Interview: Brett Hellings From The Soul Shakers

Hi Brett, thanks for taking the time to chat to me. As I’m sat in the UK, I guess the opening question has to be; with the release of the debut single, how does it feel haveing The Soul Shakers create a buzz on both sides of the Atlantic? “We really can’t be more excited! Some of our favorite bands and music of all time comes from that side of the pond, so it’s an honor that our name is even getting mentioned over there. Thanks guys!” For the uninitiated,  can you fill us in with what’s happened as a band up till this point, what’s the back story of The Soul Shakers? “Elias and I met in LA on the Hollywood rocknroll scene. We’d known each other for around 10 years but started working together about 3 years ago. We’d both been in bands in and around town, but when we eventually linked up it was everything we’d both been looking for in a bandmate and a writing partner. Since then we’ve written and finished our debut record, found some killer musicians to link up with and are ready to start touring to promote the album in 2017.” What prompted the move to Nashville? “We were looking for a change from the scene, and to get a bit closer to where we grew up, to our families, and also to the blues & old school country sounds of Nashville. The Strip ain’t all that it used to be, and Nashville just felt new, fresh, and booming. Music City also provides us with some amazing studios, players and people that have been very inspiring to our sound.” So the broader range of styles of music has had an effect on the band? “It definitely has. But don’t get me wrong—our songs and style are still very much a product the West Coast. But moving down South has just given us the ability to get even more experimental with the old school sounds we were so inspired by to begin with. Nashville—and particularly, the players on the album—they definitely effect the sound of the existing songs. We’re confident with how they turned out.” Have you found it easier to be in a band in Nashville rather  than L.A? What are the main differences? “Well, the players are no joke down here. They’re just some of the best in world, so finding people that could easily join us and just play the songs how they should be played was a piece of cake. Guys like Bill Van Vleet, Thomas Banks and Schylar Shoates are born players and perfect for the blues/southern rock sound we were going for. Elias and I had a harder time finding that in LA. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of good players out there, but nothing comes close to Music City. LA was more of a place for us to write and live life and get inspired. But moving here and truly finding some of the best of the best was a move I won’t ever regret.” You had to change the name of band due to legal reasons. How’s the reaction been to the new name? “They actually really dig it! I personally had a hard time believing the positive reaction at first, mostly because I was so attached to our last name. But once we released our video for “Here To Have A Good Time,” the buzz started growing and people couldn’t stop saying how much they dug the name. I’m really thankful for that. You never know until you put it out there, but people are saying it fits our sound great and piques their interest in the music. I guess that’s all you could really ask for from a name.” What’s the thought behind the name? “When we realized the change was necessary, we were having a hard time coming up with something new. It’s hard to let go of what you were, but our management came up with Soul Shakers and out of the hundred or so names we tried to come up with, that was the first one everyone thought was cool. And we can stand behind that! Later on I found out that our management was listening to that Nazareth song “Hair of the Dog” and the first line goes “Heartbreaker, Soul Shaker”. Come on, who doesn’t love that riff? And that was it!” You’re both playing in other bands and projects, what makes The Soul Shakers ‘the one’? What clicks now that might not have in other bands you’ve played in? “It’s the connection that Elias and I have. We hear and think alike, and that communicates heavily when we write. It’s a very Mick/Keith or Plant/Page or Tyler/Perry thing. We’re not quite at that level yet, but it’s pretty similar to what they had when they got into a room. You just kind of know what the other one is going to do before it happens. Telepathic writing, ha. We also fell in love with the same music so deeply that it’s hard not to work together smoothly. No one’s spent more time with the Beatles, Stones, AC/DC, Aerosmith, the Doors, Zeppelin, etc. more then I have–except maybe Elias. That goes a long way in the relationship on stage, in the studio and during the writing process.” The first single, ‘Here To Have A Good Time’, sounds like a mission statement. Does it sum up The Soul Shakers? What’s the bands Ethos? “Hell yes! We are definitely here to have a good time. That’s what a lot of good rocknroll is all about. But we’re hoping the record as a whole strikes a deeper chord than that. Our songs deal with broken hearts and tough emotions as well. We try to cover the spectrum—and I think we have with ‘Revolution Ride’–but coming out with a song like “Good Time” just felt right to get everyone’s attention and to let them know we are here to keep fun, hip-shaking, crowd-chanting rock alive.” The album is recorded and ready to go. How hard is it to sit on the album waiting for its release. It must be pretty tense? “It kills me every day, but we want the release to be right, both the team and the timing. Be sure and look for a 2017 release and if you liked what you heard in ‘Good Time’ I think you’ll be into the rest of it. But, to answer your question, I’m dying for people to hear this thing. We put all we’ve got into this first record and it was years in the making. It’s time for it to be heard for sure.” The single is pretty infectious. Will the album lead to an epidemic? What can we expect from it? “I certainly hope it does! We absolutely love what we do and we try to be as authentic as possible when it comes to what we create. I think people need rocknroll bands like us out there again and if we are lucky enough for it to take off I would have the best ride ever. I hope the album starts the motors running for great rocknroll to thrive again. That’s what the real epidemic needs to be: hearing more guitars on the radio and more original frontmen and very real rocknroll. We are missing that, so we if can help in any way for that to happen then our dreams have come true and jobs have been done.” The Soul Shakers ooze confidence, and after hearing the single, I’d say rightly so. Can you answer what I consider to be one of thee hardest questions I could ask a band in todays music industry. Where do you see yourselves in ten years time? “Creating more, recording more, still hitting the road, and still putting out good albums and good songs. Alive as a band!” Can’t ask for more than that. Do you have a final message for our readers? “Thank you for listening! And we are so grateful to whoever gives us the time of day to listen. Keep up on our Facebook and Be looking out for the record and gigs in Nashville and LA coming up in January, and check out our music video for “Here to Have A Good Time.” And to everyone reading this across the pond—we look forward to seeing you soon on tour. Thank you for all the love and the great questions.” Excellent sign off! Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us, Brett. Interview: Jamie Sweetlove]]>

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