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Interview with Shanghai Metro Temple
In just 6 months, Shanghai Metro Temple went from a pandemic idea to a sensational band of musicians headlining in Denver, Colorado. Making headway in this industry with a new blend of rock music while creating exceptional experiences for fans both live and online. Join Shanghai Metro Temple on a journey through driving choruses, poetic lyrics, and a diverse range of musical backgrounds that many have already come to enjoy. From gliding down snowy slopes to clipping an anchor above a rocky canyon, this band is constantly fueled and inspired by the beauty and adventure of their home state. Under dark twinkling skies and peaceful mountain evenings, inspiration runs freely through this group of best friends intent on sharing with the world their experiences and challenges through their music. With their most recent release and enthusiastic online support, Shanghai Metro temple has become one of the best up-and-coming rock bands that Colorado has seen in this decade. Becoming a fan favorite immediately Take a Chance has seen explosive engagement alongside their newest release In The Dark ready and enjoy a ride of a lifetime through experiences written in song and performed with energy and emotion.
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
For all of us the story is different but the same. We all started playing when we were kids and hoped we could make it our careers. I guess life took a turn and we all ended up in 9-5 jobs like it does for many. When the pandemic hit we realized what a fulfilling experience playing together was and decided to give it our best shot. If it doesn’t work out I suspect we’ll settle back into our careers but music will always be an integral part of our lives, together and separate.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
We all have our own separate outlets for sure. Pat and Justin are big golfers, Kevin and I like to play video games and we all have a shared passion for the outdoors since we grew up here in Colorado. From skiing and camping to cliff-jumping and climbing, all of it helps us be more centered and provides us inspiration in our songwriting.
How long has music been your career?
To be fair, music is not our career. All of us work a full time job in addition to trying to get SMT off the ground. Our members work in finance, cybersecurity, retail, and software sales. The band, however, got together in October of 2020 so we have been playing for about a year and a half now.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are based out of Denver, Colorado
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Worst - We had been added to a show with several pop-punk bands but a national act challenged our date and we were bumped. One of the bands recommended a venue to which we all agreed to without actually looking at the venue at all beforehand. Upon arrival, we found a tiny and I mean tiny bar in Thornton, CO where we ended up having to wait for the build your own meatball sub table to be moved in order to begin setting up gear. We only ended up playing to some parents and the other bands but it was overall an entertaining experience
Best - I think our best show was still our debut show at Herman’s Hideaway in Denver. For those that don’t know Herman’s is one of the oldest rock bars in the city and has a ton of history we debuted May 2021 and the support we received was humbling we were able to sell out the show with the help of the other bands on the bill and being able to finally share what we had been working so hard on was a really special experience.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Our favorite venue so far was probably the Wild Goose in Parker, CO. The venue has great management and a truly excellent stage/sound setup it was a real treat.
As a band that is very heavily classic rock inspired we’d love to play the historic sunset strip venues. Whiskey A Go Go, Viper Room, etc… maybe have a late cocktail at the Rainbow afterwards and pay Lemmy his respects.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Oh this is a tough one and I think it would vary between the members. I think for the most part we’d like to play with the artists that influenced us. A super bill that would be like SMT, Greta Van Fleet, Def Leppard, and the Rolling Stones. Could you imagine that bill? Would be quite the show.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
First, you need to write. Writing a song sounds really hard but if you sit there on a riff and continue to polish it, then hum a melody, fit some words, and add the rest you’ll be surprised with what you come up with.
Second, don’t overlook the small things that can make you look professional. A well designed website and EPK cost almost nothing but can go so far into helping you get taken seriously.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
I think the advice I would go back and give is to allow more time and bring someone on to help sooner. We’ve struggled with being pushed up against deadlines constantly in the first year and a half and definitely could have used the help. Burnout was likely to be the issue that derailed the project early on.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Pat - In the Dark was my first real contribution musically to the band having written the structure of the song. It was also the first song I had really written that was fully flushed out and recorded, and the fact it remains our top song has been pretty special.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
‘Follow Me’ is probably our favorite to play but doesn’t really get the attention the others do. Our most requested are probably ‘Out of Sight’ or ‘D.T.A.B’ and we end most shows with ‘In the Dark’.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
We tend to take a music first then lyrics approach. Someone comes up with an idea and we flush out the structure of the song. Sometimes we jam the idea out live in a basement or sometimes it is structured over several writing sessions or even by just one person. After the music is together we record a demo at which point Devyn will write the lyrics and melody. As far as inspiration, we write about things that happen in our lives and have been impactful to us. Most songs we have are about an experience that happened to one of the members and I think that has resonated with listeners. From the instrumental perspective, we love playing music together, one thing the band does is play so many covers, we constantly joke that if it doesn’t work we could just be a cover band. Our approach to music really comes from a love of playing together and playing music in general.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Our music mostly tells personal stories versus a message (with the main exception being Beast). ‘D.T.A.B.’ is about the band's trip to Florida while writing, “Become” is about a camping trip Devyn took while in High School, whereas ‘Forever’ is just about feeling crappy after a break up. We write about things/experiences that are close to us at the moment. But who knows where it will go as we begin writing again.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
We constantly disagree but it’s part of the process. We are a band of strong personalities and we argue all the time about everything, but we obviously couldn’t work if we weren’t able to move past it. The first thing that helps us move past it is perspective. We know that everyone is 110% committed to making this the best band it can be and it’s worth falling back on that idea because whatever you disagree with you know that its coming from that place of ambition and love for the band. Past that we talk everything out when necessary and if you have an idea or something you think should be changed everyone is encouraged to bring a test case for the idea and see if it works.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We have a lot coming up! We are constantly playing around the area so if you are in Denver or a surrounding state be on the lookout for upcoming shows. We have plans for a couple new singles for the next year and are on the lookout for a new music video or two coming up!