Quartet SHEL is comprised of sisters Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza and they release their new album Just Crazy Enough on Friday.
All skilled singers, songwriters and multi-instrumentalists, the sisters create an intriguing mix of acoustic instruments, beatboxing, synth and captivating harmonies. Just Crazy Enough is the band’s second album and it’s already picking up quite the buzz.
We caught up with the band to talk about their new album, find out what it’s like to work with your siblings, and to discuss their relationship with mentor Dave Stewart.
Hello ladies! Where does this email Q&A find you?
Right in the middle of a tour in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina.
Your second album Just Crazy Enough arrives this month. What do we need to know about it?
It’s a musical escape that we created for ourselves and our fans, co-produced by Dave Stewart. We enjoyed exercising a lot of imagination in the songwriting and arrangements. It’s easily the most fun we’ve had making an album yet.
In what ways would you say this album differs from your first?
We really had a chance to experiment and gave ourselves permission to do so. There are tracks with violin, classical piano, and beatbox all mashed together with analogue synths, electronic beats, and layers of four part harmony. I don’t think we could have been that bold on the last album.
You’re signed to Dave Stewart’s label. How did that happen and what’s it like to have someone like him in your corner?
We love Dave, he’s a total weirdo so we work very well together. His publicist is a good friend of our manager, as it happens, and she kindly offered to introduce us.
What are the challenges of mixing family and business?
The biggest is probably understanding that business is not personal, and personal needs are not business, but there are numerous advantages to being a family business, we try to focus on those.
What made you decide to start a band together?
Really it was our dad, he would give us pep talks when we were kids. He knew we idolised The Beatles and The Marx Brothers, so he told us that if we learned to get along we could start our own band someday.
Give us an insight into what you’re like in the studio. How do you go about putting a song together?
Clumsy and intense might sum us up best. We just dive in, and with the help of our long-time producer Brent Maher we shape our arrangements and discover new sounds.
You’re based in Nashville now, which is famous for producing great singer-songwriters. Does being in such a vibrant city fuel your creativity?
Absolutely, we’ve made friends and mentors here that have inspired us and changed our lives.
For those that haven’t heard your music yet, how would you describe it?
We try to create a listening experience that carries people away into our world. It’s dark and strange at times, full of questions, but ultimately it’s a journey of overcoming and finding hope. The sound is very musical, we create an intricate arrangement underneath every song using mandolin, violin, beatboxing, piano, guitar, drums, etc. along with four part harmony.
What else do you have coming up this year?
A long US tour in support of our new album Just Crazy Enough. We film, direct, and edit our own music videos as well, so we’ll be busy location hunting and filming for the remainder of the songs on the album in our spare time as we travel.
Shel’s album Just Crazy Enough is released on Friday 27th May 2016. Watch the music video for Rooftop below: