Birmingham's very own Shai Brides have been making a name for themselves on the indie-pop music scene since 2019, and if you hadn't picked up on them before now, latest track Honeydew will doubtless be the one that gets you hooked.
More lighthearted than their previous releases, this latest single is reminiscent of the indie powerhouse of an era that was the Noughties. With evident influence from the likes of the White Lies with a catchy, electronic twist, you're going to want to get your ears round this one.
This latest tune is released on Friday 31st July, and in the run up we caught up with the five piece to chat influences, dream stages and the other Birmingham acts you should be keeping an eye out for.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how long you’ve been making music for?
Thom: Shai Brides started in my first year uni bedroom when I decided that instead of making proper friends I’d spend all my time writing pop music. Eventually I realised that I’d need to make some friends to actually play the music with, so the others got involved and helped turn us into an actual band. We’ve been playing as the five of us for about 18 months.
At what point in your life did you decide to make a career out of your music, and what influenced that decision?
Meg: I think we’ve all always loved music and wanted to do something like this, but for me being a professional musician was always quite unattainable, until I actually started mixing in the music scene and realising that my favourite artists are normal people as well - just incredibly driven and motivated people. Thom: Yeah I had a similar kind of awakening. I’ve always loved making music and for most of my life I’ve wanted to be able to make a life out of it - I only realised a couple of years ago that the biggest block to becoming a musician is being afraid to call yourself one. Once I started calling myself a musician then it became like my primary function, my priority over everything else. Sam: I just remember being in sweaty tents at festivals growing up and just being in awe of the unity and passion it brings to people. The thought of creating that ourselves gets me excited.
What is the main source of influence for your songwriting?
Meg: All of us have different influences that seem to come together to make our sound - Thom and I bonded over Everything Everything back in the day, and a lot of us are very into classic indie. Jez and I are particularly into more electronic influences - since I came back from my year abroad in Germany I won’t shut up about techno, although more electronic non-dance vibes such as James Blake and FKA twigs are also a massive inspiration.
Jez: I’ve gone through lots of phases and many albums from different genres, not all of them good...but Meg’s right, I have a weakness for catchy electronic hooks and am drawn to interesting processed sounds and samples. Have been listening to a lot of Beck and Arcade Fire recently, and Massive Attack’s Mezzanine probably has one of the best sonic palettes of any album I’ve listened to.
Thom: I always try to be more inspired by emotions and non-musical influences - there’s so much information constantly surrounding us nowadays so being able to harness some of it and come to terms with it through music is a pretty good way of processing it. Musically I guess a lot of influences come through subconsciously, but a lot of the sounds in the mix come from my dad’s old records - New Order, Radiohead, all the stuff I used to complain about when he played it for us in the car.
What is something you’ve learned about yourself through making music?
Jez: That finding the right process for yourself is how to achieve your best work, and that all this deep shit that you hear musicians talking about in interviews isn’t actually as ridiculous as it sounds… Cam: Simply, that I have a lot of new things to learn and a lot of graft I can put in. And I’m loving it. Thom: I’ve learned that there’s a lot more to being a musician than just making music. You have to do all the other little things too, you have to slave over the design, the look and feel of your music. It’s about building a world around it. The music can’t speak for itself the same way as in the pre-internet age. I’ve also learned that this is a really positive and fun thing and that building an immersive world around your music is super gratifying. What is something you wish you’d known when you first got into the music industry? Meg: I always thought of the concept of playing in a band as quite cool and glamorous, until I found out that behind that 45 minutes that you’re onstage is hundreds of hours of writing, rehearsing, promo, travelling, soundchecking, and many other factors that make it a whole lot less glamorous than it looks! It’s definitely worth it though. Thom: More chords. Jez: Buy a van. Cam: Have more money. Sam: Always bring an amp.
Who are some of your favourite upcoming artists from the city you live in?
Birmingham is unreal at the moment. Everything’s kind of gone on hold just as things are starting to heat up but there are so many great artists making all sorts of music and everybody is literally so supportive. Odd Soul and Sorry Grace are killing all things jazzy, Midge and Genevieve Miles are making some of the sweetest pop around. The student scene that we came out of is also so strong: DAME are some of our best mates and total dance-pop dreamboats; Harico are basically mad scientists making wicked high-concept indie rock; Fergus Channell and Matt McClafferty have the best voices in Brum. The Nu and Violet are both doing bits and are basically the epicentre of the city’s indie scene right now; Lady Sanity, Kofi Stone and AKA Keyz are some of our favourites from the hip-hop scene too. There’s a healthy amount of competition here but there’s an even stronger community, which is so great to be a part of.
What would your dream tour & rider look like?
Meg: A big old roadtrip through Europe in a big red Brides bus would be amazing. Jez: Ford Transit across America with Chris Rea’s ‘Josephine’ blasting in the background, and a memory foam mattress (just one big one for all of us). Cam: Would love a Japan / Southeast Asia tour. No need for a fancy tour vehicle, just whack us all into Sam’s car and slap on some Keane, I don’t care how it happens, just that it does. Sam: I’d love to tour Southeast Asia as well, it’s an amazing part of the world and some of the backdrops to the festivals over there are insane. I also think our music would fit in well. As for the rider, get me scented candles, plenty of pineapple, a back scratcher and tequila. Thom: Dolly Parton support slot and shrooms on the rider. Job’s a good’un.
If your music was to soundtrack any film or TV show, which would you choose?
Meg: Killing Eve always has killer music choices, so that would be really cool. The dystopian vibes would also be cool on Black Mirror I think. Jez: The film Drive with Ryan Gosling, the aesthetic in that film is so cool. Cam: The Social Network / Flight of the Conchords. Sam: I know it’s obvious but I thought the music used in Normal People was really cool.
What’s the bucket list goal for you as an artist?
Meg: Pyramid Stage. Jez: Just anywhere at Glastonbury to be honest, I love that place. Cam: Personally, it’s to play in San Fran. But I just want to play anywhere that has an audience that’ll have as much fun as us. Sam: Other than places like Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds, I’d love to play Ally Pally. It’s a beautiful venue and I’ve seen some amazing bands there. I’d also love to play Clockenflap festival, just because playing a show in Hong Kong would be special. Thom: Ever since I went to Times Square I’ve had a vision stuck in my mind of us turning all those billboards red. It might be beyond the budget of any label we sign to but it’d definitely look sick. See how it goes I guess.