After facing down the ‘craziness and uncertainty’ of 2020, SHAED issues a rallying cry against the year’s madness with ‘No Other Way.’ The band shares with HL how they captured a ‘mood’ on of this new song and more.
If there’s any lesson that SHAED has learned from this year, it’s to enjoy the moment while you can because you never know how soon it can be over. “We’re always struggling with how brief life is,” the band says to . The D.C. group – Chelsea Lee and twins Max and Spencer Ernst – say that the COVID-19 pandemic has “definitely added to this fear of dying, fear of missing out, fear of letting life pass us by.”
Out of this “confusion and anxiety” came inspiration. “No Other Way” — the band’s first new music since exploding on the scene with 2019’s Melt and their massively-successful “Trampoline” – captures this desire to “live my life,” to defy the chaos and madness of the past eleven months. It’s an electropop bop that aims to lift your spirits and reinvigorate your resilience. “We wrote ‘No Other Way’ to remind ourselves to live in the moment – during 2020 and for the rest of our days,” the band says to .
Over the EXCLUSIVE interview, conducted via email, SHAED explains what fans can expect when they release their debut LP in 2021, how they handled the pressure to write another “Trampoline,” and their silver lining from spending the last eleven months in quarantine.
: While “Trampoline” had this airy, weightless feel to it, “No Other Way” feels very grounded with that bassline. Were you looking to show ‘the other side of the coin’ with this new song?
SHAED: When we sit down at the piano or pick up an acoustic guitar to write, we don’t set out to show a different side of SHAED. We try to let the melodies and lyrics of the song guide the mood we are trying to capture in the production. “No Other Way” was written about finding the strength to live in the moment despite all of the craziness and uncertainty that has underlined 2020, so the solid 4 on the floor drum groove and enveloping bass synth felt right for the production.
“No Other Way” has been described as an “anthem for the 21st century,” one that celebrates living in the moment since the future isn’t guaranteed. With all that’s going on in 2020, one could assume that this is a reaction to the past 10 months but is that so?
We’re always struggling with how brief life is. The pandemic has definitely added to this fear of dying, fear of missing out, fear of letting life pass us by. During this pandemic, we’ve been having a tough time mentally and emotionally, as everyone has. We tried to channel our confusion and anxiety into a song about focusing on what you can control. We wrote “No Other Way” to remind ourselves to live in the moment – during 2020 and for the rest of our days.
Your debut LP is set for 2021. The cliché is ‘oh, they must be feeling so much pressure after their song blew up.’ Have do feel like you’re facing that kind of expectation, to write an entire album full of “Trampolines,” or is it the opposite? A ‘we’ve got the major hit, now we can have fun by showing all our sounds.’
There was a bit of pressure to follow up “Trampoline” – mostly sparked by us. We wanted to write songs that were true to us but also resonated with people -that’s always been so important to us. Before the pandemic, we had an album worth of songs, pieced together from all the writing sessions we could fit in between touring. With the success of Trampoline came opportunities to work with top-level writers and producers, but the songs we created didn’t feel like us. So we scrapped all those songs and started fresh. Every song on this album was written and recorded during the pandemic, and they encapsulate the rollercoaster of emotions we’ve felt. Fingers crossed we have another hit.
As we wrap up 2020, there will be many that (rightfully) say this has been the worst year in recent history. But, no year is completely bad. Is there something of 2020 – an album you listened to, a movie you watched, a meal you learned how to cook – that’ll be in the ‘Positive’ column when looking back at the year?
2020 has been such a tough year, but the silver lining for us was that we were able to take a much-needed break from touring. In all of 2019, we were home for less than 2 weeks. Since being home, we’ve finished an album, moved into our new homes – Spencer and I moved to Northern Virginia, and Max moved to Northeast DC (still very close) – Max learned how to make enchiladas, Spencer finished the whole “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series, and I learned that nothing is better than having short hair… so there definitely have been a few positives out of an overall crappy year.
“No Other Way” is out now.