Up and coming Belguim indie-rockers the Shun Club have just put out their debut album! Tomatrax caught up with Johan Verckist (vocalist) and Dries Debie (bass) from the band to talk about their music.
How did the band form?
Johan: When my former band split up, I found myself alone sitting on a pile of songs that was getting bigger almost every day. All musicians I knew where busy, so I wrote an ad.
Dries: I responded and after several coffees and a discussion about his Jason Priestley-poster (which I found shocking) we were a band. I only met the other members at our first rehearsal, but we got on right away.
Where did the name Shun Club come from?
Dries: We were brainstorming about a band name, but then our first gig came up and we needed a name. It has a nice ring to it.
Johan: I like the opposition between the words ‘shun’ and ‘club’. Like a little society of the renounced. Or people who get together to shun others! And also we really needed a name!
You’ve just released your debut album, what’s it like to have it out?
Dries: It feels like closure after all this time working on the album. And the idea that people I don’t even know can buy it and enjoy it (hopefully), is pretty cool. And also having it released on vinyl was a first for me.
Johan: I enjoy the feeling of having the songs out of my way. That sounds a little negative but I really like to create new songs and what’s the meaning of writing them if they never get finished?
Was it hard to pick what went on the album?
Dries: We had to make some choices, getting advice from friends on what tracks needed to be on the album and switching some things around, some last-minute calls… but in the end I feel that the album works as a whole.
What made you pick Avalanche as the title track?
Johan: The song counted for me as some kind of mission statement. I wrote it on my own determined to find a band to play it with. Dries: The intro to that song is like an omen of things to come, a perfect opener. It was an easy choice
What was the inspiration behind the video for Wear me out?
Dries: Johan came up with the idea, together with the director, Tim Lebacq. In the end it was just us having some fun
You’ve also released your album as vinyl, do you think vinyl will continue to play an important role in music?
Dries: I believe so, it will never be as big as it once was, but it has its place in the current music sector.
Johan: The new vinyl revival doesn’t mean much to me. As much as I love an LP, it just doesn’t relate to the way I listen to music anymore. I enjoy listening to my old Satchmo records but I feel that most modern music isn’t meant to be played on vinyl. I’m just waiting on a staggering CD revival! Everybody seems to hate these things. But for me they symbolize all the great bands I got to know when I was younger.
Given you’re in Belgium, why do you sing in English?
Dries: Singing in Dutch and sounding credential is very difficult. It gets corny pretty fast. There are lots of Belgium bands who sing in English and most of the music on the radio is too.
Johan: I always write in English. It seemed pretty obvious to me. I once tried to write a song in Dutch but that didn’t work out. Lyrics tend to get too important then and for me the sound and meaning of words must fit in the sound of a song. When you sing in Dutch, people will pay more attention on what you are really singing. I guess I would get lost with, trying to find the right tone and not keeping it simple and straightforward. Maybe singing in English is some kind of defense-mechanism. Not trying to raise attention to the lyrics.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Dries: I do. I play it in my shop and is on my playlist, so it pops up from time to time.
Johan: When songs are not jet finished I listen to them all the time. But when released, it happens rarely.
What other music do you listen to?
Dries: at the moment I’m rediscovering my old hip-hop albums at the moment. Such as A Tribe Called Quest.
Johan: Depends on my mood, really. I checked: this week I played mostly Tweedy, Earl Sweatshirt, Of Montreal, Run The Jewels, Future Old People Are Wizards, Colin Stetson, The Roots, Fat White Family, Air, Generationals, Melvins, Todd Terje, Viet Cong, Jonathan Richman, Spoon and Angel Olsen.
Now that the album is out what do you plan on doing next?
Dries: playing shows, getting the album to the people. And writing and recording new stuff as well.
Johan: Just in case our perfume and clothing lines wouldn’t work out
Check out the Shun Club’s website to find out more!