Interview with SHALE
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Kiarra (vocals): I first started really getting into music playing guitar hero with my family in elementary school. I used to learn the classic rock songs, like Hotel California by the Eagles and Heartbreaker by Pat Benatar on guitar hero and then perform the songs in front of my classmates. I don’t really think life exists for me without music. As a separate passion, I am hoping to be a psychiatrist far in the future.
Our keyboardist, Rowan, had considered an alternative career in film, which is very helpful for Shale when we film music videos. He is our creative genius when it comes to anything film-related, and our music videos tend to be a big hit with our fans!
All members of Shale currently work day-jobs outside of music. Kiarra (vocals) is a veterinary receptionist, Rowan (keys) is a youth camp teacher, Breanna (bass) is a dental hygienist, Michael (drums) is a paramedic, and Adam (guitar) is a bartender.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Kiarra (vocals): “When I am not playing music, I am normally working on something BTS for Shale. The business side of an independent band is a lot of hard work but its been paying off! We have established ourselves in the Victoria, BC music scene, which is extremely motivating for our songwriting and creative minds.
I typically use my personal life as motivation to write lyrics and melodies for Shale. Our new song “Shake” was born this way! While traversing the unmanageable expectations of 1st year University, I moved out for the first time. Living alone and spending hours upon hours studying I couldn’t run from my own thoughts and past traumas. While laying on my bed, staring at the ceiling while dealing with uncomfortable feelings of anxiety and worthlessness I came up with the premise for “Shake”. The song digs deep into the emotional tapestry of overwhelm vs commitment, giving up vs pushing through.”
How long has your band been around?
Michael (drummer) and Rowan (keyboardist) were in a band together for many years before Shale was formed. When that band broke up, Michael was determined to start a new group and was fixated on collaborating with Kiarra (vocals). When Michael suggested it to Rowan, he actually laughed at the idea, saying “You can ask her, but she’s way too cool for us”. Much to Rowan’s surprise, she was completely into the idea, thus becoming the beginning of Shale. Shale officially formed in 2019 with a different bassist and no drummer. Soon after, Adam (guitar) joined, and then Breanna (bass) joined in 2021.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are based out of Victoria, BC. The music scene is incredibly supportive, and there are many other local acts that inspire us every day! Posh Coat, Base Collective, Wet Future, Pastel Blank, Cold Fame and much more!
A lot of the Seattle Grunge scene would play Victoria venues in the 90’s. Bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Sound Garden and much more have played the very same venues that Shale has been playing in Vic. This is influential to our sound.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Shale was the only name that we could all agree on. We initially tried to come up with a name that connected us to Vancouver Island, where we live, and shale is a type of rock that can be found on the island. It now serves a few different purposes for us. We now have the best dad joke ready to go at any time, because we’re a rock band ;), and Shale is a very frail, breakable rock that can be smashed easily. Some of these themes can be found sprinkled within our lyrics and sound.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
In Aug 2022 we played our 1st headlining show in our hometown of Victoria, BC. All our friends and family came to the show. For the last song of the show we played our song “To the Ground” and everyone in the crowd sang along! It was an unbelievable and heartwarming experience to hear a crowd sing your own song back to you.
A few other memorable shows have been when we opened for Juno-award winning MONOWHALES, internationally touring Red Rum Club. Also, playing Laketown Shakedown Music Festival, and sharing the stage with Aqua, Shaggy, Portugal.The Man, Third Eye Blind and much more.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Capital Ballroom in Victoria, BC! It has one of the largest capacities in Victoria and has a sweet stage. We would love to play Save on Foods Memorial Arena one day in Victoria and play large festival stages like Rifflandia and Phillips Backyard Weekender. We recently played the Laketown Shakedown stage, and it gave us a craving for Summer music festivals.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
We LOVE July Talk. Our ideal lineup would be opening for them, and potentially having another local Victoria music band on the bill with us. Also, we would love to play with killer Canadian musicians like MONOWHALES, Mother Mother, The Beaches and lots more!
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?
Practice makes perfect! And the little details matter. If you want to make a big splash in your music scene, you need great tunes and great attention to detail. What you wear on stage, what photos you post on social media, the merch design you have, it all matters. People love a band that puts effort into making the experience with their fans above and beyond!
Kiarra (vocals): The advice I would give to my younger self is to just keep at it. Music is everything to you, and that will never change. Also, people love when you are authentically you!
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
All of the hard work pays off! The opportunities are endless if you put in the work. Also, get into the recording studio sooner!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Kiarra (vocals): Our new song “Shake” has a very personal meaning to me. I wrote the song in my first year of Univiersity while dealing with intense feelings of anxiety and worthlessness. The lyrics are reminiscent of a time that I pushed through. I still deal with anxiety, but nothing compared to what it used to be. It used to be debilitating, physically and internally making me shake. Taking a hard situation and making it successful is incredibly gratifying.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
We get requested to play our song “To The Ground” the most. It is catchy and a fun time to play live. But ever since we released our song “Shake” it has been our favorite to play live and has been a fan fav to sing along to. The guitar riff at the beginning of the song really sets the tone for the intense and explosive live performance about to come.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Kiarra typically comes to the band with a singer-songwriter version of a song, and then we all collaboratively work on it together. However, we have all taken turns writing critical parts of our music.
Kiarra uses mostly personal experiences to write music. Uses it to get through hard topics or emotions that are not as easily said out loud as they are sung out loud. Listening to other music is also incredibly inspiring.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Our music mostly deals with topics that are relatable and very human. Writing about mostly personal experiences, Kiarra writes lyrics that she connects deeply with, that others can connect with too.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We have many plans for the future! We are working on new music (it is going very well), and we are playing a lot of live shows. The main spotlight is an across BC tour with our friends Cold Fame. Come see us play in a city near you!!
Aug 24, Van - Fox Cabaret
Aug 25, Kelowna – The London Creative
Aug 26, Vernon - Riot on the Roof Festival
Aug 30, Nanaimo - The Terminal
Aug 31, Port Alberni - The Rainbow Room
Sept 1, Victoria - Lucky Bar
Sept 2, Sooke - Sooke Music Festival
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
You can best keep up with us on Instagram (@shale_music) and Facebook (@WeAreShale)!
Here is a place you can find everything to do with Shale: https://linktr.ee/weareshale