Thursday, 28 June 2018

Interview: Shields - Farewell Tour

North London metal band Shields have been on the music scene from 2011-2018, making their mark with powerful new-wave metal tracks, complete with compelling, intense and passionate lyrics. With an incredible record of achievements behind them, most recently performing at Teddy Rocks Festival, releasing their 2018 album 'Life In Exile' and supporting Escape The Fate on tour, they have quickly built a devoted fan base across the UK and Europe.

Despite their hard work paying off, Joe, Sam, Lawrence and Alex have collectively come to the decision for Shields to come to an end, heavily influenced by the tragic loss of their unbelievably-talented guitarist George. You can read their heartfelt statement by clicking here. However, the boys are determined to make sure they don't go out without a bang by joining Oceans Ate Alaska on their 2018 tour to say farewell to fans. After hearing this news, I caught up with Joe and Lawrence before the show at Rebellion Club in Manchester to have a chat about life on the road, key highlights during their time as Shields, and what to look out for from the guys individually in the future. Find out how we got on below... 

SS: You're currently on tour supporting Oceans Ate Alaska, doubling up as your Farewell tour. What has it been like so far?

Joe: Incredible, it’s been absolutely amazing to see so many people come down and want to see us for the last time. That being said, although it is humbling, it is quite difficult for obvious reasons but all round it’s been good. We’ve seen a lot of really nice support on this tour. 

Lawrence: It’s been intense. It’s been up and down because we have been enjoying the shows but at the same time, the reason for us breaking up is closely linked to everything that comes with it. We’re also ready for whatever comes next though so we’re really looking forward to that as well. As we have such a supportive fan base, that side of it has been really nice getting to meet everyone who gives a shit about the band as all of those have been turning out. We really appreciate them. 

SS: Shields has been a band for quite some time, about 8 years or so. What are your favourite memories and moments to look back on of your time together?

Joe: You know what I really enjoyed? They weren’t like amazing shows or anything but we did this little mini tour about 3 years ago and we spent the whole tour going through Switzerland and Italy swimming in the sea and lakes. We’re going back to one of those venues on this tour in Switzerland. They’ve got a river right outside the venue and they fed us and drank us really well, they kept giving us beer all of the time and I also got whipped by a bald man... 

Lawrence: Yeah, there was this really drunk, presumably Swiss man. People we’re jumping in and out of the water so there were towels everywhere and I distinctly remember Joe going into the venue and Jamie, our guitarist at the time, came running outside and shouted “Joe is getting whipped by a man right now!” Of course everyone ran in and Joe was just stood there getting whipped by this towel by this bloke, it was really funny. It might not sound funny in this context but at the time it was great.

Joe: It really was a great time. The album release show was incredible as well, we got all of the crowd surfers so that was definitely a good sign. 

SS: Your most recent album release 'Life In Exile' is packed with some pretty hard-hitting lyrics. Were there any key experiences you faced which influenced the tracks?

Joe: Yeah there’s loads. I started off writing the lyrics for ‘It’s Killing Me’ based on a perception of how I was as a child. I was bullied by quite a lot of kids so there are a lot of big moments like that which we talk about on the album. As a whole, it ends on a really positive note that you should spend as much time as you can with the ones you love and take in all of that because you only have one life so why not spend it with them. That's basically what it's about. We talk about all of these things like hardship and it does suck but at the end of the day you only get one life, you have to make the most of it. 

SS: As previously mentioned, Shields is unfortunately coming to an end. What can we expect to see from each of you individually for the future, have you got anything planned?

Joe: Well I do my own solo stuff under the name of JW Edwards so I'm going to carry on doing that. I'm a composer by trade so I'm going to keep on with that. I'm working on some new stuff right now at the moment.

Lawrence: The rest of us are not quite sure. We're 99% sure that we will be doing music as we still love it but we definitely won't be doing anything Shields related. It's kind of an open-ended one for the rest of us and a nice opportunity to do something different as well. We've been doing the same sort of music for quite a while now so it's a little bit freeing that we can draw a line under that and do something that fits where we are at right now. It's kind of a vague answer but we're not quite sure. 

It’s not too late to catch Shields for the last time whilst playing alongside Oceans Ate Alaska, click here for tickets. Still not sure? You can read my full show review from their Manchester tour date here.

You can follow Shields over on Instagram and Twitter, as well as individually:

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