Interview: Shed Seven

Ellie-Mae Davies

Shed Seven are a popular band from York that first formed in the 90s. They had lots of success during the Britpop era and have built on this over the last few decades with brand new music and lots of live gigs/tours. Impact’s Ellie-Mae Davies got the pleasure of speaking to the band’s lead singer, Rick Witter, discussing the band’s upcoming UK tour, their highly anticipated album, being released in January 2024, as well as the success of the band over the last 30 years.

Shed Seven have a very busy couple of months coming up, off the back of a great summer, with their UK tour kickstarting this October and their highly anticipated album, ‘A Matter of Time’, releasing in January 2024. Speaking with Rick Witter, the band’s lead singer, I started off this interview by asking him about the band’s upcoming October tour. He responded with “usually we would play in December” and “our fans affectionately call our tours ‘Shedcember’”. However, due to the band’s busy schedule and them releasing a new album in January, they have had to move the annual tour to an earlier date.

“It’s more getting your stamina and fitness up than actually remembering the songs”

I further asked Rick how the band have been preparing for the upcoming tour. He mentioned that they are “finishing discussing songs for the set, there’s gonna be a bit of rehearsing”. The band have a massive collection of hits throughout the years to choose from, having released 3 very popular albums that fans have become attached to. Rick mentioned that “if we walked off the stage without having played a few of our old big hits I think people would leave quite unhappy”. In terms of practising their old hits, Rick said that “it’s like getting on a horse really. It’s more getting your stamina and fitness up than actually remembering the songs”.

As for the new singles featured on their upcoming album, Rick told me that “we recorded them in February this year… and the final mixes came in about 2 or 3 weeks ago”. “A lot of ideas were being thrown around on emails, texts and then they were almost demoed remotely as well so we weren’t really in the same room writing and demoing them.” Rick explained that the rehearsals for the UK tour will be the first time the band “play them as a unit and that’s exciting”. With the mix of their classics as well as the fresh sound of the new singles, the new tour is looking to be perfect blend for the band’s fans.

“It’s still very us, but it just sounds very fresh and new”

We spoke about the new singles currently released, Kissing California and FKH, and how the band expect fans to react. Rick reiterated throughout the interview that he thinks the singles will slip seamlessly into the pre-existing set – “It’s still very us, but it just sounds very fresh and new. Like we could play a song called Dolphin, which we released in 1994, next to a new song like Kissing California that’s recently come out and there won’t be much of a massive difference in it.”

I moved onto asking Rick if the touring process had changed much since the 90s, when Shed Seven first formed. His initial response was “not so much touring. We’ve got a great fanbase who soak it right up. We put tour dates out and people buy the tickets pretty much straight away so we’re very fortunate in that respect”. Rick explained that the performance aspect of touring has stayed the same because “you’re doing the same thing really. You’re walking out on the stage and you’re playing your music and you’re hoping that people dig it and get involved in it”. Rick mentioned though that the main difference performing on tour this time is getting the “new songs embedded into the set”.

As Shed Seven have released so many classic hits, I asked Rick if he had a favourite song to perform live. He initially responded that he doesn’t have an answer and mentioned how my question is similar to the age-old question, ‘do you get bored of playing your songs thousands of times?’ – “We never get bored of playing them and I think that’s down to the crowd that come. There’s nothing better than walking out onto a stage and starting to play your songs and the whole room is just looking at you, massive smiles on their faces, singing every word back at you.”

Rick’s retelling of these stories really show the power of music!

Despite Rick not having a favourite, he spoke about the legacy of some of the old songs and how the band will always play certain fan favourites, “songs like Chasing Rainbows, which is one of our biggest songs, we always play that last in the setlist”. He also spoke about the memories attached to their songs, thanks to their supportive fans – “I’ve had videos sent to me after gigs, I think we played in London once, and people on the tube and they were still singing it and that’s like 25 minutes after the gig. It’s such a special thing so yeah it’s great.” Rick’s retelling of these stories really show the power of music!

The conversation moved on to the band’s new album, being released in January next year. The band’s last album, ‘Instant Pleasures’, released in 2017, saw the band’s return to new music. So, I asked Rick how him and the band were feeling about the release of ‘A Matter of Time’. Rick commented that the album only took 9 months to write and felt that Paul and him “had a bit of a purple patch last year. Just so many ideas were flowing and the lyrics were pouring out of me and it just felt like we knew what we were doing. It felt really special”. He also mentioned that he’s convinced that all Shed Seven fans are gonna love the new material!

We moved on to speaking about the inspiration behind the album and Rick said that he listens to it and parts really sound like his and Paul’s youth – “I can really hear that kind of time. I can hear little bits of Duran Duran in there and bits of U2 and bits of Simple Minds that we would’ve been listening to at that point and I think subconsciously that has seeped out a little bit.” Rick and Paul had started writing at a similar point to when these bands had majorly influenced popular music, so Rick admitted “without sounding like those bands, I can hear it in the tapestry of what we’ve written”.

Rick, Paul and Tom have been playing in the band since its formation, back in 1990. I wrapped up the interview by asking Rick what the secret is for the band staying together for long. He compared the band life to being in a marriage and emphasised “massive ups, massive downs, massive disagreements, massive agreements, massive hurdles that you’ve got to get over”. He spoke about the difficulties of growing up whilst in a band because it’s “very ego based”. However, he went on to finish, “you’ve got to pick your arguments, pick your fights and I think that’s why we’re still here doing it because we’re very good at doing that.”

Ellie-Mae Davies 

Featured image courtesy of Barnaby Fairley. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes made to this image.

In-article image and videos courtesy of @shedsevenofficial via instagram.com. No changes made to these images.

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