The four Holbrook sisters from Colorado who perform under the name of Shel have just released their second album, ‘Just Crazy Enough’. The multi-instrumentalist siblings have been performing as SHEL since 2005 and have developed a sound of their own which is perfectly displayed on ‘ Rooftop’, one of a pair of songs from the album that has been graced with a video clip. ‘Rooftop’ is one of those songs that immediately grabs the listener's attention; it’s quirky, catchy, irresistible and addictive. Coupling the song with equally compelling visuals confirms that SHEL are offering more than the usual run of the mill all girl bands. The fact that the band all contribute to the production of their videos shows that there is a lot more to the band than just creating music.

The band covered Led Zeppelin’s ‘The Battle pf Evermore’ on their eponymous debut album; on ‘Just Crazy Enough’ it’s the turn of Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’ to receive the SHEL treatment. SHEL turn the song around; the almost whispered vocals send a chill down the spine and the video that accompanies the song is hauntingly beautiful; another indication that the girls are not just covering select songs for the shock factor but are pouring their souls into all aspects of the project.

If one thing shines through on ‘Just Crazy Enough’, even more than the siblings' obvious musical skills on a number of instruments, is their ability to pull elements from various genres to create a truly unique sound of their own and this quirkiness that ensures their songs always sound fresh. It’s the sense of fun and unity that informs their work which is sadly lacking in other bands. SHEL may well consist of four very separate identities but when their voices, musical and visual skills are combined that all too rare magic happens.

With Sarah on violin and guitar, Hannah playing the keyboards, Eva on mandolin and guitar and Liza adding her distinctive beatboxing and percussion skills which shape so much of the band's sound, SHEL are currently touring America. Lead vocalist Eva still, however, found time to answer a few questions we put to the band recently.


PB: Do you come from a musical family? If so, were you gently steered in making music a career?

EH: Our folks encouraged us to pursue a career in whatever brought us the most joy, it happened to be music because we grew up watching our dad perform, who is a singer-songwriter.

PB: At what point did you decide to form a band. What brought you to that decision?

EH: I think I was around ten when we came up with an acronym using the first letters of our names and decided to start a band.

PB: Being so close in age, working as a band and given the problems siblings in bands usually experience, yet you are still making music together, do you feel it’s more difficult being in a band with siblings?

EH: It's hard to say. I think for the most part it's actually easier. It helps that we're all best friends. Of course we have our moments, just like any group of individuals, but we have a record of conflict resolution that goes back to toddlerhood.

PB: There’s more to SHEL than music though isn’t there? Apart from what you individually bring as musicians you also each bring another talent to the band. Can you expand on that please?

EH: Yes, we're essentially a small business. Liza does the graphic and web design, Hannah handles the finances and we make our own videos. In general, I do most of the conceptualizing and prop making for the videos with Sarah handling all of the filming and editing. We make some of our own merch items, like the top hats, and we all stay in touch on social media. Hannah and Sarah are in a Twitter follower race at the moment! We all wear other hats as well, but these are the primary responsibilities.

PB: The Eurythmics' Dave Stewart played a part in the production of ‘Just Crazy Enough’ along with Brent Maher and the band, how did the connection with Dave Stewart come about?

EH: Very randomly. It began with top hats and ended with us all wanting to collaborate.

PB: You’ve had songs featured on TV shows and commercials. Have you deliberately written with that market in mind or were they just picked up by some sharp-eared music researcher?

EH: Like most success stories, it’s been a bit of both. Sometimes the music supervisors sent us a brief, but mostly a little luck that our song happened to fit the film or TV show.

PB: With four very different personalities in the band are there many disagreements when it comes to deciding which songs make it onto an album? If so, who always wins!

EH: You know, often time ends up being an incredible test of a song's true strength and appeal, but I think there's also a fair amount of fate involved in making a record. Usually the songs that belong make themselves known to everyone.

PB: Do you feel that working with Dave Stewart has influenced your sound in any way?

EH: Definitely. The programming that he and his engineer Ned Douglas did really inspired us to explore other possibilities for our music, which is an exciting experience for any artist.

PB: Were there any nerves co-producing with such respected and talented people like Dave and Brent?

EH: They're both such genuine and humble people. Whatever nerves there were initially disappeared after our first conversation.

PB: The songs on ‘Just Crazy Enough’ are credited as being written and arranged by SHEL, but is there one member who always takes, for example, the lyrics? Or is there a piece of each of you in the construction of the song apart from what you play in the studio?

EH: Here as well everyone takes the lead in a specific area. Hannah generally arranges the harmonies, Sarah writes a lot of the prominent melodic instrumental lines, Liza handles the rhythm, and generally I start the process by bringing a song to the group. It's a very open collaboration.

PB: How complete were the songs on ‘Just Crazy Enough’ before you went into the studio to record them? Were they fully realized in your collective heads?

EH: It was a mix of both. Some songs were finished at the last minute in the studio right before the deadline for the record. Others had a few years of live rotation and reinvention.

PB: Your choice of covers is brave yet very successful. Even the most dedicated Metallica fans have praised your version of ‘Enter Sandman’. What inspired you to cover that particular song?

EH: Actually, our Dad suggested it after hearing it for the first time on a metal station in the middle of Nebraska, probably because he knows we're fans of 'Peter Pan'. Ultimately it was the poetry of the lyrics that intrigued us.

PB: Apart from the quirkiness that underlines your music, one gets the feeling that, even though the band is taking the music seriously, you are all having so much fun creating this thing called SHE. It’s infectious. Are things as zany in SHEL World as they appear?

EH: Yes, that's probably our favourite part, creating our own little world and inviting people into it. We've been imagining other worlds since we were little. It's crazy sometimes to think that that's our job now as adults.

PB: You are currently touring the States. do you have any plans to tour Europe in the near future?

EH: Absolutely. We're hoping a tour pops up on our calendar again very soon. We miss the exotic splendour, history and especially the people in the UK and Europe.

PB: Thank you.












Related Links:

http://www.shelmusic.com/
https://plus.google.com/+iLoveSHELmusic
https://twitter.com/iloveshelmusic
https://www.facebook.com/iloveshelmusic/
https://www.instagram.com/iloveshelmusic/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_68Zt6AgWJPFYRmnDshYPQ


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