Italian duo Shirley Said combine pure, euphoric electronica with killer sophistication to create their brilliant and undeniably unique sound. Taking up residence in London and down-sizing has made the back story of Shirley Said a complex yet intriguing history book to follow, adding to the mysterious air surrounding the pair. With a new single out this month, Gigslutz took the time to talk to this hotly-tipped outfit about what they have in store for 2015.
For those still in the dark regarding Shirley Said, who are the band, and what do they stand for?
Giulia Scarantino (lead vocals, keyboards, effects) and Simone Bozzato (guitars, backing vocals, effects).
How would you best describe the sound that Shirley Said channels?
Our sound has a lot of different influences but mainly we’d say we write pop songs scratched with flickering noise, evocative textures and dreamy psychedelic melodies.
The new single from the group, ‘Salvation’, boasts intensified emotion and euphoric influence from the likes of Goldfrapp and early Beach House. What is the story behind this track?
We are glad to remind you of those two great bands, thank you! ‘Salvation’, as most of our songs, has been created and produced in our comfy house studio, so I guess this aspect has a lot of influence on the sound. I guess this intimacy is really tangible in ‘Salvation’. The sound alongside the lyrics are a kind of a journey into the unconsciousness; a way to escape from our deepest fears, reach a high hill at the end of our journey, sit down and see ourselves and our loves so far away and wait until we miss them again.
Your single launch takes place at The Finsbury on March 26th. What can fans of Shirley Said expect from the live show?
It’s going to be awesome! We are going to play our new single and thinking about including a couple of songs we just wrote too. We like to play new stuff to the audience, it’s a good test. It’s going to be a unique night.
Coming from Italy to the UK, how different and accessible is getting into the UK music scene as opposed to the Italian?
We moved about 5 years and half ago and, even if now things are changed a lot, we think here in UK the music industry is still much more active and accessible for musicians. London in particular is overloaded with Indie labels, music promoters and great venues to play. Sometimes it’s a bit hard to get in the right people and places- it’s a bit like a jungle! We’re glad to have meet Chris and Nick from Lost in Manor, nice guys who have passion for what they do and that’s the most important thing I guess.
From a five-piece to a duo: what difficulties have had to be overcome through compacting Shirley Said?
There are no reasons strictly related to the band. Personal reasons and choices sometimes bring you in different directions. It’s quite hard to leave someone behind…a band is a bit like a family, so it’s not easy to let someone go. The way we make music now has changed a lot and changes are always something positive in music. You will probably see us playing in 3 or 4 again in the near future!
A question for Giulia here: what challenges have you faced being a woman in the music industry?
Women working in the music industry are sadly still a tiny percentage. I can say, from my experience, I have been struggling to access the music industry scene. Not so much as a musician, but more as a Sound Designer and technician. I have always been surrounded by males and honestly I’ve had to work twice as hard to make others consider me professional and competent, even when I have recognised qualifications. But that’s an old story – old as the world – and we could discuss for ages what feminism is. It’s interesting to have a look at the ‘her noise’ archive and investigate how sound, music and art practice have been influenced by gender – it’s an amazing project which involves inspiring woman like Kim Gordon, Diamanda Gala, Christina Kubish and many others. If you open your ears and look for a different scenario from the mainstream, you’ll see how strong and valuable the female community is in the art world.
From sound tracking an exclusive fashion film for Vogue, an Italian TV series and French docu-dramas, Shirley Said has culturally spread its wings. What riches can the UK expect to harbour from the group?
We feel our music has a strong connection with images and visual perceptions. It’s amazing how a song can assume different shapes in different contexts, you just have to immerse yourself and let it go. At the moment, we are in contact with a film director based in Guatemala to write the music for his short film documentary. We’ll keep you posted!
And, finally, other than yourselves, which artist is your tip to make the biggest impact in 2015?
Cairobi. They are awesome.
Huge thanks to Shirley Said?