16th Jun2010

Your New Favorite Band: Shark?

by Todd

Can we officially say that there’s a new wave of great bands coming from New York City? Since The Strokes and Interpol entered the stratosphere eons ago, we’ve felt as if there was a gap waiting to be filled. Enter Shark? with their gritty, grimy, lo-fi melodies. While some have compared them to Pavement, The Strokes and Modern Lovers, we’re reminded of one of the great lo-fi bands, Truman’s Water. But, as with all good bands, they fashion a sound that is uniquely their own. Take a listen to the next band that is sure to hit Spin Magazine’s radar, soon.

Interview by Amy McCarthy

TDOA: L Magazine featured you guys as an NYC band you need to hear in 2010. I would think the NY scene is tough to crack. Does a mention like this help?

KD: Everything helps. NY is tough because there’s so many cool and interesting things happening all the time, and you’re constantly up against all of that. in Brooklyn especially, if someone doesn’t like your band within two songs, you’ve probably already lost them. So the L Magazine mention, even if it was only an honorable mention, was very cool.

TDOA: We did an interview with Aurelio Valle from Calla who talked about the NYC scene from ten years or so ago, when Interpol, The Strokes and all those bands use to hang out together. Is there a tight-knit group of bands from the new emerging group of bands in NYC? ie; do you go bowling with Diehard?

KD: We haven’t met Diehard yet (We’re playing with them tonight for the first time) but we have made friends with a lot of other bands, which I suppose is natural. Dinosaur Feathers have become close friends of ours, we played with them in Austin and in Philly and a whole bunch here in BK. We’ve even covered a song of theirs. Sundelles are good friends of ours. I’m Turning Into, Gunfight!, Darlings. After a while, you play shows with bands multiple times, and you’re happy that they’re not jerks, and then you want to play more shows with them.

TDOA: Can you talk about the decision to release your music for free? Some bands have done this with great success, while others seem to regret it.

KD: I’ll never regret it. The music that we’re releasing for free is stuff I’ve recorded in my apartment, or in our practice space, on our own time, for our own amusement, and we felt like sharing it with people. I want as many people to hear it as possible right now. At some point, we’ll raise enough money to record a real record and that won’t be free, because we had to pay to make it. But if it didn’t cost me anything, than I’d just as soon everyone could hear it.

Our most recent EP, School Night, is pay-what-you-want which is nice, cause we have had some people pay 5 or ten bucks for it, and that money is going towards our Recording Studio budget.

TDOA: All of you are excellent musicians. What are your respective musical backgrounds?

KD: Why thank you. All of our backgrounds are varied. I used to be in a band with Chris Mulligan, our lead guitarist, called Daytime. Andy Kinsey, our bassist, was in a bad-ass band in Tokyo for a couple of years, and has this awesome dark folk group with his wife called Eyes of Mars. Our drummer, Andy Swerdlow used to play guitar and didn’t start drumming til he took some African Drumming classes in college. I’ve been recording my music on four tracks and computers since I was 14, so almost 12 years.

But I think for a lot of us, we don’t consider ourselves to be real musicians, more like enthusiastic music fans who figured out how to recreate all the sounds we love. Kinsey went to school for music, but aside from that, I still don’t even know my scales.

TDOA: What is your association with the QuietColor blog? Are they producing your videos, or is Shark? the first act on their record label?

KD: QuietColor is a blog I write for occasionally, though less so in recent months with the band getting busier. QuietColor is a bunch of friends of ours who have been real supportive. They’ve been slowly putting together a roster of artists, but it’s more like a publicity machine which may release some tracks as well.

TDOA: The concept of “lo-fi” has ebbed and flowed over the years. Guided By Voices always claimed that they did it out of necessity. How about you guys? Aesthetic choice or a budgetary decision? Can you imagine a point where you might “gloss up” your sound?

KD: Well, budget I guess, but I would never want to sound glossy. I think you work with what you’ve got. I’ve got Logic Pro on a mac book, which is basically the MAC version of Pro Tools, but I’ve had to teach myself how to use it, I’m no pro. We’re all drawn to noisy, chaotic sounds, and we do our best to create with the materials we have, mostly a lap top and SM-58s. But it’s not like there’s a “lo-fi” button that we just press, and it’s instantly clouded in reverb and distortion. We like things to sound shitty though.

TDOA: Gosh we hate the, “how’d you come up with the name of your band?” question… but your name is great and we can’t find any reference to its origin. So…..

KD: There’s a lot of answers to that question, and I no longer remember which one is the real answer. So I’ll just say, it’s really easy to come up with band names until you’re coming up with YOUR band’s name. All the good band names have been taken. I think Shark? started as a joke, but then I grew to love it. I also knew that people would remember it, whether they liked it or thought it was stupid. And that’s pretty important.

The other answer, and I like this, but I know it’s not what I was thinking when I first thought of the name, is this: it’s that moment when you’re water skiing, and you’ve let go of the rope, and you’re waiting for the boat to come around and pick you up again, and you’re in the open water, and you feel something touch your foot, and it’s probably just seaweed, buuutt…..

TDOA: I notice that all of your show dates are taking place in NYC – any plans to venture south (or north, east or west)?

KD: Yeah, totally. We’ve played around a little bit, Austin, Philly, Baltimore, but we’re looking to plan a tour for the fall. We just got these myspace message from all these kids in Idaho Falls, Idaho begging us to come out there and play in the heart of Mormon country. Sounds amazing. We want to go to these cities and play for new people, but we’re working out the logistics.

TDOA: I’ve read that your live shows are incredible – what do you think is most important to that?

KD: Fun. And whiskey.

TDOA:Making music videos: exciting or a necessary evil?

KD: Our music video was awesome to make. We got to involve all of our friends, and we had a really good time. I don’t think we’d ever waste our time making a music video that we didn’t think would be fun. I was actually an acting major, and Chris was a film major in college, so the visual medium has a draw on us. And I’ve always loved music videos, especialy for bands like Pavement or They Might Be Giants, who had a lot of fun with them.

TDOA: What are the plans for the rest of the year? Recording an album?

KD: Yes. We’ve started a kickstarter In order to raise 1500 dollars to start recording our album. It’s not really enough money, but we wanted to choose a goal we though we could reach. We should have the money by August, and then we start recording. Hopefully a real quick process, like the early Kinks records. I think I read Kinda Kinks was recorded in like three days. Do you realize how incredible that is? I think we can do our record in 6. After that, we’ll tour.

For more information about Shark? visit their Bandcamp page and MySpace page

Upcoming Shows:
Jun 21 2010 Cameo w/ Blair brooklyn, ny
Jun 24 2010 Spike Hill Northside Festival Earfarm.com showcase w/ Sundelles, Sean Bones & more Brooklyn, New York
Jun 25 2010 Public Assembly Northside Festival Pop Tarts Suck Toasted showcase Brooklyn, New York
Jun 26 2010 Matchless Brooklyn, New York Find Tickets
Jun 27 2010 Northside Fest Day Show Brook-lynnnn, US
Jun 30 2010 The Studio at Webster Hall w/ Oberhofer & Gordon Voidwell New York City, NY
Jul 29 2010 Glasslands Brooklyn,, NY

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