This week North London metal band Shields return with their sophomore EP – ‘Guilt’. Having spent the past few years becoming a roadworthy by constantly touring the UK and occasionally venturing over into Europe. It seems it was time well spent as ‘Guilt’ is a mighty and bold sign of progression. The five songs on offer are muscular in delivery with subtle dynamism. Tracks like ‘Jordan’ and ‘I’ve Dealt Worse’ prove to be thoughtful and have purpose.
Having found their feet with ‘Guilt’, Already Heard recently spoke to vocalist Joe Edwards and guitarist/vocalist Sam Kubrick ahead of its release. They discussed Shields’ development, the new EP, their upcoming tour with Carcer City and filming their latest video in the house of famous film director Stanley Kubrick; Sam’s Grandfather.
AH: Lets kick off with an easy one. Bring us up to speed on the history of Shields?
Joe: Sam and myself began Shields as a couple of teenagers moving between bands and members, until we eventually started to hone in our sound and confirm ideas to get some decent tracks out. We wanted to kick start the name Shields with a gig, in the London circle of metal bands, who could bring a crowd in, instead of us playing to no one. So we organised our own show featuring the hype bands in London at the time (including Despite My Deepest Fear) and stuck ourselves on the bottom.
AH: So now you’re about to release your second EP – ‘Guilt’. How is the feeling within the band as we get closer and closer to the release date?
Joe: Very excited! We’ve been sitting on this EP for a year now and after a few incidents that set us back, it feels very uplifting to finally have the ball rolling on these songs that mean so much more to us than the songs off our first EP did.
AH: It’s been over 2 years since the release of your debut EP. How has the band transformed during that time?
Sam: All we have done since releasing our first EP is tour. Countless laps of The UK, two 2 week runs in mainland Europe and a large handful of one off headliners around the country.
This period for us gave us a chance to hone and perfect our live performance. Musically we decided we wanted to make our music darker, our lyrics are more personal and generally we are much heavier.
AH: How does ‘Guilt’ differ compared to ‘Shields’? I sense it is darker especially lyrically?
Joe: Since ‘Shields’ was released both Sam and myself have started writing about things that mean a great deal to us, due to the fact both we’ve have had to deal with some issues within the period of time since the last EP.
AH: You recently premeiered a track called ‘Jordan’ from the EP. From looking at the YouTube views, it looks like its had a good response?
Joe: It’s had an astonishing response since the release of ‘Jordan’ in comparison to the reaction we’ve had within a week and a half of anything else we’d released before. I personally, and I think it’s safe to say this on behalf of Sam and Andre (who both knew Jordan), am overwhelmed to see so many people sharing, and enjoying a song that I hold so dear to myself. It was a really big deal to all of us when Jordan died; the track is a testament to our late friend, and what he would of wanted us to do. It gives me a huge feeling of revilement and pleasure to see the amount of joy this song is bringing to people.
AH: Does the track give fans a good idea of what the EP is all about?
Joe: I don’t know about the whole idea of the EP but I think it gives them a close enough insight; we have got darker. We do have issues to talk about. and we are dealing with them in our music.
AH: Going back to the video. How did the concept come together and how was it filming in the grounds of Sam’s Grandfather’s (Stanley Kubrick) home?
Sam: We wanted the video to be shocking and stick in peoples minds, the song is about a close friend of ours who sadly took his own life. There is a man (played by me) who is trying to escape the pursuit of this ghost and eventually he is confronted by this ghost who is holding up this heart. The story is open to interpretation, we wanted people to take away something different and personal to them when they watch the video with the song.
Filming at My grandfather’s house was great and allowed us access to a wide variety of interesting locations to film in. The sense of layout you get in the video is actually completely different from the actual interior of the house.
AH: In terms of live dates, you’re playing a release show in London on April 23rd and then heading out on tour with Carcer City shortly after. What can we expect from a live Shields show?
Sam: 5 miserable looking dudes wearing black jumping up and down and hitting themselves in the head. Off stage we are the happiest people you will meet! We are especially looking foward to our EP launch show. We have got 3 awesome upcoming uk bands on the bill, Create To Inspire, Our Hollow Our Home and Nexilva. As I said before, we feel we have nailed down our live performance and we can’t wait to show people the new and improved Shields.
AH: Are you looking forward to touring with Carcer City?
Sam: Definitely! They are an incredibly talented band and we can not wait to see them smash it every night!
AH: Following the EP release and UK tour, what else do you have planned for the remainder of the year?
Sam: A lot more touring, including at least one run in Europe. We have some festival slots in the pipeline and a new music video. We have also been writing new songs for our next release but you will not hear much about that until later this year.
‘Guilt’ by Shields is out now.
Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86