Guitarist Andrew Bayliss in these earlier days talks to Stephen Janes, hell-bent in hot, but misguided, pursuit of finding a little more about the band most should have uncounted live.
The Lemington Spa alternative band followed their impressive five track EP, ‘Shallow Waters’, subsequently played with a host of dates with the likes of Gallows, The Ghost of a Thousand, Fucked Up, Babyshambles, The King Blues, Girls, Crime in Stereo, supporting the Gaslight Anthem during their 2010 UK and European tours, that’s where I come in, seeing several dates from the prior blitz of band names mentioned.
Shark’s second ‘Show of Hands’ EP, was recorded at Fortress Studios in London, released by Best Before Records in October 2010. The first video from the EP premiered on 5 October 2010. Show of Hands received 4/5 from Kerrang! magazine, which described the album as “impressive […] shimmering, grass-roots, British Punk” and “a revelation from start to finish”. RockSound magazine gave the album 8/10, declaring that “writing with thoughtfulness, maturity and skill belying their youthful status, Sharks have quietly put together perhaps the most charming debut of the year.”
Sharks were ‘band of the day’ on 21 October 2010 in The Guardian, which commented that “Sharks are into preserving the purity of first-album Clash” and “giving the contemporary music scene a good old slap in the face, to wake it out of its current torpor”.
Got to admit for once, i was impressed by the multiple press quotes, lucky for me i had albeit brief live memories to call upon, deciding or a delicate, arguably paying too much respect to the Warwickshire band, with forensic detail, fear not Andy Bayliss does keep up admirably.
Shouldn’t you kids be playing Xbox or watching Big Brother, what gives?
”I spend the days with music; she’s pretty good to me. Maybe if I gave her up I’d find the time to tune into the human zoo.
In the decades past, there has always been a reason to rebel at a young age, bands have always reflected this in their music and has been a prime motivation for them. Are you a voice of a generation? And what is to fight for, or against when you are young adults in 2009?
The reason to rebel at a young age comes about when that conflict arises, between losing the freedom you had as a kid and accepting the responsibilities you have as an adult. Everyone rebels in some form when they’re young, because it’s a confusing time. You feel like you can take on the world, when the reality is you can’t. You don’t know what it is you want to do in life, but you don’t want to be mediocre. That ideal is something people will be rebelling against forever. Some people grow out of that; the others form rock ‘n’ roll bands.
We are a new generation, but whether or not we are the voice for this generation is something that isn’t up to us, it’s not our choice to make, we just hand them the rope. We’re not fighting against anything, we’re not a politically charged band and we’re not out to preach rights and wrongs. But I guess you could say we’re rebelling against ordinary life, a cycle of mundane activities that numb the brain and leaves you looking back 20 years down the line and saying, ‘Gosh, I wish I had followed my love of painting’. In a sense, we’re rebelling against those choices that are expected of you by doing what it is we love, and not letting anything else take priority.”
How long you guys been around and where the Sharks tag derive from?
”We formed the band when we were sixteen, so we have been a band for just over 2 years. The name came from the gallows track ‘In the Belly of a Shark’.”
What have been your favourite and worst gig experiences to date?
”Favourite gig – Every time we play Robbins Well, a venue in our hometown of Leamington Spa. It’s a tiny room at the bottom of a pub, there’s no stage, only a vocal PA, there’s no separation between the crowd and audience and the atmosphere is always very special, regardless of capacity. It’s where we started out.
Worst gig – A few nights ago at Camden Rocks. I slipped and fell flat on my arse during the first song, after which whenever there was a silence, some sweaty drunken spud in the front row persisted on shouting ‘FALL OVER, FALL OVER’. This was obviously to impress his two Paris Hiltons clinging to him like a couple of hungry orphans, and probably his realisation that if he kept it up this might get him a half arsed blow job at the end of the night. After the fifth song in, I eventually turned round to him and shouted ‘SHUT. THE F**K UP. YOU F**KING C**T’, at which point we kicked into the next song and all my leads came out. This becomes a regular thing during the remainder of the set. Not a good night.”
How do you feel about the references to The Clash and Joy Division that regularly appear when describing your sound?
”It’s humbling, although we draw inspiration from lots of other things; those two groups inspired us greatly to do what we do. It’s perhaps a worrying state of affairs that you have to look back at least 20 years to find real bands that strike a chord with how you’re feeling; I struggle to find any bands from Britain that mean anything to me in the modern day. It’s perhaps the reason why we are talked about in the same way as The Clash and Joy Division. Because there’s not much new music worth talking about, worth taking inspiration from, there just aren’t many bands with substance these days.”
Is your on-line Shallow Waters going to have an official release or should we be preparing for new material and when?
Shallow Waters in its entirety isn’t going to be physically released; it is just something we recorded exclusively for MySpace. Some of the tracks, however, are going be scattered and released on various vinyls in the next coming months. We have dozens of new songs on top of Shallow Waters, but no one has heard them apart from ourselves and the people who see us live. We’ll be recording our debut album at the end of the year.
Shallow Waters EP is a good albeit short collective of work, showing the band’s ability to experiment with both an array of instruments and sounds; how do you see the development of ‘The Sharks Sound?’
”The studio SHARKS will always differ from the live SHARKS, as it should. They are two different worlds. But our development will only depend on the quality of the material we write. We don’t have a great desire to touch every musical base out there, but we have a great desire to not write the same song twice. At the end of the day you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to please yourself, you need to be happy with the music you’re writing before you can take it any further.”
You are getting key support slots to Gallows, Alexisonfire and now a tour support with Ghost of a Thousand; but Sharks sound very different to these acts. Is there a conscious effort to break into that heavy thrash scene? If so, this seems an odd target audience?
“There’s no conscious effort to break into any scene. It should never be a question of genre; it should be a question of quality. Great bands should play with great bands, regardless of genre. To say that someone who goes to an Alexisonfire concert isn’t going to like a band that doesn’t sound like Alexisonfire would be pretty ignorant on our behalf and it’s not what we’re about. Our target audience is anyone who wants to engage in what we do, and we want to give everyone the chance to do that. Granted you will always get Nazis that turn up to shows, but we’re there for the people who want to be inspired.”