The cityscape of Detroit, roller skating, mini skirts and vintage coats take over Shadow Show’s video for their first single “Charades.” It was their common interest for garage rock and vintage clothes that brought Kate Derringer, Ava East, and Kerrigan Pearce together — first as friends and then as bandmates. In 2018 they formed Shadow Show and on February 14, 2020, they released their debut album Silhouettes.
From The Soft Machines to Nancy Sinatra, Detroit native band Shadow Show draw inspiration for their psychedelic garage sound. At least those are the words they chose to describe their music.
“No one ever wants to put a definite label on their sound but it’s the easiest way to describe it in a couple of words,“ said Kate. “I feel that a lot of the time when people, including us, describe our music it ends up being a long string of different words.”
Shadow Show is set to hit the road for shows in California, Nashville, Austin, and the East Coast while the Europe tour is set for April and May. For now you can listen to their full album Silhouettes.
In our interview, Kerrigan, Ava, and Kate talked about their influences, their thoughts on self-releasing, and upcoming shows.
Veronica Martinez: What brought the three of you to make music?
Kerrigan Pearce: We’ve been playing music together for more than six years now. We used to play in another band but that kind of dissolved after a while and we’ve been doing Shadow Show for over two years now.
Ava East: We began as friends of friends and immediately clicked as friends and bandmates. We were all drawn to having similar taste but each of us has her own thing to bring to the table and I learn a lot from them.
You describe your music as 60’s psychedelic garage rock; why did you want to define your project this way?
Kate Derringer: No one ever wants to put a definite label on their sound but it’s the easiest way to describe it in a couple of words. I feel that a lot of the time when people, including us, describe our music it ends up being a long string of different words.There’s a lot of different elements that goes with what our music sounds like. A lot of our influences are garage groups from Detroit and like the psychedelic 60’s and 70’s. That’s where we get most of our influences but it’s also easier to describe it.
For your video of “Charades” that influence is also noticeable, especially with your hair makeup and clothes.
Kate: For that video specifically we were trying to get the viewer a little pick into our everyday life. Obviously we like to wear cool outfits.
Ava: All of us really admire vintage fashion. When I was young I used to look at Jimmy Hendrix and think that was the coolest person. Best dressed and best musician. When you admire artists that inspire you or just elements of life, you want to reflect that in your own creativity even when you’re not aware of it at first.
When talking about influences, which other musicians come to mind?
Kate: Definitely The Soft Machine, Nancy Sinatra, The Pretty Things…
Kerrigan: The Pleasure Seekers… did we say Bowie?
Ava: Also Nico, from the Velvet Underground.
Now talking about your new album, why did you decide to go for a full length rather than an EP?
Kate: We had experience with self release working with other bands and when we started Shadow Show we had a vision from the start on how we should go about that. Specifically how to make the most impact so we decided we wanted to make a full length for our first release. We just really wanted to find the best way to get our music out there.
Kerrigan: And we’ve been working on this for a while. It’s been a long time in the making because we really wanted to find a label that could release it. Burger Records and Stolen Bodies were amazing in giving this album an incredible release. We didn’t want to self release it because you do it and it’s kind of your friends hear about it and people kind of forget about it. We kind of wanted to take the time to get good labels to really help us promote it and really make it a thing that swifted people.
How long did it take?
Kerrigan: It took us about two years. I mean it took a couple of months to get the recording done and then after that was mixing and post production.
Ava: But Kate is the one who engineered and mixed the record so.
Kerrigan: Yeah, heads off to her! After that it was about getting the right people to hear and hoping they would enjoy it enough to give us a release.
Ava: it feels really great to have this project from the beginning up until now and beyond where it has been under our total control. I think that’s what a lot of people often come to appreciate when hearing about us and our sound. We stand up for our vision. We got something going on but only the three of us can fully understand.
Kate: The environment was just us three taking as much time we needed in the studio.
And you also worked with Jim Diamond, how was that?
Kerrigan: We actually worked with Jim in our old band. We worked with Jim in every single recording process we have ever done. He recorded our single and some demos. For this one, we recorded it but he still mastered it.
Kate: He’s reliable. We really trust his ear, we know what we’re gonna get, and we know that he cares and will do a good job.
Ava: And he’s just a good guy. It’s really interesting that a lot of people have had the pleasure to know him and work with him and it’s cool that we have that experience as well.
Kate, with you mixing the album and the whole recording going under the three of you, do you feel a different kind of ownership?
Kate: I recorded most of it. We had people helping with the parts in which the three of us are playing, but the rest was just the three of us in the studio. Afterwards I mixed it and Jim mastered it. It was the first full album that I have recorded and mixed. It’s a good feeling.
Ava: And we produced it as a band.
Kate: The environment was just us three taking the time that we needed in the studio.
You’re gonna be on the road very soon. You got some festivals ahead; which are some that you’re the most excited about?
Kerrigan: We have Burgerama in L.A. It’s gonna be pretty cool, the tickets were almost sold out. We’re playing with bands that we really admire and that’s so exciting. We also have SXSW and then from there we go to Europe. Pretty much the next two months is us on the road.
What else is next?
Kerrigan: Oh! we just talked about that last weekend. We were in the studio again and we’re releasing two songs with a label called Hypnotic Bridge. We don’t have a release yet but we have the recordings so Kate is going to start the mixing process and we’re getting them out as soon as we can.
Kate: You’re really gonna love these ones.
By Veronica Martinez