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An Interview With SHVPES

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SHVPES are a rock/metalcore band hailing from Birmingham, England. The five piece was formed in 2009 and were originally called Cytota. However, the band have now changed their name to SHVPES and have also changed their sound. We spoke to Griffin Dickinson (vocalist) and Harry Jennings (drummer) to find out more.   

HUNOW: Harry, how easy was the transition from Cytota into SHVPES and from Joey to Griffin?

Harry: The whole situation was a bit of a weird one, really. As a band, we wanted to take it in one direction and Joey wanted to go in another, so it was better for everyone really. The transition, though, has been unbelievably smooth; I didn’t think it would be this smooth or go as well as it has been over the past few months. When you change your name and your sound etc it really is like shooting into the dark, and I’m just glad that everyone’s just embraced it as much as we have, and it’s just a really good feeling knowing that.

HUNOW: Griffin, do you feel any kind of weight of expectation being the son of the legendary Bruce Dickinson?

Griffin: Yes and no. It’s one of those things, really. He is who he is and I do what I do. I don’t really think about it too much, to be honest.

HUNOW: When doing your shows, do you still play your old Cytota songs or is it just new material?

Griffin: There are a couple of them in there.

Harry: We played two today (Slam Dunk South) and the plan is to completely faze them out. On these shows, we’re playing a lot more new material, which is incredible because we’ve been playing with some of the songs for so long.

Griffin: The name change is a reflection of a different direction that this band is taking, so we do want to showcase our new material and then phase out the old stuff.

Harry: It all just depends, really, on what we’re doing and what tours we’re doing, but we really want to begin to cut them out.

HUNOW: Are there any particular pieces of musical equipment you treasure above the rest?

Griffin: My in-ear monitors. I’ve just finished my third show with in-ears and they’re a godsend. You can really hear yourself which is fantastic, especially when you’re first on and you don’t always get the time to get to grips with what the sound is like.

Harry: Drumsticks! They’re essential for me! But to be honest, I’d have to say my in-ears as well. I’ve grown attached to mine over the past year, they’re like my babies!

HUNOW: On that note, are there any particular pieces of musical equipment you’d really like to get your hands on?

Harry: Maybe a new snare? But that’s just me being boring!

Griffin: I’m quite limited, really. A metal ego rising would be nice, though! You stand on it and a bit of light shoots up your arse; that’d be great!

HUNOW: You went on tour supporting 36 Crazyfists and Fightstar earlier this year. Have you got any funny or wacky tour stories you’d like to share with us?

Harry: Well, those guys are mental.

Griffin: Yeah, 36 Crazyfists got a bit out of hand.

Harry: There was another band on the bill called All Hail The Yeti from over in the States, and every night was bottles of Jack [Daniels]! Their thing was “it starts tonight!” every single night and they just kept chugging bottles of JD. I don’t think we could keep up with them for the most of it! But yeah, some of the stories we wouldn’t actually be allowed to say.

Griffin: Yeah, we can’t say the anvil one! I’d get someone in a lot of trouble if we went into it! Other than that, though, there really isn’t any particular story. It all blurs into one, to be honest. At Brixton, though, I said “Hello, Birmingham!” That was a personal highlight! The one show that we’d been amping up for, this whole month of touring, and I just went “Birmingham, that was f***ing amazing!” and realised “Oh, shit! Uhhhh. Brixton, the other B!”

HUNOW: You’ve just finished your set about an hour ago. Which festival do you think has given you a better reception: Takedown or Slam Dunk?

Harry: Slam Dunk. Takedown was a really good night, we had a really great time, but Slam Dunk is one of those ones where you really get an opportunity to put your name out there. So many people come over here to check out new stuff and then come away with new favourite bands. The reaction over the past couple of days, today especially, has been mind-blowing, we weren’t expecting it at all. I can’t wait for tomorrow, but once it’s all over it’s going to be really depressing, to be honest!

Griffin: Yeah, Slam Dunk hands down.

HUNOW: Your new single, State Of Mine, came out about a week ago. It’s one of my favourite songs to be released so far this year, and I really like the video for it as well. What’s the theme of the song, and did you carry that through into the video?

Griffin: The theme of the song is where you’re in a certain frame of mind and you lose your inhibitions; you think one thing’s okay and then later, when you have a moment of clarity, you look back and realise ‘why on earth did I do that?!’ I dunno if it’s getting too drunk and acting like a dickhead or taking too many drugs and being a manwhore, it’s about that state of mind. With the video, we wanted to carry that theme through, make it something that’s relevant to everyone today. It doesn’t matter if you’re an internet troll of not, everyone gets impacted by these people.

Harry: If you’re going to take the video at face value, it’s about a kid who’s addicted to the internet and loses his mind when he loses it. With regards to how it relates to the song, though, it’s all about addiction and how highly addicted people can get to the internet and how differently you act when you have a moment of clarity. We wanted it to be relatable for a younger audience, and we’ve been thrilled by the reaction to it so far.

HUNOW: Following the release of your EP, The Prosecutor, earlier this year, when can we expect your debut album?

Griffin: Early next year. We’re currently riding off the back of The Prosecutor, really.shvpes1

Harry: Yeah, early next year. We’re about 50% through it at the moment. Because we’re going for a whole new sound, we’re just trying to mould it into something we’re really happy with, so we’re taking our time. You only get one chance at a debut album. We’re going to do another tour at the end of this year, go away, make the record and then come back and hit 2016 in the face with a hammer!

Griffin: Sledgehammer! A big, huge sledgehammer with ‘SHVPES’ written on it!

HUNOW: Lastly, if you could be a pizza topping, what would you be and why?

Griffin: Jalapeño! Why? I don’t know, but it’s the first thing I thought of. Everyone loves a jalapeño!

Harry: I don’t!

Griffin: Well, there you go then, that’s why he’s a tramp! But yeah, jalapeño, because they’re spicy, they’re green … they’re spicy, but not too spicy. They give you a bit of zing but they’re friendly as well, they’re accommodating.

Harry: I’m a bit of a plain pizza kind of guy, I like a margherita, so I’m going to go for a classic and I’ll be pepperoni!

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Music Technology graduate currently working in PR.

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