If you were at last summer’s Festival One and managed to catch [shift] play our guess is that you would have discovered one of your new favourite bands. Hailing from Auckland, the alternative rock band boasts music that needs to be listened to with the dial turned right up, and a dynamic live show. Debut album ‘The Traveller’, which was released late last year to great applause, is a showcase of the band’s ability to write epic rock music with heart. We caught up with the Myke from the band to hear about his Festival experience, where the band finds inspiration and what we have to look forward to when [shift] takes the stage in 2016.
1) Can you tell us a little about the band and your music?
Well, [shift] has been around for a few years now, the last couple of years in particular have been pretty exciting for us. We released our debut album “The Traveller” last October and that was a big milestone for us. We’d been working towards that for a while and recording it at Neil Finn’s Roundhead Studios was incredible. There’s five of us and we’re all best mates and together we have pretty diverse tastes in music which of late has made for some really great writing sessions. We’re keeping each other on our toes too, so don’t be surprised if we sound pretty different next year!
2) You made it along to Festival last year, what was it like for you?
We had an amazing time last year and can’t speak highly enough of all the crew that helped make our weekend so great. And the free feed was incredible – pretty sure we ate an entire cow between us. We also really dig what Switchfoot are about and loved their set as well as Jon Foreman’s acoustic set in the village. Actually funnily enough whenever we go south of the Bombay’s we always stop at the Autobahn café in Papakura, we had just ordered our breakfast and were sitting down at a table and realised that Jon, Tim, Jerome, and Drew from Switchfoot were having breakfast at the table next to ours. It was rather cute to see Sam all star struck as he tried to act all cool around Jon Foreman and slip him our album. There’s a photo on our Instagram where you can see him grinning like a thirteen year old girl with a man crush.
3) Where do you seek creative inspiration for your music?
Watching live music is always really key for us, letting the music of others speak to us in fresh ways. I think you can only stay fresh as a creative by being a really good listener and giving everything a chance to take you to another place. One of the great parts of the festival was seeing so many people doing this well – Gungor being a great example. We love the way these guys just enjoy a song and are free to let it do what it wants to do and the way they sing with such brave lyrics! Incredible musicians too.
4) What’s the difference between Shift live, and Shift recorded?
I think the album is really polished and demonstrates some amazing productions decisions by Nathan Tiddy who was behind the desk for us. He knew what needed to go where and what needed to drop out. We love the way it communicates the energy we play with without sacrificing the human element needed in a lot of the songs.
Live, we’re a pretty different animal. We love to throw ourselves into it and chuck in a couple of Led Zep covers if we can. It’s about getting everyone involved and having a great conversation with the crowd in the limited time we have. Music often has the ability to bypass the brain and get straight to the heart and so we take what we sing about pretty seriously when we get in front of people – it’s a huge privilege! We always take inspiration from life experiences, we’ve all been through some hard times in our lives and definitely draw from that. Listening to music that we wouldn’t normally listen to helps give us new ideas and to see song structure in new ways, broadening your musical horizons can really change how you think about music, in a good way of course.
5) What can we expect to hear from you at Festival One 2016?
You can expect all the bits about us that have always been the same – high energy live show and some big singalongs, but definitely a real development of sound. A bit more groove, more of us letting the sound be what it wants to be and bit more diversity. There’s been a couple of changes in our lineup over the last year or so that’s always going to help you keep evolving. We’re still working out how it’s going to sound so we’ll be looking forward to getting on that stage in January and giving it a crack!