Five Questions With… Shade
The latest in an illustrious line of rock bands from Hamilton, they're readying the release of a debut album. Here, the two principals discuss the trial and error of making the record, their preference for black garb, and the dreary state of most rock music.
By Jason Schneider
Hailing from Hamilton, Ontario, Shade is a band that takes the most vital parts of the music they grew up on—Brit rock, neo-psychedelia, and grunge—and combines them into a sound that’s been described as a Frankenstein’s monster of wild riffs and evil energy. So far, they’re offering a taste with “Controller,” the band’s debut single for Sleepless Records, to be followed by a full-length album later this year.
Fronting Shade are Stephane Senecal-Tremblay (lead vocals/acoustic guitar) and Sam Rashid (lead guitar), who have collaborated since their late teens. The rest of the line-up is rounded out by Zakk Cozens (guitar), Mackenzie Sawyer (bass), and Zander Lamothe (drums).
For the upcoming album, Shade teamed with producer Leon Taheny (Arcade Fire, Death From Above, Metz), with additional production from Josh Korody (Dilly Dally, Weaves, Greys). It promises to be an album that encapsulates the duality of the band’s moniker—dark, mysterious, and bubbling with sinister undertones, but also offering a sense of tranquility, as only dense psychedelia can achieve.
Senecal-Tremblay and Rashid spoke more about it to us, and you can get more info at shade.band.
What was the process like for you making this debut album?
Rashid: It was pretty intense. I could compare it to the Black Mirror episode where the guy from Peaky Blinders is inside the dating app. Lots of trial and error, trying to figure things out and make things fit. But in the end, the result is something beautiful.
What songs on the new album are you particularly proud of?
Senecal-Tremblay: We feel that front to back it's a wicked album. But “Drive Me Wild” has a special place in my heart. It's an older song that's gone through a few changes, so it's exciting to finally have it see the light of day in its final form.
How would you describe your artistic evolution so far?
Rashid: It's been a steady growth. When we were first starting out, our songs had three chords with obvious structures. But over the years, we’ve drawn inspiration from how our lives have changed. Things have apparently become more complex and serious, and, as artists, that's been reflected. We've opened up the door and started constructing more complex ideas, and we use more than three chords now. The lyrics are better and more mature. And we are open to more ideas than before as well. But getting down to the nitty-gritty, we used to wear colours and now we mainly only wear black.
As a band from Hamilton, do you feel you're carrying on some of the city's rock and roll tradition?
Senecal-Tremblay: I think every city has some music history, and this is true for Hamilton. We don't draw much off past Hamilton bands, but we are proud to call it home.
If you could fix anything about the music industry, what would it be?
Rashid: I'd probably start off by making music less boring. Seems like outside of rap and hip-hop, everything's become pretty timid. Few bands seem to be making much of a statement with their music these days. Poor streaming royalties too. Let's fix that.