Q: I love the old-school yet the contemporary sound of “Oxygen”; It has such a 90s grunge feel that I haven’t heard in so long! What was the inspiration behind this track?
SHOCKPOWDER: Thanks so much! For years my biggest inspiration has been Alcest. Also, I’m generally inspired by a lot of the post-metal scenes such as Deafheaven, Heretoir, and others. But spending all those years in my teens listening to grunge and shoegaze from the 90s (like a hipster; this was in the early 2010s) has given my music a grungy sound. Which helps to craft my own space in the post-metal scene!
Q: Can you walk me a little through the creative process in making “Oxygen”?
SHOCKPOWDER: I started with ghostly, dreamy chord progressions before it started developing into a song. Once I had the intro and verse, I started throwing words around that matched the feel, and oxygen really clicked. The song is so bouncy like bubbles, which led to this idea of oxygen being trapped inside the liquid in the cold dark. But it also felt really great to write about oxygen because it’s an essential life force, and it is given to us by plants! That’s very Shockpowder.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received about the music industry, and how has it helped you navigate through it thus far?
SHOCKPOWDER: The best piece of advice about the industry side of things I’ve heard would be “be prolific”. We’re all swimming in a very intense torrent of information every day, so it’s not enough to put your best work out there once in a while. You have to kick it into overdrive, make the best songs you can constantly, and promote them over time by telling each one’s story individually, and it all starts with a genuine desire to authentically communicate all of it straight from the heart.
Q: What’s the music scene like in Aylesbury? Do you have any advice to give to other up-and-coming artists trying to get their music out there?
SHOCKPOWDER: Aylesbury is a little too secluded. That can be a pro and a con. It’s also taken a lot of hits over the last couple of years as you can imagine, so it’s hard to really know which way is up here music wise anymore. As for getting music out there, for better or for worse it all hinges on social media because that’s where everyone is. Making interesting, engaging, and authentic content on a regular basis as a way of telling everyone about your music while you get it going on digital distribution is completely essential for the forseeable future.
Q: Who would you most like to collaborate with, if it could be anyone in the world?
SHOCKPOWDER: I would be really interested to see what would come from collaborating with another hero of mine, Rachel Goswell from Slowdive. I feel like there would be a common understanding between us musically that would absolutely create wonderful and interesting sounds.
Q: What do you hope listeners take away from “Oxygen”?
SHOCKPOWDER: I want it to leave an impression of a dream with no boundaries. The lyrics of this song are very expressive to me as I wrote them when I was feeling quite down, but they still hold the familiar nostalgia of Shockpowder songs, and they aim to be boundless with the landscapes they describe. But also the rhythms, I want them to feel like breathing in and out, relaxing like in sleep.
Q: What would you like to tell your supporters out there?
SHOCKPOWDER: I freaking love you! I dedicated my life to music, and to get the messages I’ve gotten recently from people who I have truly connected with through my songs, gives me all the purpose on this earth I could ever ask for. And on top of that, it shines an energizing light on my whole process that pushes me to create and explore in more interesting ways. Warm thoughts to all powder people!
Q: Tell everyone what’s up next for you! Are any exciting shows or projects in the works?
SHOCKPOWDER: Going into 2023, it’ll be more releases for me. That’s a given! But I will also be continuing my search for players so I can get back to the stage, which I miss so much. And who knows, if I spread my sound to more wonderful people the end of 2023 could see all sorts of exciting developments!
Interviewed by Melissa Cusano