SHVPES are KitSound’s latest #MusicBringsUsTogether collaborators and we’re super excited to have a metal band join our roster.
SHVPES are fast becoming one of the most hotly talked-about young metal acts in the UK. Hailing from Birmingham, the five-piece have witnessed the rise and rise of the SHVPES name since the release of the debut EP, The Prosecutor.
Having already supported the likes of Finch and Fightstar, Bring Me The Horizon, Bullet For My Valentine, Young Guns, Memphis May Fire, 36 Crazyfists, Crossfaith and earlier this year went on tour with Trivium.
We had a chat with SHVPES’s front man Griffin Dickinson, who is the son of Iron Maiden’s lead vocalist, Bruce Dickinson, and asked him some questions we’ve been dying to know. Which song do you think Griffin wish he’d written? … here’s a clue: it’s not what you think!
- Do you play any instruments? If so, when and why did you start playing?
I do! I play guitar, bass, drums and now ‘play’ the vocal chords. Funnily enough my musical career started when all else had failed! The first instrument I played was a bass when I was about 8/9 years old. I had found myself in a studio with my family and there was a bass lying around. I picked it up and started whacking it in some bizarre fashion until one of the technicians taught me how to play the ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ riff. I got home and grabbed a guitar my dad had been given that was in a horrendous state (two strings, pickups fallen through etc.), but that didn’t matter as I only needed one string and 4 frets for that song, so I continued to teach myself on that. As the years went by, I realised I wasn’t a very good guitarist (self taught to play endless power chords) by which point, I’d joined a secondary school who offered drum lessons. I had about 4 weeks of drum lessons and decided that drums were the instrument for me, I kept on with that until I was about 14, before realising it wasn’t a very practical instrument because it was so painfully loud and annoying for everyone around me… Back to guitar it was! I played guitar until I again came to the same conclusion; I wasn’t very good. A few years past and I near enough stopped playing instruments all together, instead choosing to crew for bands. During this time I started having a slap on the bass every now and then (when one was left laying around) and started to fall in love with playing again. This is when it dawned on me that a bass was “just a guitar with less strings” (which I soon realised wasn’t the case), but it got me into playing bass. With playing bass, came song writing (as you can play rhythm & melody – it was like playing drums and guitar at the same time), then with song writing came the need for vocals. It only took me 21 years, but I started having a sing song in the car, then realised I had something there! Here I am today as a vocalist haha. It’s actually worked out very well for me, as I can communicate with every band member way more effectively and write songs with every instrument in mind.
- Were your musical tastes influenced by anyone?
No person in particular, no. However the Kerrang! channel was an essential part of my music taste. Limp Bizkit, Eminem, Linkin Park & Rage Against The Machine definitely shaped by musical style and that all came from Kerrang!
- Who are your favourite musicians?
There’s tonnes, but in no particular order, Jason Butler (Letlive), Zak De La Rocha (RATM), Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit), Mike Shinoda and Chester Bennington (Linkin Park), Eminem, Big L, 2Pac, Matt Heafy (Trivium), Slash (GnR) and many, many more!
- If you had to listen to just one song for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
Probably Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N’ Roses.
- What’s the best music festival you’ve performed at?
Hellfest in Clisson, France. It’s the biggest show we’ve ever played and I got to do a set with Everytime I Die too. That was then biggest show I had ever played. Two in a day!
- What’s the best music festival you’ve attended?
Boomtown. I’m not a fan of all that music really, but the effort they put into the festival site is incredible!
- What’s been your most embarrassing on stage mishap?
Going on stage at Brixton Academy and saying, “what’s up Birmingham?”
- Do you have any superstitious rituals before you perform live?
I’m not a superstitious guy at all, but we always put our hands in before a show, everyone chants “SHVPES” and one by one take turns to scream, “I’m sexy; independent”, whilst looking every member in the eyes and each time, we try to get sassier and louder. It works wonders for hyping you up.
- What advice would you give to beginners in the industry?
Write songs and pick the cream of the crop. Quality is always better than quantity. When you perform live, bring the music to life. Give people a reason to watch you live, instead of on an iPod.
- What songs do you listen to when you need motivation?
It depends on the track that I’m trying to write. I listen to all music and try to get inspiration from everywhere. Whether it’s Nick Cave, Elton John, Elvis, Seal, Slipknot, Jay Z or late night Jazz playlists. There’s incredible music being played throughout all these genres and dependent on the vibe of the track I’m trying to write, I’ll take inspiration from anywhere.
- When do you know that you are 100% happy to stop working on a song and release it?
That’s a great question; one that I’d love the answer to!
- What one song do you wish you wrote?
Probably that ‘Happy Birthday’ song. People will be singing that for millennia I reckon… even if no one knows who wrote it, it’s pretty cool.
- Which country would you love to tour in?
Anywhere in South East Asia!
- If you could go back in time to meet anyone from the past, who would it be and why?
I’d like to go for a drink with Oscar Wilde. I think you’d tell him a problem you have going on and he’d say some profound sh*t that would blow your mind…. there are a lot of dead folk I’d like to meet, but I don’t think they’d actually be as cool if you met them. Best to not meet your heroes!
- Where do you go to find inspiration?
I don’t actively seek it out; I try to listen to as much music as possible, even if I don’t really like it. I’ve been working my way through all the greats Bowie / Elton John / Seal / Zeppelin / Leonard Cohen etc. just trying to see what all the fuss is about and see if I can learn something from them.
- What is your song of shame? (or in other words, the song you secretly love but hate people knowing)
Iyaz – Replay. There’s no shame.