Liverpool based Singer-Song writer Shane Beales has just released his 4th EP Heavy Clouds describing it as "honest melodic music". He released the EP for free, and recently played a set for BBC Radio Merseyside. In 2006 he began Project52 which saw him write, record and release a song a week for a year and Muzikreviews.com described him as ‘Quite the up and coming artist’. In this interview I asked him about how he went about writing the EP and what spared him on.
So in the beginning, what made you want to write songs?
I grew up in a musical family and everyone was writing their own songs so as youngest child, it just seemed the thing you did when you were old enough!
Who influenced you as you began writing?
I used to live in Melbourne and there is a folk pop band called “My friend the chocolate cake” and their lead singer David Bridie was a huge influence when I first started. Simple piano songs – beautiful! Also Radiohead, Ben Folds and Dave Matthews band plus of course, Jeff Buckley.
What do you say your muse is, what inspires you when you write?
I am inspired singing about hope, change and being confrontational! (hope I don’t sound too much like a politician.)
What’s you’re instrument of choice parts of ‘Heavy Clouds’ seem piano led, while other tracks are definitely guitar led?
Both I guess – quiet and loud! Most of my songs lend themselves to either one or the other, though I used to happily play piano for hours on end without getting blisters, which is more than I can say for the guitar.
When you come to write a song do you find you always approach it in a similar way? Do you have a formula?
My only formula is to trust my instincts, I tend to write quite quickly and later rue all of my mistakes!
Do you find your approach to writing a song like ‘Across the Sea’ differs from writing a song like Crunch?
Yes - the lyrics for across the seas were very much tied in with the music from the beginning – whereas I had the idea for The Crunch initially just instrumentally and had to find some lyrics just in the nick of time before it was time to record the vocals.
You released ‘Heavy Clouds’ as a free download, why did you do this? Do you think artists should have to give away there music for free?
I released it as free download for promotional purposes to reach new listeners and also to question what monetary value music deserves. Why is 79p a track is the right price for a download or £10 for a CD?
Do you think it’s a necessity with how today’s music industry works? I don’t believe it’s absolutely necessary to give music away for free, it should be a decision made on the merits of each project. I would hope people don’t feel that they are forced to give music away.
Your new album ‘Heavy Clouds’ is available now, what can listeners expect from the EP?
Heavy, sometimes musically, sometimes lyrically, confrontational and ultimately uplifting. With a variety of sounds and entry points…
How would you describe your music, genre wise? Your latest release, Heavy Clouds, seems quite rocky.
Alternative singer-songwriter I guess, It’s honest melodic music from the heart. Sometimes aggressive, sometimes gentle, always sincere.
What's coming up for you, any gigs or recording?
In August I’m moving to London, promoting Heavy Clouds EP and preparing for an album is next. Also playing with my wonderful band!