We spoke to Danish indie-pop duo Shy Shy Shy to find out more about their new album ‘Make Up’, their history making music, their biggest influences and more.
Meet Shy Shy Shy; Astrid Cordes and Simon Kjeldgaard
How did Shy Shy Shy get started making music?
We have been friends for over 10 years but never really done music together until about five years ago when we starting sparing with each other on our song writing. We would bounce ideas back and forth and help each other when we got stuck in our writing. When Simon showed up needing help finishing the song “Do Not Ask” it was clear that we had to make a band. The song was just too good not to.
We made a demo but couldn’t figure out which one of us was going to sing it. By accident we pushed play on both the vocals at some point and a concept was born. Since then we’ve deviated from the concept more than once, especially on this new record, but the heart of Shy shy shy will always be the shared lead. We love the dynamic of being able to sing to and at each other and taking turns leading the way. We feel it adds another dimension to our universe.
Your new album ‘Make Up’ is out now. What were the main ideas and aims behind it?
We didn’t really have a clear set goal when we started writing the album, but it soon became clear that many of the songs we were both writing focused on being a failure in some way. About not living up to our own or to someone else’s expectations and how we deal with it by either ignoring it or covering it up – hence the title ‘Make Up’.
It is very much about contrast feelings vs. actions and we’ve tried to extend it to the music by mixing acoustic instruments with electronics and collecting inspiration from many different genres. There’s a fine line between personal and private, which we hope not to have crossed. It’s a very personal record about our experiences in not feeling adequate but it is our hope that our listeners will be able to recognize themselves in our songs.
Tell us about the tracks you’ve released from ‘Make Up’ so far?
The first single we released from the album was ‘Beautiful Boys & Girls’. It starts out with an infectious keyboard vamp with the words “Beautiful Boys & Girls” being repeated over and over again because that’s what this song is all about. Looking at beautiful people admiring them, wanting to be one of them.
The second single was ‘Making a Fool’ which is our ode to bad first impressions. We all know that pit in the stomach that follows a failed attempt to connect with someone you’re crushing on. “Making a Fool” is the aftermath; the conversation you have with yourself afterwards where you suddenly have all the right answers to what you should have done instead of what you did.
The third and last lead up to the album was ‘Someone Else’. This song is about loneliness and how we ourself try to deal with it and find logic to it. The conclusion always being that the mistake must be with the people who’s making you feel this way, because the other option is just too unbearable – you’re the reason why you’re lonely.
How do usually you approach the process of making & writing new music?
For me (Astrid) It always starts with a story or an experience – something I feel the need to talk about. Music is my way of doing that. I try to translate what I’ve seen, heard, felt or done into melodies and chords, recreating the experience again.
It’s very different from song to song how I (Simon) start up. In example the song ”Do Not Ask” was initiated by a quote from the movie Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels: ”When you dance with the devil, you wait for the song to stop”. When I heard that line I immediately picked up the guitar and came up with the first few lines of the chorus: ”Do not ask me to dance if you don’t know the song. Once you dance with me, you don’t stop until it’s done”. Other songs are initiated by some noodling on a synthesizer. Soft & Hard is an example of a song that is written with that approach.
As with the first song we did together, ‘Do Not Ask’, we always finish our songs together. Sometimes it’s just a few details, sometimes it’s whole sections. It’s very important to us that we both invest something in all our songs. Otherwise it wouldn’t be Shy shy shy.
When and where can we see you on tour?
For now you’ll have to come to Denmark to see us in live action. Our next show is in Copenhagen at ‘Loppen’ the 5th of April.
What can we expect from your live shows?
When we play live we bring three of our very good friends to play with us. One is playing the drums, one the bass and one the keyboards. The two of us (Astrid & Simon) are of course singing and Simon is also playing the guitar while Astrid is playing on a drum pad and a synthesizer. We put a lot of effort in making the songs sound just as good live as on the record but just as important we focus on adding that live feel and presence. A live show is not only about how it sounds, it’s also about how it looks and feels and about being connected with the band and the audience. .
Who have been your biggest influences on your music?
The obvious thing to say would be each other. We are each other’s filter and inspiration and push each other forward. If we’re talking other artist we both have a very wide music taste. We met at a music school many years ago and have both had a lot of music education, which have forced us to explore many different genres and styles – old and new. That might also be the reason why you can find so many references to older music in our songs. We listen to classical music, 80’s pop and modern jazz, Ornette Coleman, Tyler the Creator and David Bowie and all in between. As long as it makes us feel something, we’ll listen to it. One of things we aspire to though is making honest, relatable music with a strong melody at the centre. While recording this album we listened a lot to HOMESHAKE, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Whitney, the War on Drugs and Skammens Vogn.
Which artists are you listening to right now?
I’m (Astrid) really into St. Vincent and Niki & the Dove at the moment. Both names dropped some kick ass records in 2017. I think I look up to St. Vincent but identify more with Niki & the Dove.
Right now I (Simon) am listening to my all time favourites. For instance Ryan Adams, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Bob Dylan and Dire Straits. A few months back I listened a lot to Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber and before that a lot of smaller indie groups. My preferences change constantly.
Do you have any more plans for this year?
We still have some cards up our sleeves, but we can’t really talk about it yet. Follow us on social media and you’ll be the first to know.
Big love to Shy Shy Shy for speaking to us!