The Michigan-based singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist collective Shady Groves releases their smooth and melodically-rich single, "Smoulder," and an accompanying music video.
Delivering a slick electro-pop sound drenched in rich tones, driving arrangements, and crooning vocal melodies, Shady Groves continuously keeps their audience coming back for more. Compromised of Adam Fitzgerald, Dylan Caron, and Jeff Yateman, Shady Groves is currently gearing up to release their sophomore album, 'Dreamboat,' on April 1st, 2021.
Now releasing their second single, "Smoulder," from the forthcoming album, the single and accompanying music video offer an immensely unique and daydreamy groove. Created by Elaine Smith, Shady Groves' music video treats our eyes with the utmost nostalgic and psychedelic edits while floating with the song's melodic and harmonious tones.
Listening to the single, "Smoulder," we're met with pulsating synths and delicate pads, offering a tender and smooth-sailing sonic atmosphere. Once the beat drops into a down-tempo and relaxed rhythm, Adam Fitzgerald makes his way in and begins singing of wanting someone who tends to play mind games. Fitzgerald's vocals at the chorus deliver rich harmonies alongside Shady Groves' steady and chilling sonics/instrumentals, finishing the song with heart and passion.
Moving into the psychedelic music video for "Smoulder," Adam Fitzgerald stars solo in this video while roaming various fields and pastures. The entire video delivers crisp editing and effects created by none other than Elaine Smith. Capturing nature's gifts through shots of blue skies and green meadows, Adam Fitzgerald plays his guitar while roaming through nature alongside the song's dreamy tones.
Watch Shady Groves' music video for "Smoulder" on YouTube, and keep an eye on the collective as they prepare to release their sophomore album 'Dreamboat,' on April 1st.
Hello Shady Groves and welcome to BuzzMusic. We love the soothing and psychedelic tones of your latest single, "Smoulder." Would you say that most of your songs offer this psychedelic and wavy feel?
Adam Fitzgerald: First of all, thank you. Honestly, all of our songs are very different, we try to push ourselves into new sonic territory while also expanding on what makes us "us" and staying consistent. Our other brand new single "Like You" was once described to me as Beach Boys meets The Strokes, which feels pretty perfect, while "Smoulder" is a lot moodier. We love all sorts of music so I've always been into the idea of our albums sounding like mixtapes. Our heroes like the Velvet Underground or Grizzly Bear or blur / Gorillaz or Broken Social Scene always have such different songs & I love that. I think part of that sound on "Smoulder" comes from my guitar tone, which is something that has evolved over the years into a special kind of amorphous weirdness. We like to do different things because we like so many styles of music, we never want to do the same thing twice. Some of our songs are folk sounding, with mandolins or banjos or ukuleles or whatever, then we have songs like "Smoulder" or "Waves" that have that "wavy feel" (love that by the way, thank you) so we usually just say our music is "indie" when people ask because it's a nice umbrella term - we've been called "genre chameleons" before & I dig that. I'm even able to sample my guitar now or use my guitar pedals like an MPC/ sampler, which I do on this song & "Backflips" so there are some wholly unique sounds & blends happening in our songs, which goes along with us striving to push ourselves. When we record, we tend to layer shit endlessly, even "ghost layers" no one else would ever know are in the compositions, which I'm especially guilty of when I make my strange brand of guitar goop soup. As our friend/producer/engineer Jeff Yateman / Jemmi Hazeman said to me about mixing our music: "it's not just two fuckin' guitars, bass, drums, keys & vocals - there's a lot of shit in there, it takes time." (LOL) For this song, I wrote & recorded a demo for "Smoulder" with just a simple hip-hop beat & then I looped just that main bassline for the whole thing, so it had that kind of hip-hop / R&B rhythmic groove, but shoegazey & lo-fi with dream pop guitars half in reverse & half sampled, then later I was able to clean it all up & finalize the bass, plus our friend Shane Fleisher played actual drums on it. I'm very much into all types of music, from jazz or chillwave to dream pop and shoegaze & every era of R&B, so my songs end up coming out a little spacey, or perhaps our sound is naturally schizophrenic. Both Dylan & I are very eclectic in our tastes but also particular types of people, & I think that's why we bonded young in our random little hometown outside Flint, MI before we escaped it - we're two totally different dudes but we understand & respect each other. Part of that "feel" you mention I do think is us as a band, part of our "sound" I guess, which may be at its core has always hinged upon the harmonies Dylan & I sing together. Funny, in our very first write-up for "Plain Dream" they called it soothing - even though that is more of an indie-folk-pop song, so maybe we're doing something right consistency-wise, despite genre or style. Maybe we're off-kilter pop.
Dylan Caron: I actually pay $2,500 a week to have 7 theremin players nearby to play sinister sounds to me as I splash my toes around in the bathtub. It’s like medicine for my soul and the only way I am able to come up with song ideas.
Where did the lyrical inspiration for "Smoulder" come about? How did your group divide the songwriting?
