By Kieran Webber
The UK based punk outfit The Shrives have been penned to take the world by storm due to their infectious blend of indie, funk and punk. A strange collective of sounds that somehow works when bashed into one another, this unique sound caught the attention of Billy Joe Armstrong, frontman of the infamous Green Day.
We spoke to Shrives frontman Matt Grocott about how the band was formed, experiencing recording their debut album with Billy Joe and being naked in McDonalds.
CLUNK: First off I want to thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! How have you been and what have you been up to?
Matt: I’m great thanks! We’re all great. Things are going smoothly as of now and we’re pumped to get more music out into the world. We’ve been rehearsing a lot and jamming brand spanking new songs that hopefully we’ll get down in the studio early next year, at some point. It’s all going in the right direction.
CLUNK: How has 2016 been for you guys? Any highlights?
Matt: 2016 has felt like a drag! Only recently we’ve just got a single out and now we’re working hard to get it to as many people as possible. Personally, I feel stronger with the band than ever before. My highlight would be releasing this ‘Madnight’ single, we’ve had a lot of love back from it already and it’s nice to see so many people interested.
CLUNK: How did you guys meet and how did THE SHRIVES come to be?
Matt: We were all in different bands when we were younger, playing our local pubs together and supporting our local music scene. Tom, our bassist, wanted to start a ska band so asked me and some other people to join. We jammed about for a bit and nothing really came of it but it made us get to know each other.
The Shrives properly formed after the recording in California though. We had a different drummer before we went over there and when we got back, the sound had completely changed. It was much faster and harder and had electric guitar all over it. It was just an obvious choice to get our main man Joe on the case.
“I am a huge fan of Green Day, they were one of the first bands I listened to when I was younger and to have Billie Joe producing and even playing bass on a few of the songs off the album, just felt unreal”
CLUNK: Your debut record was cut by the famous Billie Joe Armstrong that must be surreal? How did that come about?
Matt: Yeah, it was pretty mad. Had a lot of fun over there, there wasn’t a dull moment. It was a crazy experience. I am a huge fan of Green Day, they were one of the first bands I listened to when I was younger and to have Billie Joe producing and even playing bass on a few of the songs off the album, just felt unreal.
It came about through his son Joey, I used to speak to him and his band (SWMRS) on MySpace, back when I was in a different band and they were called Emily’s Army. I would send over demos and just share my music about really. It was fun to do recording on my tascam four track, which I still use to this day. I met up with them at a show they played in Manchester back in 2013 and we got each other on Facebook and I kept sending my new songs through to Joey. I was just playing acoustic back then. I sent over a song that myself and Josh (guitarist for The Shrives) worked on and he loved it. He asked us to go over and the rest is history really..
CLUNK: What was it like recording in Jingletown with Billie?
Matt: At the start, it was kinda like I had to pinch myself but after the first day or so, I just relaxed. It felt natural to record and have someone there to point out the bits that could be a bit better or adding things in that I wouldn’t of thought of. It helped me grow as a songwriter.
CLUNK: Explain to us your recording process when it comes to making new music, how does it normally go down?
Matt: The album we did was very simple. We had a week in the studio to get everything down. We recorded the drums in the first two days and everything else followed. It was a fluent experience and the best time I’ve had in a studio as of yet. I’ve only been around like college studios and things like that where no-one has an idea what to do. All in the baby stages so it was a huge leap to go and do something like that.
CLUNK: Your music feels like it has a deep rooted punk vibe would that be fair to say? What influences as a band do you have?
Matt: Yeah, of course. Punk music has been my favourite since day one. With bands like Green Day and The Clash and countless others. It’s been the foundation to all of my songwriting and I always seem to go back to it when I’m on a block or I just can’t figure out what to do next. I do love all types of music though. It’s nice to take things from a genre that I wouldn’t usually listen to and use it in my own way.
I think at the moment, we’re gradually starting to experiment and put a lot more thought and effort into the songs. We’re definitely not just a punk band, we’ve all had too much influence from other genres to keep to one line.
CLUNK: I can imagine life on the road can turn up some funny/weird stories do you have any you wish to share?
Matt: Naked, coathanger, McDonalds. You’ll have to think the rest up for yourself.