Shaven Primates tell us all about their chirp-filled rocking 4-track release Birds Aren’t Real

Reaching into the trees and slicing off a piece of the bark to get the night started, Shaven Primates kindly had a chat with us all about their brand new 4-track release called Birds Aren’t Real. Informing us all about the vision, the local music scene and what’s next, we are educated about what being in a band really means.

Llewelyn: Greetings Shaven Primates. Thank you for joining us as we appreciate your time. 1st question. Please tell us about how the band started, who’s all involved (band, booking agent, special fans etc).

Shaven Primates: Mark started the band with creating the template for our previous album, “Child Of Dirt” which was all centered around his life story in traumatic events, including childhood abuse and losing his memory at 17. He used those song templates to round up the rest of us, starting with Neil who is our sophisticated keyboardist, found via who then connected up with Tom Clark, the guitarist, and then found Jarod Ganoe on gumtree (“bored drummer wants to make some noise”), and then finally Nick Letellier joined in 2018 after hearing our work and having worked with Tom before.
We aren’t currently working with a booking agent but this is immediately on the agenda and we connect with promoters directly in the UK so far. Playing across Europe will follow suit, we hope!
Special fans have all been our locals so far as our first outings were as local performers here in Oxford in order to test the waters and see who might listen to us – our sound is very individual and pretty hard to pin down, but that’s art rock for you. Bowie, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Mars Volta; they’re all self described as such due to sticking to their own sound.

Llewelyn: Who are the cleanest and messiest band members?

Shaven Primates: Cleanest, in terms of rehearsal time, would have to be either Nick or Neil, with their well-organised nature (and decidedly vocally so). Mark is by far the messiest, with his head in the clouds most of the time, we’d say. Him and cables, it’s quite a sight.

Llewelyn: Birds Aren’t Real. Let’s get into it. It drops on the 28th of July. What was the vision behind the project and where did you record it/are you happy with the outcome?

Shaven Primates: After spending 5 years writing the epic life story album that was “Child Of Dirt”, we needed to write something from scratch that was an introspective on the world, this time on “alt thought”, a spin on the mesh of madness spread across the world in war, propaganda, lies, slander, hate, denial, and conspiracy. We wrote 3 songs around this along with 2 more on a perspective on the suicide of someone close, and the experiences of growing up in school with a mind that isn’t compatible.

We recorded it at our own built recording studio, TAD Studios – that was a huge project as it was a matter of repurposing a rehearsal space that operates with multiple rooms. All of them are interconnected, and we get so much out of what was created as our musical hub.

Llewelyn: What is the pre-gig routine before jamming live?

Shaven Primates: Largely waving arms around madly, trying to sort out our in-ear monitors, but otherwise we spend a lot of it helping people set up. We’ve been running live streams with ours lately, so it’s been an extra big part of the work to rig that up too.

Llewelyn: What does it mean to be in a band? What are the perks and what are some things that make it harder?

Shaven Primates: First off, having a group of people who also we can also proclaim as friends who look out for each other and make our musical accomplishments, working out what does and doesn’t work creatively or technically, and generally enjoying the day-to-day living of it all. It can be particularly hard when working with people we care about and finding we have differences, of course, but we do what we can to figure that all out. Really, that’s part of the work, I guess.

Llewelyn: Please rep your hometown. Where are you currently and where are the best places to watch good music in your local area?

Shaven Primates: Oxford! Love the place – Mark grew up there, and saw the 90s live scene evolve into what it was, with Supergrass, Radiohead, and Rise all blossoming into the airwaves. On the other hand, it’s been sad to watch it devolve, but a few places still hold it, such as the Jericho Tavern where Radiohead first played, or The Bullingdon which Supergrass still frequent, and particularly the Port Mahon still stands as a decent venue to catch newcomers. There’s also Tap Social Brewery which is promising to be a decent new venue, and The Jam Factory has also taken on new owners promising to put on live gigs soon. It’s all still there!

Llewelyn: Last, which bands would you like to perform with and do you have any funny gig stories/fan interactions you can share with us?

Shaven Primates: We’d love to connect with someone like Mars Volta, Radiohead, even Gary Numan who might take us on given our synth work. You never know!

The first gig we ever did was to a Filipino gig festival inside the Jericho Tavern, where it was mostly families sat around the side eating food and wondering what on earth was going on with what was on stage with us performing. All gigs are worthwhile though! Still enjoyed it.

Turn this up on Spotify.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

You Might Also Like

No Comments

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.