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Interview with SheBangg

This month the Telfordrocks interview is with local band SheBangg, and the whole band came down for the interview.

SheBangg are a four piece band based in Shropshire, between the Bridgnorth and Lilleshall areas. They first started up a little under five years ago playing a mix of covers plus some of their own material. Now focusing mainly on their own compositions, the band has become very able song smiths with several hours' worth of their own material to choose from. Over the years the band have had a few lineup changes, mostly being changes of bass guitarist but the recent recruit on bass guitar seems to have solidified the band even more, and the lineup now seems very stable and well balanced. SheBangg have a very useful tool in their box of tricks which is variety of playing styles. The drums can go from rock to soul to gentle percussion in a heartbeat and this ability is mirrored in the rest of the band. The band say their core style is power pop, but listen to a few tracks and you'll discover shades of rock, soul, blues, jazz and many others.

The band lineup is:

  • Chrissii Wing - Lead Vocals
  • Tim Barratt - Guitar / Keyboard / Vocals
  • Ryan Mortier - Bass / Vocals
  • Leyton Burgess - Drums / Percussion / Vocals

SheBangg are currently very busy getting ready to promote their first commercial single release titled INSPIRATION, which is due for an early spring release, maybe even the end of February. Their record/management company (Dragoneye promotions) sent Telfordrocks word that they have arranged for Ron Marks (of Subsonic and Celtic Frost fame) to produce the forthcoming album, and that filming for the video for INSPIRATION, will be scheduled in the Shropshire area soon.

So, on with the interview!

IH - Is SheBangg just a working relationship, or is there a closer friendship within the band?

SheBangg - No, we're definitely friends. Ryan having joined recently is still getting to know us just as we're still getting to know him, but we enjoy socializing together. Also we've individually seen the other bands that each of us has played in over the years, and formed friendships in that way.

IH - How did you choose the name SheBangg?

SheBangg - As is the way, we were in the pub trying to come up with a good name and getting pretty bored of it, when Chrissii said something or other which ended in...and the whole shebang! We just sat silent for a short while and thought about it, until it was decided that shebang should be the name. We looked up the name on the Internet and discovered a couple of musical acts with that name, but nothing UK based, so we just added the extra G to the end. That's it really.

IH - What are the main musical influences of the band?

SheBangg - Well there are four of us, and we each have different tastes and backgrounds, but a short combined list would include: Jaco Pastorius, jazz funk, Janis Joplin, blues and soul, John Bonham, classic rock, funk rock, Andy Summers, power pop etc...

IH - If you could perform with any artist of your choice, who would it be?

SheBangg - Again, we'll have to give you a short list because it would be different for all of us but Led Zeppelin, Chilli Peppers, Janis Joplin and Paul Kossoff all make the list though.

IH - Do you feel that your lives would be very different if you weren't musicians?

SheBangg - Yes definitely, live would be very dull.

IH - Is the band your full time jobs or do you have day jobs as well?

SheBangg - In the band we have two gardeners, a plumber and a plasterer. How's that for down to earth!

IH - You now focus very much on your own material, but I know you still occasionally play the odd cover version here and there. What are the cover versions you most enjoy playing live?

SheBangg - Definitely come together by the Beatles, and piece of my heart by Janis Joplin. They also tend to be the two of the covers that we play if we decide to put covers in the set.

IH - Where would you like to be with the band in a year's time?

SheBangg - We'd certainly like to be well on with the album, but also though we have really enjoyed the years on the pub/club circuit but would love to move on to bigger and more musically orientated venues.

IH - What has been the high point for SheBangg so far?

SheBangg - Two thing really. First off is Ryan joining the band, as it's added a new edge to the music. Second is getting together with Dragoneye for the single, which has been a great experience so far and we are really looking forward to the times ahead.

IH - In contrast, what has been the lowest point for the band?

SheBangg - In a few months' time when Ryan leaves the band! Ha ha! No, in all honesty, it would have to be our previous offer of a record contract where we went in with blind faith only to find out that they had no real idea of how to deal with real bands, as they came from an arcade game music background. That was a fairly low point for us, and the association didn't last long.

IH - Is there anything else you'd like to say to the people reading this?

SheBangg - Yes, we'd love it if people would tune into Radio Shropshire on the 22nd February to hear our live session between 7-9pm with the Friday night Gerbil. Also we'd like to thank everyone who has supported us this far, and given us the faith to keep writing and playing.

I have to say that this month's interview was a pleasure to do. Having previously only met the members of the band briefly in passing, within minutes I was very comfortable in their company. They have none of the standoff-ish qualities often associated with band musicians, and come across as very well grounded, professional and easy going. Talking to the band and having seen them play live there is no doubt about the talent on show here, and I would place them at the very top of the list of Shropshire based bands. But more than that, they may well have the drive and above all, ability, to go much further. Although each member of the band is at the very top of their field, the standout feature of SheBangg on anyone's first listen is always going to be Chrissii's vocal work, which ranges from subtle to VERY powerful.

Currently actively beginning to promote forthcoming the single INSPIRATION, SheBangg have a very busy time ahead, but seem to be approaching it with calm confidence, and a determination to enjoy the moments as they come. They are very happy to have been found by Dragoneye promotions, a partnership which could be very good for them.

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Interview by Ian Hooley.