Ones To Watch - The Shutes

Isle of Wight three-piece release limited edition vinyl
Ones To Watch - The Shutes
Somewhere in a peaceful Isle of Wight garden, The Shutes front man Michael Champion is sitting, surrounded by chickens. It’s not where Clash thought he would be, but then we’ve only recently been introduced to the surf rock that is starting to get them noticed. From the sound of his three-piece, we’d more likely have put them on the other side of the Atlantic (but most definitely still surrounded by chickens). Having recently signed to Cross Key Records, after supporting the likes of the Bees, Peter, Bjorn and John and The Go! Team across Europe, they’ve just released their debut EP on the label – the limited edition seven-inch Noah’s Ark. Expecting big things? We are. If you’re heading down to Bestival in September be sure to check them out. We spoke to Michael to find out more.

How would you describe what you guys are about?

We all love American music. Stuff like Wilco, Flaming Lips and then going back to Dylan. Just good, honest guitar music. For us, it’s about getting some really good songs.
Would you say that those influences translate into your music?

To an extent but not necessarily. There’s one song called ‘Sweet Marie’ where we were going for a ‘Highway 61’ kind of vibe with a backing track – but we’re trying to be modern and definitely not a nostalgia band.

How long have you been together?

It’s about three years; we’ve toured around Europe three times on support tours but we’ve always struggled to find the right studio to fit the sounds we want. It’s all started to come together now though and we’re getting a few tracks sorted that we’re happy with. Just have to concentrate on finishing the album.

How do you write your lyrics?

I’m usually quite vague; the main thing is that they sound good in terms of their flow and their sound. So without being too specific, and you can take different things from it without ploughing your opinions on anyone. I don’t think I’d ever write a massively political tune. You can’t really get angry on the Isle of Wight.

And the music? Is that a collaboration?

I get the ideas together on my own and we usually build on them when we’re recording or in rehearsals. That’s when it all comes together. We’re very lucky that there’s a guy here on the Isle of Wight who we spend building and messing with sounds with no real time constraints. There’s been no pressure from the label saying you have to have it finished this way, which is quite nice. Although it would be nice to get some money.

Are there any live dates coming up?

We’re playing Bestival in September and we’ll be throwing a party here during the summer but we haven’t got a tour planned as of yet. Once the album is finished, mastered and good to go, that will change. But there’s no point in hitting the road just to plug one single. …

What does the year ahead hold?

We just want it to take off really. Have a good focus on getting an amazing album and getting a good live show together – get busy.

The limited edition vinyl of 'Noah’s Ark' is out now. Buy it HERE.

Words by Sam Ballard

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