“You Guys Sound Like Two Bands…” / by Marcell Marias

This is a comment I have heard a lot about Shai Azul.  To which I enthusiastically reply.

“Yes.  Yes we do.”

Truth of the matter is that we probably sound like about 3-4 bands, depending on which song you listen to.  And it’s intentional.  In spite of the opinion I know that the local and national music industry holds on the topic.

I have no problem with a band having their ‘sound’.  It’s what makes you distinct amongst all the other bands out there.  It’s a good thing to have something that defines you as you, whether it’s your lead singer, or your beats, or your guitar riffs, or your attitude, or what have you.

The hazard there, though, is that your ‘sound’ turns into your rut. 

And I have been there.  I have been there when I find myself starting off a song and having to really focus on which tune it is, because it sounds suspiciously similar to about half a dozen other tunes the band has written.  I have found myself going “How many songs do we have at 100bpm??”  I have found myself struggling to make a song sound fresh when, ultimately, the band has used the same ingredients 20 times before.    

And all too often, in this season, I even find myself listening to a band I like.  And turning off the CD halfway through.   Because I have heard it all by the 6th song.  I know what’s coming. That’s kind of disappointing. 

With Shai Azul, I want to have a ‘sound’ that’s defined our personalities and our passions.  And you know… that’s a really big category.  But it wasn’t so long ago that having a varied sonic experience on a record (remember those big waxy things?) was par for the course; even a good thing.  It was okay for the band to try different genres and styles, because it was still ‘the band’ doing it.  I want to be soft and loud and intense and retrospective and in your face and happy and angry and everything in between.  I’m not just one emotion; neither are you.  We are legion. 

I would rather take a chance and risk having you not like the tune as opposed to having your response be one of boredom and apathy.  I would rather that you screw up your face and go “Bleah” than have you listen to a whole CD and go “Enh.  Been there.  Done that.” 

The core of Shai Azul is heavy, melodic music.  We will stay close to that, because it’s what we like.  We won’t do a tune that sounds like a country and western song. 

…or maybe we will.  Hard to see it, but you never know.  But hey.  I honestly don’t expect you to like every little thing that we do.  I mean, my OWN opinion about the songs I write fluctuates on a daily basis.  I can’t expect any less of you.