If you’ve been paying attention to upcoming bands in the UK’s pop-punk scene, there’s a fair chance you’ll have heard of the London-based boys in SHADED. The trio specialise in catchy, hook-heavy tracks with a sickly sweet so-Cal spin, something they delivered recently on their replay-worthy sophomore EP ‘A Familiar Love’. “It feels very rewarding [to finally have it out in the open]”, frontman Matt East tells us. “There was a lot of work that went into this release, so to see the level of positivity that people are showing towards the new tracks has been quite overwhelming”.

Their new EP pushes on from their debut release ‘A Better Man In Me’, with production getting a boost and song-writing given extra attention, resulting in a far more confident sound that highlights a group on the rise. “We knew we had to step things up majorly from our first EP. We’re incredibly proud of it, and it was a cycle that we’ll never forget, but ‘A Familiar Love’ was our chance to step out of the ‘local band’ bracket”, East confesses.

It was more than just a change in mindset that spurred the three-piece on to push themselves on their new record. They also had a vastly different experience in the way they recorded the new EP too. “We were all aware of the step-up that we had all taken in terms of writing abilities. That first EP was completely self-funded and released, whereas with ‘A Familiar Love’, we’ve had an amazing team of people working with us. It was definitely advantageous to be in the studio environment for the writing process of our new EP”.

We knew we had to step things up majorly from our first EP. We’re incredibly proud of it

As East mentions, the band’s first effort was self-recorded, so much so in fact, that it was tracked in guitarist Callum Iron’s bedroom – making the step-up to a professional setting one that definitely rewards their fresher, more accomplished sound. Just listen to the two singles from the record, ‘Tell Me’ and the title-track for examples. “They were to the two tracks that stood out and really captured both how far we’ve come, while also giving people an idea of the direction we aim to go with our music” East explains. ‘Tell Me’ was our summery-pop-punk singalong track that almost felt like a great transition between the two EPs, whereas the title track shows a slightly darker and emotional side to us.”

Conveying an emotional side to their work was something East was conscious of when writing the lyrical aspect of the record, with his previous experiences in relationships playing a big part in the themes and stories expressed on the EP. “I think heartbreak and emotional distress are things that, unfortunately, men are often embarrassed to talk about. If they do talk or write about it in songs, I find that it’s usually sugar-coated with metaphors and sometimes people misinterpret that for different meaning”, he admits. Yet, East himself is unafraid of releasing his emotional side in his song-writing; “ I’m the kind of person that says what they’re thinking or feeling, and doesn’t beat around the bush with it – I think these songs show that”.

Outside of their new release, the band have been busy touring the UK with their label mates Wolf Culture, and are looking forward towards another stint on the road supporting PVMNTS later this year, with one particular show on their radar: “We’re going to be playing the Underworld in Camden for the first time”, East happily explains. “It’s one of those venues that bands always put on their bucket list. I’ve been going to shows there since I was very young, so it’s going to be a memorable show.”

I’m the kind of person that says what they’re thinking or feeling, and doesn’t beat around the bush with it.

Yet, while touring is great fun for the most part, when it does start to get tough being away from home, East is quick to remember the reasons why they love doing what they do. “It’s important not to lose sight of the bigger picture and why we started doing this in the first place. Touring is the key component to being successful in a band, and it’s what we signed up for. If we’re going to complain about it, we might as well quit, right?”. Right indeed.

While East admits to “having so much we want to talk about”, that’s all we’re getting out of the band on this occasion. Yet, with such a bright future looming ahead of them, it shouldn’t be too long before we hear a lot more from SHADED.



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