MAXIMUM MERSEYBEAT: THE SHAKERS' SOUND
A lot of people comment how authentic The Shakers sound. Well, that's because we try to be as true as we can to the original 1960s Mersey Sound. You see, it is all about the period: the look & the sound. Get this right and the foundation is set in stone (of course, the execution is vitally important and we conjure up the vintage sixties vibe, too.) Using vintage gear is a big factor here (all of my drums, hardware and cymbals are vintage) It’s the same vibe that vintage clothes, cars & furniture enthusiasts love. Style, yes, but with the added bonus of the inherent SOUND of yesterday too. Right there…at your fingertips…ready and waiting to be brought back to life, just as it was back then, when all your favourite records were made. This can sometimes take a little care and attention but the results are well worth the effort in my view. We are also proud to be endorsed by Hofner Guitars, an iconic brand very much associated with the 60s sound. Our Hofners may be new but with their 60s fittings, they look and sound completely authentic to the period.
We had the privilege of recording at the famed Britannia Row studios in London a few years ago and we had a full vintage backline at our disposal. This was heaven to a retro-head like me! Pink Floyd still own the building the studio is housed in and have recorded there many times (‘The Wall’ being one such iconic album) Our producer, Andy, just happened to be involved in the studio at the time and had some fab vintage gear himself to add to the studio’s own impressive array. The next step is to get the best out of the gear by playing it correctly and in keeping with the style of music we play. It is easy to ‘overplay’ vintage gear, as this has the opposite effect in my view. The sound needs to be coaxed out, rather than bludgeoned, with respect for the music played. Ignoring the many musical styles that followed the period we cover, and which also influenced us over the years, can be difficult and 'keeping it beat' playing-wise, seems to be a discipline not many live up to these days. Not that I have a problem with ‘rock' or ‘modern’ sounding 60s bands, it's just not our thing and although we cater for an era and a certain period, I don’t think of us as a tribute either: we’re a sixties Liverpool beat combo who happen to exist 50 or so years in the future! Suffice to say, the sessions were a dream and we managed to record a full LP’s worth of songs, both covers and originals, during our time there. In keeping with our retro stance, a 12” vinyl LP, 'A Whole Lotta Shakers!' is now available on Germany’s Soundflat Records (with an expanded CD version on Japan’s Majestic Sound Records)
To me, however, it's all about the music and the zeitgeist of the era. That original sound will never lose it's appeal and sounds just as fresh and exciting today as it did then. With the current trend for 'retro and vintage' now in the mainstream, it's now more popular than ever. Suffice to say, we will continue to 'keep it beat' in the best of cellars and beyond.