Review Fix chats with Shallow Waves’ Zaid Khan, who discusses the creative process behind their new track, “Shapes,” as well as their origin in music and hopes for 2019.
Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?
Zaid Khan: I started playing guitar when I was in my teens for a few years, then stopped because I was getting more involved in electronic music. I then picked it back up in my mid 20s and from there I started playing in a bunch of garage rock and post punk bands before starting Shallow Waves a few years back. By that point, I was sick of having to comprise all the time in what I wanted, so I figured Id start my own thing and find other people who shared similar musical interests. Luckily I did, and found three other people that are in the band now that totally identify with me both musically and from a production stand point. It hasn’t always been perfect but right now it’s a good head space for all of us.
Review Fix: What performers inspire you the most?
Khan: With Shallow Waves, we’re inspired by an eclectic group of artists, psych rock acts such as Wand and Thee Oh Sees, shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine and DIIV, as well as artists such as Frankie Rose and Coleen Green. Throw in some T. Rex on top of all that and that’s Shallow Waves.
Review Fix: What’s on your musical bucket list?
Khan: I think the big one would be if we got a chance to play at the KEXP studio in Seattle. That would be a huge one.
Review Fix: Goals for 2019?
Khan: Our immediate goal would be to get the new EP out there, showcase the new sound.
Review Fix: What makes the new EP special?
Khan: It’s a unique take for us and aside from creating a something different from our previous work, we’ve also been experimenting in the studio, trying various options. Instead of just utilizing guitars, bass, drums and vocals, we’ve also played around with synthesizers, piano, acoustic instruments. We’ve even added this crazy electric sitar on several songs, that was lying around in the studio!
Review Fix: How was “Shapes” written?
Khan: Shapes started as song I was working out on my own, but just wasn’t completely clicking for me. Once I brought it to the band where we spent time creating the interesting soundscapes with in the song and reworking some major parts within its structure, it became a forefront to this new sound we are so excited about. We took awhile to get it to where we wanted it, but its now become a staple in our shows, as well as an incredible first single off the upcoming release.
Review Fix: Away from Shapes, what’s your standout track? How was it written?
Khan: Hmm, I would have to say Dust off the new one (EP) as well. It starts out on the softer side then really builds into this epic culmination. Its also one of the first batch of new songs that we have started to use synthesizers in. I wanted to add synthesizers to bring another dimension to Shallow Waves, so I decided to start playing that in addition to the other instrumentation within the band ( as if my setup wasn’t complicated enough, I now sing, play synth and guitar within a lot of the songs, but that’s just me I guess). Its brought a new depth to our sound and Dust showcases that.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Khan: I would say if you’re into psychedelic rock, alternative and shoegaze/noise, you’ll dig us.
Review Fix: Bottom line, what makes you special?
Khan: We’re a diverse group from various backgrounds (two members are from opposite ends of the country and another one was born in another continent) that’s come together to create the type of music we commonly love. Also, we really believe in doing everything in house. We write, record and produce the material ourselves. I don’t think that we’re breaking the mold but, in the very least, we’re making music we’re very enthusiastic about. We want people to have that feeling of excitement that we got, when we first heard bands like Wand or My Bloody Valentine or A Place Bury Strangers, like “oh my god, what is that, its amazing!”
Review Fix: What next?
Khan: Well, with the EP, we’re now aiming for the fall release, really focusing on finalizing that. However, immediately we’re actually doing a Toronto show May 16th with Acid Dad from Williamsburg and Nanami Ozone from Phoenix and our friends Crazy Bones (another amazing Toronto band) at Lees Palace.