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Upcoming Irish Music: An interview with vibrant Rhythm and Blues band, The Shades.

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Dublin live music venue ‘The Grand Social’ has always been an important hub for the promotion of good Irish artists and bands.  We at Babylon Radio took a trip down to the venue last Friday evening to catch up with young Irish rockers ‘The Shades’, before the launch of their debut single ‘I give up’.

With a varied sound influenced by the likes of The Beatles, Chuck Berry, and The Stone Roses, ‘The Shades’ are quickly making their voices heard on the Irish music scene.  The launch of their debut single ‘I give up’ concludes a very successful 2015 for the band, which consisted of an Irish and UK tour, the supporting of Irish musicians Paddy Casey and The Strypes, and collecting ‘Best newcomer’ band at the Pure M awards. A quick preview of ‘I give up’ lends credibility to their success so far, with the energetic and lively melodies immediately drawing the listener in.

The five members – Donagh, Stef, David, Mikey, and Mark – sat down with us to tell us of the bands origins, their experience while out touring,  and their hopes for 2016.

When and where did the band begin?

It kind of started from an older band called ‘The confusion’, which three of us were originally members of. ‘The confusion’ fell apart as a band, but I guess after that we decided to push things on and try something new.  Donagh and Stef came along, and both were able to sing and offer vocals.  We really merged together as a band after that, and it was around mid-2014 when the band truly formed.

Your style has been described as both energetic Rock & Roll and Rhythm and Blues – How exactly would you define yourselves?

A few definitions have been thrown around when it comes to our style.  I guess it really is a fusion of different things….  perhaps rhythm and blues with its own spin?

How would you assess the Dublin scene for this in 2015?

The past few years were very popular for psychedelic type rock bands, and this seemed to be the main sound in Dublin for a while.  In a broader sense our type of sound has been around for decades, but perhaps it is becoming fresh again and making a re-emergence.

Ye have spent the last year touring both England and Ireland – Is there anything that distinguishes an Irish crowd from an English crowd?

The accent!  But aside from that of course, there is a difference in terms of how the crowd responds to the music.  We noticed in Manchester that the crowd tends to stand and listen, and be more appreciative…whereas in Ireland there’s more of a ‘let’s get on board and have fun’ vibe.

What has been your craziest story while out touring?

Nothing too crazy to report yet, but the time we supported Paddy Casey ended on a sort of funny note. Paddy called us onto the stage at the end of the gig, and we started playing The Beatles ‘Twist & Shout’.  I guess we ended up taking over his encore somewhat…… it was a bit awkward and thrown together, but great fun all the same.

Is there any venues which stand out to guys personally, where you really feel a crowd can be lifted?

In Dublin we would have to say Sweeneys is one of them, there is always a good music vibe there.  We have had a lot of great nights in other parts of the country as well though; Cork has always been good to us, particularly Coughlans which is a great venue.  Hopefully we’ll have another great night here at The Grand Social tonight.

‘I give up’ is an energetic and lively record which is sure to get a crowd going.  Is there any meaning behind the song title and lyrics?

It’s about a relationship where there is a lot of mixed signals, and dealing with someone who has crossed a line.

You guys have achieved a lot in 2015.  What would make 2016 one to remember?

It will be great to have another release, be that an EP or a new single.  We have material ready to go, so we guess it’s a matter of just playing the patience game.  A few festivals in Dublin would be nice also, or to even gig abroad and just continue gigging around Ireland.

The Shades launched their debut single ‘I Give Up’ at The Grand Social last Friday night.  You can purchase ‘I give up’ on itunes by clicking on the following link: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/album/i-give-up-single/id1051638353

The band play Monroes in Galway on the 11th of next month.   For more information on upcoming gigs and releases, visit their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/theshadesdublin/?fref=ts  or follow them on twitter https://twitter.com/theshadesdublin

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Brian Cunningham

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