Monday, August 10, 2020

Interview with Heather of SHALLOWPOINT (second interview) by Dave Wolff

Interview with Heather, bassist of Shallowpoint by Dave Wolff

When I interviewed you in 2015 you had just hired a new drummer. Has Shallowpoint’s lineup remained steady?
Unfortunately we have changed lineups again and we still have no permanent drummer. It seems, due to time restrictions, most people have a really hard time juggling a band with their other responsibilities in life, which is totally understandable. It’s not easy to be a small upcoming band. And unfortunately during the current climate of Covid, it has become even harder.

How much attendance were you getting before Covid, and at what venues? How much has the local industry in Tennessee been affected by the pandemic?
Our attendance at shows has always been really good! We are fortunate in that aspect. We play our home area so little that when we finally play we usually draw a decent crowd. Tennessee venues are having a really hard time with Covid closings, as I imagine all venues are. We get mixed feelings on any shows we had booked for this year. Some can't wait to get to go to a live show finally, and others feel it's way too soon to be having them.

Knoxville has always had an active rock and metal scene. Are you still friends with the bands from there? I haven’t heard from Crome Molly in a long time; do you know what happened to them?
I really don't talk to musicians in Knoxville much, except the ones we play with, or have played with. Most of my really good musician friends don't live near us. We live a good forty-five minutes from Knoxville, so we don't really get to hang out there. About Crome Molly... I believe they disbanded eight to ten years ago. I will never forget them; they were one of the first bands we met in our beginning and some good times were had by all!

Who did you perform with in your last shows before Covid? Do you remember anything specific when it comes to you and Crome Molly?
Our last shows were mostly at big rock festivals. The last show was at the Blue Ridge Rock Festival in Virginia; it was so much fun! Godsmack and The Offspring were the headliners! It was amazing to play alongside some of my favorite bands in the world! We played between I Prevail and In This Moment. I believe due to time constraints that may have been the only show we played last year, as we were in the studio and writing the first half of last year.
I remember playing a festival with Crome Molly in Knoxville; that was when I first met them in person. Before that I only knew them on Myspace, where I in fact met you! We played a biker rally with them once in early May, and I remember it being sooo cold that night. We all got drunk and huddled by a campfire, haha.

Have you considered taking the live stream route as many bands have done since Covid? If you decided to, where would you play and what streaming site would you use?
We have considered live streams; we should probably do more for sure! If we stream for a live show, it would most likely be in our practice room at my house. It is set up super cool, light show and all! We would most likely use Facebook Live, Youtube Live or both.

About eight months ago you released a promotional video for “Broken Life.” Who worked on it with you and how well does it reflect the lyrics?
The “Broken Life” video was produced and shot by Chuck with a little camera help from me. We do all our music videos and most of our lyric videos. I think “Broken Life” suits the song and vision we had for the lyrics well. We finished that video about the time our ex-guitarist left the band, so if you notice there's only the three of us in the video.

What other songs have you made videos and lyric videos for? Which of your songs are you considering a video for next?
We have made music videos for “Nothing Left”, “Self Inflicted”, “Fractured” and “Broken Life”, and lyric videos for “Erased”, “Haze”, “Fractured”, “Determined Angels” and “Complicate”. We are currently in the middle of filming a new music video for our new song “Tell Me” and a lyric video for the new song “Sleeper” will follow that. A new music video for the song “Determined Angels” is in the planning stages.

Which of all your videos have received the most hits on Youtube and the most feedback?
I think “Nothing Left” has the most views, but it is the oldest of the videos and has been on Youtube the longest, followed by "Fractured".

