Before their set opening for X Ambassadors on May 15th at the Van Buren in Phoenix, Arizona, I got to hang out with indie-pop trio SHAED. We met last year at South By Southwest 2017 and you can listen to that interview here: https://soundcloud.com/kamp-student-radio-1570am/shaed-interview-sxsw
Max Ernst, the multi-instrumentalist, met up with me in front of the venue and we went to the back area to do our interview. I said hello to lead singer Chelsea Lee and fellow multi-instrumentalist Spencer Ernst. I wanted to give them something special, and if you recall from the interview we did at SXSW, we played the Newly-friend game. Having just met, I somehow guessed all of their favorite candies. So I brought each of them their favorites, Chelsea had her red vines, Spencer had his Twix, and Max had his Reese’s. They immediately ate some and we started chatting.
The band just got their song “Name On It” in a Victoria’s Secret commercial, and you can feel the energy buzzing. “It’s the best thing that’s happened to us this week!”, Max exclaims when I ask them how they’re doing. This is the only the beginning for them. [Edit: Their song, “Trampoline”, was put in a Macbook commercial- they just keep growing!]
They talked of their obsession with the Netflix show “Peaky Blinders”, and how watching it is a band event. “We would also make dinner and we’d watch an episode every night”, Spencer recalls. Chelsea added, “Yeah, on TV trays and everything!”. We get on the subject of food and Spencer tells me that “the world needs to see how Chelsea’s pasta sauce is made”. She is humble, but happy to share her knowledge in the future. If the other guys had to share their knowledge, Spencer would teach people how to play the perfect game of Cornhole. “Have a really good toss. Make sure you have that… [mimes tossing a bean bag]”, Spencer says as we all laugh. Max would showcase his musical talents, saying he “would sit down and teach someone who had decent piano understanding how to play “Benny and the Jets””.
They’ve been releasing new songs lately so we first talked about their ballad, “Lonesome”. “We had a show in Las Vegas, we decided just to spend the weekend there in Death Valley, so we got an Airbnb in the middle of nowhere. And it was really, really pretty and we really wanted to write in a new place and setting, so we wrote “Lonesome””, Chelsea recalls. Max says “there was nothing around too which like, kind of inspired the song. We were the only house for miles, you couldn‘t see anything else.” “It’s actually not too far from here, where we spent. Pahrump, Nevada. So definitely desert vibes,” Spencer adds. “And then like a week later, Chelsea was watching “COPS” and she saw that Pahrump, Nevada was the focal point of the whole episode!”
The band is clearly in touch with nature. They love natural light and “healthy plants”. “We’re killing some of our plants right now, we actually have someone sitting our plants while we’re away”, Chelsea explains. “Every time we go on tour, we’re exploring new places and yesterday we went to the Colorado River and did that whole thing. And we’ve never been, so we use this opportunity to just see incredible things and be inspired by nature”. The band speaks highly of their day off adventures, and are eager to explore as they arrive in a new city.
After “Lonesome” the band released “Too Much”, an upbeat dance track that tells a story. “I think the idea behind that one was that. like, there is a lot of pressure to be in a relationship and be with someone, and this was more about just having fun with someone that you just meet and not feeling bad about having a good time”, Max explains.
Their latest single “Trampoline” is a feat of their goal- adding a visual component to the audio. “The lyrics are super visual”, Spencer notes. Max tells me that “we hired an animator who did a video with it so we’re excited about that.” With all of these singles coming out, it seems the band is heading towards a longer release. “We’re gonna be doing consecutive singles for the next few months and then releasing an EP”. When I ask if everything is ready to go, Spencer explains that “most of the songs are written and recorded and we’re just kinda mixing them now. So yeah, it’s exciting. We’ve just been writing non-stop for the past year, on and off when we’ve been touring.”
The band has toured with some really great acts, including Marian Hill, Coast Modern, Sir Sly, Bishop Briggs, and now X Ambassadors. “We kinda just like watching them, every night, it helps out. Seeing how they run- all the headliners we’ve toured with, have a really involved team, seeing how they operate, it’s great”, Max tells me about their X Ambassadors tour experience. We wrap up our conversation as they have to get ready for the show, and getting to watch them play was so invigorating. They have a great energy and the crowd loved them. I’m so excited for everyone to get to see SHAED.
[Article edited on 11/17/18]