| Artist Of The Week - Shock of Pleasure
| Monday, September 22, 2008
Shock of Pleasure has to be one of the most aptly named groups in all of music. When their CD, it’s about time, was first passed my way, highly recommended by a trusted source, I had no idea what I was in store for. Within minutes my mind was, quite literally, completely at ease. I had been transported into the group’s downtempo / electro-lounge world and was, for the first time in a long time, relaxed. Lead singer Kelley Christian’s voice is both incredibly soothing and sensual and band members Robert Romano, Brent Irish and Josh Curry are phenomenal at creating a mood. I was hooked and wanted to know more about this group from Dallas, TX, so this week I caught up with Kelley (only woman in pic) and Robert (pictured far left) to find out all I could about Shock of Pleasure and their electro-lounge world.
Adam Bernard: Let's start with an oddball question; in what ways do you feel you’re a Shock of Pleasure?
Kelley Christian: Ha! Well, let’s just say that every time you get a glimpse of our music you’ll feel a tiny shock of pleasure… or maybe not so tiny, we hope!
Robert Romano: In addition that that, I have a belief that it is the responsibility of the artist to make something beautiful with his craft and entertain their audience and we want folks to be able to relax when they hear Shock of Pleasure. Music transcends words and sometimes there is that magic moment in a song.
Adam Bernard: From what I’ve read shock of pleasure formed gradually, with the lineup finally being complete when Kelley arrived in 2005. With the band coming together in different stages how did that affect the growth of your sound?
Robert Romano: Brent and I have been together for over ten years. I have been writing songs for twenty. Josh is our dream bass player. We have been extremely fortunate to work with such great talent, and David Castell (Shock of Pleasure’s producer) has as much to do with our sound as any of us in the band. He is the real genius here. We had another girl sing with us briefly before Kelley joined and knew we were on to something as early as 2002, but it truly became a Shock of Pleasure once Kelley was on the mic.
Kelley Christian: When I joined it was around the time that I was graduating from college with a music degree and trying to figure out what to do with my life, which, as I’m sure you know, is a lot harder to figure out than one might think! I’d been trained and mostly interested in Jazz music, which I still love. There’s something about the math and the theory combined with the emotion and beauty really appeals to me. I hadn’t really been exposed to the kinds of music that the rest of the group was doing, so I suppose, as in any artistic endeavor, we all brought something different to the table.
Adam Bernard: Your sound is something you describe as electro-lounge music. What is electro-lounge music, what kind of effect does it have on a listener, and where can I find an electro-lounge?
Robert Romano: I think of it as extremely slow-motion techno, for the most part. I would consider Vince Clark (Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Erasure) the father of electro-pop, but it was Thievery Corporation that really made it clear to me how music could cross all the lines of style and still sound new and interesting, hence, lounge or ultra-chill was born. I was completely burned out, and frankly disenchanted, by the 1990's volume and distortion era.
Kelley Christian: I try to describe our sound by saying that it’s thoughtful electric music. It’s not mmps mmps beats and no melody. It’s more organic than that. People tell me that they find it really soothing. It’s music to live your life to. And I’ve been looking for electro-lounges, too! Let me know if you find one, I’ll meet you there for a drink.
Adam Bernard: Your album, it's about time, has two cover songs on it. Talk to me about why you chose those songs to cover and in what ways you put your own unique spin on them.
Robert Romano: I heard "Spooky" in the studio one day, my pre-production engineer is an old school rock n roll guy and is constantly bombarding me with oldies, usually to my chagrin, and I instantly felt the vocal melody was perfect for Kelley and we could make it adequately chill. “Superstar” was my favorite song as a child. I didn't even realize I copied the line "it's just radio" until after we had recorded our first single, "This is a Test."
Kelley Christian: I used to love oldies as a kid. Still do, actually. And I love the fact that we were able to make these songs our own, without changing their basic, underlying message and melody.
Robert Romano: The trick to doing a respectable cover is to keep the vocal melody exactly as is and then change everything else!
Adam Bernard: Which emotion, or emotions, do you hope to elicit with your work?
Robert Romano: Ultimately I would say relaxation without being elevator music. Folks in the 25-45 age group still want to be cool, but don't need guitars blaring and cymbal crashes on every beat of every song, ala the 90's. Folks who loved music in the 80's did so because that music was all about good melody. I think if you can write a solid song on the guitar it doesn't matter what happens to it after that, people will respond. I love electro-lounge music because it feels like life in a modern/global context, everything glides electronically without resistance.
Kelley Christian: I just want people to be passionate about music. The world would be a much better place if people would allow themselves to feel! Hopefully our music does that.
Adam Bernard: Switching gears a bit, let’s get personal. Who is the biggest troublemaker in the group and what kind of trouble have they gotten themselves, or the group as a whole, into?
Robert Romano: Well I’m probably the only freak in the band these days. Josh works for Microsoft, Kelley takes great care of herself, for modeling of course, and Brent is about have his first child. Boring! However, Kelley was fairly well hammered at SXSW this year and danced down Sixth Street like it was the catwalk. Great PR for Shock of Pleasure!
Kelley Christian: Trouble?? I know nothing…
Adam Bernard: Finally, how would the world be different if everyone listened to Shock of Pleasure?
Kelley Christian: I’d be in a much bigger house. Ha. Kidding. I suppose there would be a lot less road rage.
Robert Romano: We would all be much more intelligent and relaxed for sure… I'm talking world peace!
Labels: Artists Of The Week
|posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:33 AM