Shallowpoint just released a new EP. Where was it recorded and how did you choose the songs to appear? What lineup was involved in the recording?
We recorded almost all of our music with producer Travis Wyrick of Lakeside Studios in Knoxville, Tennessee. Our songs are usually chosen in advance of recording.
We spent a long time perfecting the songs. We basically picked our favorites and worked really hard on them before entering the studio. Travis basically just recorded the new songs for us. In fact we sent all the digital keys and even the bass tracks by email to be used on the actual recording. Travis is an amazing producer, but the more time you spend in a studio the more expensive it is, so we like to have everything the way we want it when going in. I think we're pretty easy to record for him, hopefully, haha.
Our lineup for recording always includes me and Chuck. Our former drummer/friend/composer Jason Drake plays on the newer recorded songs, and he also does all of the keys. We have recently had a lineup change and have a new guitarist; his name is Dustin Bolt. We will have Georges Octobous on drums with us most likely from now on! Some may recognize him from playing with the band Flaw for the past several years. We love working with an assortment of musicians! You have to be really open these days to make it work; it takes an army. I have been told that by many very experienced people and I believe it, haha.

How much experience does Dustin Bolt have as a guitarist, and how does his experience benefit Shallowpoint?
Dustin has been playing guitar his whole life, he also plays drums and sings. He has a punk music background. He learned our music pretty fast! And we're all raring at the bit to get out and play some more! But the Covid thing is holding us back at the moment, as I’m sure it's doing to all of the bands everywhere. So at the moment we are focused on our next show, Sept 5th with Saliva, finishing up our music videos and then planning to continue writing new material for as long as Covid keeps us down. Dustin is a very fun and pleasant person to be around. We are all looking very much forward to the future.

I am not familiar with Flaw. Tell me and the readers about this band and how you hooked up with Georges Octobous?
Flaw has been around a long time. You should definitely check their music out, I think you would like them. We played several times with Flaw in several different cities. We befriended them during that time. I believe they have some new band members now, I’m really not sure, and do not want to say much without knowing. I can barely keep up with my own bands happenings, haha.

How much new material has been written and composed recently? Does your rotating lineup make it more difficult to write?
We have another five songs that have not been recorded yet. Chuck has written those himself. It’s hard to say how the rotating lineup affects us. Different people bring different ideas to the table usually. And if there is no one interested in co-writing, we write them ourselves. Changing lineups has never been detrimental. We keep on keeping on as “Joe Dirt” says! Haha. We have always done the best we can with what we’ve been given. We really love what we do, and I think it shows. People tend to recognize that.

What are your newest songs about and how do they compare to your older songs?
"Sleeper" is one of the new tracks on the EP. You can tell it is still Shallowpoint but it's a little different in some ways. The subject matter is written about Chuck's 1969 Chevelle. He has a love for old hot rods. So the song is basically about his love affair with his car. They used to call them “Sleepers” back in the day. It’s a really cool song!
“Determined Angels” was written by Chuck, and it was inspired by my mom and I! Chuck, my mom and I are all of the astrology sign Taurus. Taureans are well known for their strong determination in life. The song is about never giving up on your dreams.
Chuck also wrote the lyrics to “Tell Me.” The song is basically about saving yourself. Pulling yourself out of a dark place. A battle within yourself.
The EP also includes our previous single "Fractured" as it had never been put on CD. And it also includes a cool remix of "Determined Angels" remixed by our good friend and fellow song writer Jason Drake. It has an EDM feel to it, turned out super cool the bass in it rattles my house, haha.
I think the newer songs are still very introspective of what makes us Shallowpoint. Always writing from the heart and imagination.

Is the new EP being released independently or are you seeking labels for wider US distribution?
The new EP is being released independently. I have pretty much given up on record labels, and it seems they have even given up on themselves. I notice any bands they sign these days seem to sound like another popular band, or they use cover tunes to boost them to the top, which comes across as “gimmicky” to me. I love cover tunes, but we never wanted to spend our limited time being a cover band. We tend to spend our time writing original music, for what it's worth. For us, it makes us happier writing songs from our lives and emotions or even imagination. Not to say we won't eventually do a cover tune.

Are these local labels you’re referring to, or larger/national indie labels? Would the band found their own label if the need arose?
I was pretty much referring to all labels. I don't believe there are any locally now I am aware of. And yes, we would love a label. This is a lot of work, and I’ve always felt we would be further along with one! But I no longer set around waiting on such things these days. We decided a long time ago to do it all ourselves, and to do whatever it took “within reason” to keep moving forward!

