/lyrics are almost to the T of the early basement demos. Now, the writing sessions are more involved which can always be frustrating. We all have opinions about how things should go but I am learning that most of the issues come from ego (duh). I think the trick is to recognize where people add the most value and to let them do “their” thing, and to have patience with one another. I think that is always an ongoing issue in most bands so I do not worry about it too much.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Future.. Get back in the studio and tour our recent album. We have been playing and perfecting our set in Denver, and it is time to get this show on the road!
We have a show coming up with some big cats in the Colorado music scene. The Velveteers just got off tour with The Black Keys and Greta Van Fleet and asked us to open for them at the award winning Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colorado. It is definitely our biggest show of our career.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Our largest platform is Instagram! You will learn about all of our personalities, photography, and show updates curated by our lovely manager, Molly Schorsch. Trying to get into tiktok but I think every band over the age of 25 agrees that it makes you feel old and small.