WORDS: AMY ALBINSON
Birmingham-based Shvpes are heavy, but besides that, they’re a very hard band to pigeon-hole. To frontman Griffin Dickinson, heavy music can come in all forms. ‘I didn’t want to stick to the confines of “we are a metal band” because that’s what we’ve done in the past. You can have heavy dubstep music, you can have heavy hip-hop, you can get heavy pop music’ he explains as he’s packing for their upcoming tour with Hawthorne Heights, ‘like one of those Dua Lipa tunes is heavy as fuck’.
It’s this outlook that has been pivotal in the writing of their latest offering Greater Than, an album that sees the band moving away from their roots and into a new territory awash with overlapping genres. Featuring guest vocals from Matthew Heafy of Trivium the band haven’t just left their own comfort zone as they give Matt a hip-hop beat to cry out over in the middle of ‘Rain’. ‘I imagine it as if we were to play it live he could walk out on stage at that point,’ Griffin describes with a laugh, ‘rather than just jump in and fucking appear he could take the microphone off me’.
He speaks with the confidence of someone who has long been fronting bands but this couldn’t be further from the truth. ‘I’ve been trying to start up bands for a while since I was a kid but it never really worked out for me’ he confesses. ‘It’s very difficult to find people that all like the same music and all have the same ambition and then slot those people into the right instruments and then after all of that you have to get along with them as well. It’s worked out incredibly well for us. These are the right people for sure’. Since joining the band the momentum they’ve picked up in only a few short years is something to be admired. ‘Everything did happen pretty fucking quickly,’ he says with no attempt to hide the excitement in his voice. After changing the band’s name and sound everything started to feel intensely real for the vocalist, ‘that’s when I really dug my claws in and was like “right, let’s start writing”.
In such a tumultuous political climate that has witnessed a surge in the popularity of heavy, anger-infused music Shvpes have found a home. Whilst trying to avoid being a band that forces its opinion down throats their new record features a track that is highly politically charged though stems from a completely different corner of the world. Speaking of eighth track Renegade Griffin recalls watching documentaries on the 2014 uprising in Ukraine. ‘It just absolutely blew my mind that these people, like men women and children are stood there, completely unarmed, ballsy as fuck, and basically just protesting peacefully, like arm in arm and the government just fucking unleash all these police on them. Peaceful protestors getting absolutely kicked the living shit out of, killed, mowed down by governments and it just riles me up so much it inspired me to write a song about that. I wanted to embody what they were giving off. I wanted to embody that in a soundtrack and it was fucking powerful.’
Their success so far has come as a shock to the band themselves, with fans reaction to Greater Than’s first single ‘Undertones’ completely changing the trajectory of the album. ‘We thought we’d have to feed it out in bitesize chunks to try and garner all the attention that we possibly could’ Griffin explains, having worried that they wouldn’t have the fans eyes/ears ready waiting for the album to launch but after the incredible reaction to the first single these fears were rendered obsolete. ‘It really went to show us that everything that we thought we needed to build this whole thing, we already had that and it was all down to the music. If we release good tunes we’re going to get the response that we’re looking for’.
Shvpes are on tour throughout October and November with their new record Greater Than due 9th November.