Shy Shape Takes Doo-Wop And Mixes It With Alt-Rock
Jersey’s given music a lot… and there’s another gift coming out of the state – Shy Shape – a young doo-wop infused alternative-rock act.
The state of New Jersey gives us so much but asks so little. It really doesn’t deserve to be a running punch line for the city of New York. Jersey gave us My Chemical Romance. It gave us Bon Jovi. It also gave us The Gaslight Anthem and Blues Traveler. Jersey gave us Springsteen! Jersey’s given music a lot… and there’s another gift coming out of the state – Shy Shape – a young doo-wop infused alternative rock act.
“When I was 17, I trash picked a beat-up piano that was on the side of the road”, explained Shy Shape frontman Mike Dugan in what we decided was one of the Jersiest things that’s ever been said. “I picked up this piano and tied it to the back of my truck – it was completely unsafe. I didn’t know anything about piano then, I played guitar in a hardcore band. I picked it up and took it back to my room. I didn’t have any piano tools or anything like that so I tuned it with a wrench. I locked myself in that room for three days just playing with that piano and started writing songs. That’s where the songs on this EP come from.”
That’s where the music started for Shy Shape but there’s a lingering question in the air - what exactly is doo-wop infused alt-rock? The simple answer can be achieved by listening to the band’s EP “Out at Night”. The more complicated answer can be given by Dugan when he lists all of the influences that he has from his childhood.
“I grew up on 50s and 60s stuff,” began Dugan. “Some of my earliest memories were being cooped up in my grandma’s basement with a jukebox and playing old music – like the Cavaliers. I have all of these weird memories that have soundtracks – like Chuck Berry tunes and things like that. I hear this stuff when I think back. It’s kind of always been there and I didn’t start to appreciate it until I hit my late teens. Once I hit twenty it became an obsession of mine to determine how my musical tastes were influenced from those memories and that type of music, but I do love it. I love Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, The Penguins, The Chandeliers, The Flamingos – that’s the stuff I grew up on.”
That’s the first time that anyone has listed The Flamingos as an influence behind their music in an interview with Alternative Addiction, but it’s something that’s welcome. There are lots of different bands making the same types of music out there – Shy Shape isn’t copying anyone. What they’re making is all of their own and it’s great to hear on “Out at Night” – an EP that was recorded in North Jersey and recorded in a way that fits Shy Shape’s point of origin perfectly too.
We recorded all of the tracks in two or three days working for like 14 hours - 14 hour days of recording and moving around and setting up – it was crazy. We used utilities through public schools and things like that. We snuck around locked-down schools and used whatever rooms and gear we had available to us. It was a pain and it was really hard, but it came out awesome. It was fun and I learned a lot, but I would say we’d like to push ourselves even further next time.”
Shy Shape’s “Out at Night” is available now.