SHADOWS LIKE STRANGERS (from l-r): Scott Baker (guitar), Jezza Bruce (vocals/guitar), Paul Davies (drums), Dan Turner (bass)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
From Nottingham, Shadows Like Strangers started life as a solo project of frontman Jezza Bruce, before expanding early last year with the addition of three other members, which made the band a four-piece.
Since then, armed with a rock sound which will be of much appeal to fans of Taking Back Sunday, U2, and Feeder, the emerging collective have hit the ground running, having released a well-received debut EP, as well as performing their first ever live set, supporting alt-rockers Lacey, in front of a sell-out crowd at one of the city’s iconic music venues, Rock City.
Now, with the unveiling of the quartet’s first album, ‘CALI’, coming in just over a week, as well as them showing an eagerness to take the US by storm, I chatted to the band about all this, and more.
How did the band get together?
Jezza and Paul had a project in the works for years, and once Jezza relocated to Nottingham, a few friends opened a few doors, and hey presto!
How did the name Shadows Like Strangers come about?
The band name is actually an iteration of a lyric of ‘Join The Club’, a single by Bring Me The Horizon.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
Write what you feel is right at the time, then take yourself away from it, and if it still bangs when you come back, and you still relate to that emotion, it’s potentially timeless and relatable. ROLL WITH IT!
What inspires the band lyrically?
Our songs are all about real events or ambitions, songs of reflection.
Last year, you brought out your debut EP, ‘Night Vision’. How was the reaction to that?
We don’t think our friends and family really expected us to release something of that quality. It certainly turned a few heads.
Shortly, the band will be unveiling their first album, ‘CALI’. How has the recording process been for that?
The recording process has been long, and we’ve had to learn how to be patient, because working on the most minimal budget, with the best people you possibly can, takes time.
It’s been fruitful, though, as we’ve been all over the UK working with some great producers and old friends.
And how will the upcoming release differ to ‘Night Vision’?
‘Night Vision’ was the spark of an idea really. We got to a point where we had over 50 demos, and we were like, “Well, which of these is more ‘us’?”
The album was originally going to be called ‘Vantablack’, but we changed the mood of the album over time, spreading a more positive message, and that’s how ‘CALI’ came about.
‘CALI’ is a more polished and definitive release from us, well for now, at least. It’s certainly heavier, and if ‘Night Vision’ made you think of relationships, we hope that ‘CALI’ will make you think of summer.
In 2018, you supported Nottingham alt-rockers Lacey at a sold-out Rock City. That must have been quite an experience for you all.
It was incredible for us. We’ve all had our involvements in the industry for years, but this one just felt right, as it was our chance to leave a mark on the scene. The Lacey boys are something else, incredibly humble and supportive lads, and we couldn’t have asked for a better first show!
And how is it, overall, playing live?
Playing live brings a whole new entity to our record. Despite having to blow our a few cobwebs for our first live show, it was an absolute blast, and having Graz and Dave from Lacey join us to perform our new single, ‘The Art Of Falling Down’, was special.
The thing with performing our set live is that we can make tweaks and keep people on their toes, so they are not just expecting a rendition of the album. We orchestrate our set, and we have a lot of fun tinkering, but Not too much tinkering, mind!
What are the band’s plans following the new album coming out?
We’re currently booking shows across the UK ready to push ‘CALI’ to its limit, so expect some announcements from us before the start of this spring.
And finally, what is your long-term aim?
We want to take our music to the States, as we really feel that there’s a gap in the market for us, and that we can fit that groove, so watch this space.
‘THE ART OF FALLING DOWN’, THE NEW SINGLE FROM SHADOWS LIKE STRANGERS, IS AVAILABLE NOW.
‘CALI’, THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM SHADOWS LIKE STRANGERS, WILL BE RELEASED ON FEBRUARY 1.
FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: