April 22, 2024

INTERVIEW: SHVPES @ Slam Dunk North 2019

SHVPES on stage at Slam Dunk North. Photograph by Amy Harrison.

British band SHVPES played Slam Dunk for the third time this year, and we got to talk to Griffin (vocals) and Grant (bass) about music, festivals, and Budgy Smugglers before their set in Leeds. Brace yourselves for a swearing and sarcasm filled interview.

VO: Welcome back to Slam Dunk!
Griffin: Thanks, this is our third time here!

VO: And you’ve played pretty much every other festival in the UK right?
Grant: Feels like it.
Griffin: Except Bloodstock, but we’re doing that this summer.

VO: Are you excited?
Griffin: I don’t know, I don’t think so. Maybe, a bit. It’s gonna be weird as fuck and we’re definitely gonna be the first people to have rapped in Bloodstock.
Grant: Yeah, I reckon they’ll enjoy it but you never know. It’s a very Slayer festival.

VO: Yeah. Are all your festival crowds similar or do you notice any differences from place to place?
Grant: Festivals are a really good time to play to people who wouldn’t necessarily listen to your music so it’s a very good opportunity to play one. Anyone walking past can just look in and if they dig it, they dig it, if they don’t they can carry on walking without worrying about it.

VO: You just finished a US tour, how was it?
Griffin: The most fun you can have with your pants on.

VO: Apparently you’ve been losing a lot of things…
Griffin: I’ve lost everything, and then the airline lost 11 of our bags which then suddenly multiplied into 16 bags.
Grant: I got my suitcase back yesterday so I went 4 or 5 days without any clothes.
Griffin: Yeah I had to go to my dad’s and borrow his Budgy Smugglers. But I’m not wearing them now, don’t worry!
Grant: Only 3 things in my suitcase were washed and the rest of it was dirty so I opened it up and was like “Oh, great. Can’t wear any of it anyway,” so I got nothing underneath this right now.

VO: Moving on to music, your album Greater Than has been out for half a year now. Are people loving it?
Griffin: I think so. People don’t really tell us we’re shit on a regular basis so either they don’t care or it’s an alright album.

VO: Have you been writing more music?
Grant: We’ve started some demos, have a few ideas.
Griffin: Just bits and bobs but we’ve been on tour for so long, it’s kind of difficult to be in the mood. When the sun is shining I’m not getting out a guitar and playing to a laptop, I want to be in the sunshine.

VO: So when do you write?
Griffin: When I come back to London and it’s miserable.

VO: It’s not always miserable!
Grant: Well…
Griffin: Most of the time it is. Monday to Friday.
Grant: It was okay the other day!
Griffin: Got my Budgy Smugglers out.

VO: Do you normally write music together?
Griffin: We used to, but now it’s done individually and then people bring bits and bobs and we’ll work on everything together. But usually it starts out individually.

VO: Do you always agree with each other?
Grant: No!
Griffin: No because the thing is, it’s quite hard to articulate where you want things to go. I think most of the time if something’s cool we can all agree that it is, it’s only when someone comes up with some outlandish idea that people start to flip out.

VO: Well you don’t really have a set genre so technically you could go any direction you wanted to, right?
Grant: Yeah, we could do anything.
Griffin: You say that, but there’s a couple of us that are really like, “Fuck it. We don’t have a genre, we’ll just have a saxophone section in this song,” and then there’s some people that believe we still need to sound like a band.

VO: Which people are you, saxophone or band?
Grant: Probably more band I guess. But then it’s good to put something mad in there.
Griffin: I like the crazy shit.

VO: Do you know which direction you’re currently trying to go?
Grant: We don’t know yet, we’ll find out at the end of it.
Griffin: I just know more what I want people to feel when they listen to it rather than what I want it to sound like. For me, this whole next record needs to be something you could listen to if you feel completely alone in a crowded room and just feel like the coolest motherfucker in the room. Or everyone could hate you and you can still walk down the street with your head held high and just feel good about yourself, that’s what I want it to be. It needs to create that confidence for people.

VO: And that way you create a connection with your fans as well. Who are you excited to see at Slam Dunk today?
Griffin: Yeah totally! And uh, this band called SHVPES…
Grant: They’re the best!
Griffin: I heard they’re alright. 5 guys from England.
Grant: Handsome guys. I also want to see grandson, our new best mates.
Griffin: Yes. And I want to check out Employed to Serve who play like a minute after we do. I’m gonna be going out with Bullet [For My Valentine] later so I’ll probably be witnessing that from the stage too.

VO: Does it feel different playing 2 Slam Dunk dates this year rather than the usual 3?
Griffin: A gig’s a gig!
Grant: It’s still good, I reckon it’ll just be bigger crowds.
Griffin: It’s not like Slam Dunk is any different to any other festival, really. In terms of playing a show, we’ll have fans on the barrier and other people at the back.

VO: Any songs fans vibe with the most?
Griffin: People seem to really love Counterfeit, just because there’s some gross lyrics in it.

VO: And any songs you definitely won’t play again?
Griffin: Our entire first album.

VO: I was actually going to ask, is Greater Than called that because it is better than the previous album or do you just turn the V in SHVPES sideways to make the “>” sign?
Grant: Both actually.

VO: Do you think when your third album comes out you’ll like this one less as it happened with your first, or will you always love Greater Than?
Griffin: I don’t think I can hate this one. There’s a lot I want to change but it’s still a good album.

VO: Any last words for Vanguard readers? It can be anything you want.
Griffin: Big up Vanguard Online!
Grant: Vanguard, yo!
Griffin: Check us out on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, all that good stuff and we’ll see you at a show. Come party.

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