Has Shallowpoint expanded to new social media outlets since Covid?
We have not been real active on social media of late. Really been busy with the videos and production of new band merch. I have not found new social media sites to be very helpful. Myspace was awesome back in the day, but it was quickly replaced by Facebook.

Have you seen more bands releasing their music on social media in recent years? In Shallowpoint’s case, where does copyright enter the picture?
I believe bands releasing music independently has definitely become the new thing. It is still very hard to gain a following, in the sea of music and bands. So many out there! In the case of copyright, we believe in protecting our work and investments. We trademark and copyright all of our music. It is very inexpensive and the only true way to protect ourselves.

In our last interview you mentioned how much Shallowpoint has learned by having a grassroots/DIY ethic. How much has the band learned since?
We learn new things every day. We never stop learning because the second you think you have it all down is when it will change on you. Even down to learning new instruments! I have taken up drumming as a secondary instrument, mostly for fun.

When did you decide to take up drums as a second instrument? Is anyone else in the band learning additional instruments?
Ahh... drums! I have been banging around on the drums for at least ten years! Only for fun, although I can keep a beat and play with a metronome. But I am by no stretch of the imagination a "drummer", haha. It's just a fun secondary instrument for me to have fun with, mostly at parties etc. I love the drums! Chuck can keep a beat as well! In fact, he's the one that taught me how to keep a beat! He often entertains me by playing drums and guitar at the same time, haha.

We also discussed how much exposure Shallowpoint received from the net radio station Deviants Underground Radio. Are you still in touch with Pryj since it folded? Is the band searching for other net radio programs? Where do you think net radio is heading now?
I somehow lost touch with Pryj over the years, though I occasionally run into her son around town. They were very instrumental in our beginnings as well as you! I am in touch with a lot of different radio outlets, so many that I can never remember them all. Luckily when we have new music out a lot of them contact me to send it to them... thankfully... I think Internet radio and FM radio are still very popular! We take any outlet we can get to get our music heard. It takes worth, but it's worth the effort. Constantly meeting new people through internet radio.

Who have you and the band met through internet radio lately? Which radio would you recommend most highly?
I have met so many people in radio, they have all been very supportive. I can't say that I would recommend one over another; they are all equally important in my book! But to throw some names out, Michael Palmer from Outlaw Renegade Radio, Oz from 106.1 FM "brand new rock station in Knoxville". Samantha Knight at Z975 Clarksville, Tony Arteaga from The Music Box, Chris Jones and Kitra Scott from Rock Rage Radio, and Rawk Dawg Radio station with Doug Russ and Firebrand Radio have all been amazing and helpful! And I know I’m leaving many out; my memory escapes me at the moment.

Is the independent label Twisted Hillbilly Records still active today, and if so, are you in touch with them as before?
I'm not sure Twisted Hillbilly Records is still around; I think they evolved into a photography business. I do run into the photographers occasionally at shows. Or at least I did.

How much more well-known has Shallowpoint become in other US states and other countries due to your Youtube and social media outlets and zine interviews?
Shallowpoint is pretty well known in Canada and the UK now. it's so awesome to be able to reach places where we have never been able to play live.

Are you reaching new listeners in Canada and the UK through zines and radio shows, similarly to the United States?
We sure are! People tell their friends about us; we constantly have new listeners,

What else can you tell the readers about your new EP? What else is Shallowpoint planning for the future?
Our new EP just released worldwide! And CDs are now available on our website! So far I am very pleased with the overwhelming response! We have sold a hundred CDs in one day! And I have barely had time to promote it! It's amazing how far we have finally come! When we released our first album it was hard to get anyone to take the time to listen to it. But once they did, many became fans and follow us and are very interested in our new stuff. So that is a really good feeling. In fact I’d like to take a second to extremely thank all of the fans, zines, radio stations and everyone who has ever helped us to get to this point, we are forever grateful! Thanks you guys! We are working very hard toward doing a tour next year, if Covid goes away! We’re also working on getting on more festivals, working on more new music and working on music videos for the songs on the EP. We never stop working toward our goals. Plus, it’s our life, and we love it.

-Dave Wolff

No comments:

Post a Comment