Adam Fitzgerald: It's always been 50/50 - Shady Groves truly is Dylan & I. It started with just the two of us, when Dylan brought me the song "Plain Dream" I was blown away, so I helped him finish it, and from then on we've just been helping each other finish songs. Sometimes I'll write an entire song like "Smoulder" and Dylan will add his angelic vocals and then the harmonies will be what makes it for me, or our friend Colt adding the Moog synth. Or Dyl will write a song like "Like You" & I try to do whatever I can to help. Or we write songs from scratch together, like "Pocket Knives" - so, we actually write songs separately & together, collaborating in person or via email, sometimes over oceans like when I was living in Edinburgh. Sometimes Dylan & I trade verses, then sing the choruses together, or we just back each other up. Usually, we both play guitar & both sing on every song, plus whatever. As for the lyrics for "Smoulder" specifically, I think it taps into a similar mentality/pathos as the entire album - trying to make sense of the end of the world - how does romance or life, love, addictions, etc. function during these times? It's a love song for the apocalypse, about choosing the right things over the wrong shit even when everything's falling apart.
Dylan Caron: Although I didn’t write any lyrics for this particular song, I saw a hawk flying over the peak of O’ryans Crest at the time, which made me go into a deep deep state of meditation. I then got the most organic smoothie Tropi-Kale Smoothies has to offer and used my telepathy to send brain activity to Adam.
Seeing as your group offers deftly-produced sonics, what was the creative process like for "Smoulder" when finding the right sounds to complement the song's lyricism?
Adam Fitzgerald: Dylan said something the other day along the lines of, when we're writing songs we try to find words that feel like the music. I like that because I think that seems right. Sometimes we slave away over songs, changing lyrics, chords, particular instrumental parts, etc. Then sometimes they come together fast like this one kinda spilled out of me quickly. Obviously, a lot of it is what you're feeling at the time, it comes out in one way or another, musically or lyrically, we just try to align the two - but I also think it comes from the vibe that became encapsulated within this entire second "Dreamboat" album - shakey notions about human ideals, like - what is happiness? What is the ideal partner? The ideal life? What is your "Dreamboat" to sail away from this hellish reality? Even though the world will smolder, we're growing older, etc. maybe it doesn't matter. (Another idea that has become cohesive to the album - as a similar lyric is in the refrain of our other newer song "Backflips" also on this record - "it doesn't matter" = https://soundcloud.com/underflowrecords/backflips-by-shady-groves ). Thank you for your kind words, I would say our former member & current engineer Jeff Yateman is responsible for the deftness of our sonics because he has the golden ears as we say - we've recorded & produced this entire album "in the trenches" alongside Jeff / Jemmi Hazeman but he's the one really engineering it, mixing & mastering it (in those trenches), then we are releasing the album through our collective Underflow Records.
Dylan Caron: I heard an audio clip of Billie Eilish brushing her teeth and it hit me like a ton of organic bananas. I knew: ‘this is how my guitar tone needs to sound’ so it’s supposed to sound like Billie Eilish brushing her teeth...
How do the released singles from your album 'Dreamboat' help listeners know what they should expect from the forthcoming project?
Adam Fitzgerald: Good question. I hope the singles we've released so far show people that we're not a "one-trick pony" so-to-speak. Again, Dylan & I write together & separately, so our songs are all over the place in all sorts of ways. Sometimes it's just him & I on the tracks, plus a drummer like Sage or Shane or Jeff, or sometimes our friends like Jamie (bass) or Colt (keys) might add some stuff, but for the most part, we work well together because we aren't too precious about it - we take our music seriously but we don't take ourselves too seriously. There's too much ego in music, so we try to be as egoless as possible. We always try to do what's best for each individual song, we're not worried about who does what or how it happens or credit or notoriety or percentages or blah blah blah. Dylan & I try to go with the flow. Whenever we talk about music or art we just do it and try not to get our hopes up because we've been making music together in some form or another for a decade or so. It's like that quote "happiness is reality minus expectations" or whatever.
Dylan Caron: They can expect a laser production, created entirely from video clips of glow fish. Instead of sounds; we are making music for the eyes.
What's next for you?
Adam Fitzgerald: Our third album. Somehow Underflow has grown into this proper international collective & brand, so in a way, I'd like to believe that motivates us, even more, to keep releasing music, even if we feel like no one cares half the time or shows aren't happening anymore or whatever. When I was in the UK & Dylan in the US, we never stopped writing - together & separately. As Dylan said the other day, we have songs that have been in the works for years now, and some of these are finally going to surface on our third record. I'm as excited to get "Dreamboat" out to the world as I am to properly record these songs for LP3 because I think they are some of the best we've ever written - together or separately! I'm also going to finally release some other songs & beats I've been working on alone over the years as Quells. Plus lots else through Underflow we're really excited about like a new collaborative Jemmi Hazeman & The Honey Riders album, and new music from Pesky Kid, Jeb Busch Lite, A.R. Laidlaw, Golden Spine & more. Hopefully, one of these days I'll actually get the first book in my series published also...
Dylan Caron: I’m thinking of dropping all the music stuff and becoming either a Nascar driver, astronaut, or a cowboy... just some old cowpoke no big deal sort of thing... people see me and think, "Wow, there’s a guy that’s got it all figured out. Also, he’s wearing spurs, which I respect and admire. I wanna be his friend. And then I take a photo with them, just some "ok cowboy going about my day at the saloon” type stuff.