By Davis Blount
This Friday, New Shack will be releasing their new single, “House of Frankenstein.” Analog Provo had an opportunity to sit down with Eric Robertson and Catherine Leavy of New Shack to listen to the new single and talk music.
New Shack will be performing this Saturday August 22nd at Velour to celebrate their new single release along with Kissed Out. Doors open at 8 PM.
Tell me a little bit about “House Of Frankenstein.” You all have mentioned via social media that it is a departure from some of the music that you all had been making previously. Was there any reason for that, or did it just come naturally?
ER: I get obsessed with things and started really getting into guitar. I gave her a guitar track, almost jokingly, to see if Catherine would like it.
CL: And immediately I could tell that I loved it. He had just gotten this guitar rack and really loved it, so he sent me this track and I immediately knew that it was going to be good. Typically when Eric sends me something I know almost immediately what kind of vocals I am going to be doing, what we can do to make it a full song and really just smash it out. That is why we are able to put out a scary amount of music given how little we have actually been together in studio.
ER: Tell him about the lyrics, too! That has a really cool backstory.
CL: Right, right. Generally speaking, New Shack lyrics are a little bit dark and kind of obscure. For this song, I was using the idea of building a house and comparing that to building a relationship with someone else. If a house is haunted and you are somehow trying to bring it back to life and you are adding things that aren’t organic, you are really putting your whole soul into it but it is still a dead house… there is no way that you can bring any new life into it. I think it’s the idea of putting your heart and soul into something, be it a relationship or a project or whatever, and knowing from the outset that it is dead and to bring it back to life you’re putting your blood into it but at the end of the day it’s still filled with ghosts…
ER: It’s pretty cool. [laughs]
Is there any meaning behind the moniker “New Shack”? It has a nice ring to it.
CL: We had a few things going that were being discussed but they were all either taken or didn’t fit the general vibe that we were going for. The name New Shack actually comes from one of our lyrics. I was trying to subtly rap in one of our tracks and for some reason the phrase “New Shack” just really flew off the page.
ER: I see some symbolism in it that you might not. For me, the new is a nod to the kind of music that we are doing… The synthesized instruments are all very new-age and clean sounding. Then there is the shack aspect, where our actual recordings are not very polished… we have the occasional crackle and whatnot and we really like that.
CL: The original vocals for New Shack were so Lo-fi it was unreal… I was singing into earbud microphones that were attached to my cell phone. It was during this time that I was working in Germany and had literally no money. I didn’t have access to all of Eric’s stuff here at Pleasant Pictures, so we had to make do with what we had. Fortunately, we were able to make it all work.
You all have a show this Saturday at Velour. Is there anything fun that fans should expect? Will this Saturday be the live debut of “House of Frankenstein” as well?
ER: We can’t promise that “House of Frankenstein” will be ready for this Saturday, but we are hoping to get in to practice and see if we can crank it out. There are, however, things that people can look forward to. We are getting better and better live as a band. It has been a tough transition for us because we didn’t go from jam space to writing to performing live etc. We started releasing things from day one, really. Our first Velour show was a ton of fun and got a great crowd response, but there were a lot of glitches. This show ought to be a lot smoother and give people a true “New Shack experience.”
This question is specifically for Eric: As the owner of Pleasant Pictures, do you ever see the artists that come in to record end up changing the way that you as an artist make music? For example, if a singer-songwriter came in to record, do you end up writing music for yourself that has a singer-songwriter tinge to it?
ER: I don’t know if it is them influencing me quite as much as it is my sound influencing theirs…
CL: Eric has a really influential style of music making. A good example of what Eric can do is on Grayson’s new single, “Hold Your Fire.” If you compare what the song sounded like before Eric touched it up to the final product you would hardly believe they were ever the same song. That is, however, totally to Eric’s credit of being able to see the potential that lies within different songs and really capturing that. Artists will come to Pleasant Pictures and walk out saying “I’m making synth-pop, guys!”
Are there any exciting plans in the future for New Shack?
CL: We have a video in the works for “House of Frankenstein” which will be released pretty soon. We are also working on videos for “Shadow Girl,” “Disassembly,” and a few others. One really big announcement that we just caught wind of is that one of our songs, “Heart in the Rain” is going to be featured on MTV later this year on a show called “Awkward.” We are really excited about that.
There were two questions that were donated from Hive Riot, a project being orchestrated by Mindy and Dustin Gledhill. The first one goes to you, Eric. “If you could be a Disney Princess, who would you be and why?”
ER: I would be Merida from the movie Brave because she has good hair and I don’t. Beyond that, she is super cool because she rides around on a horse shooting arrows and fighting off bears all day.
The question that was posed to New Shack as a group was this: “If you all had to coordinate a costume for your next show, would you all go for pleather or feath-“
CL: PLEATHER. Period.
Would you like to donate a question for our next artist to answer?
ER: The first one is this: “Why isn’t New Shack your favorite band?”
CL: The second one is: “Which Facebook sticker emoji would you use to describe New Shack, and secondly, what Facebook sticker emoji would you use to describe yourself?”
Make sure to follow New Shack on Instagram and check out “House of Frankenstein” below!