A Chat With SHAED
Last week, we caught an incredible live performance from the DC trio SHAED at The Bottom Lounge. Prior to their lively and energetic performance that evening, we caught up with Chelsea Lee and her bandmates, twin brothers Max and Spencer Ernst. Together, the three craft catchy pop melodies that blend with Lee's soulful, powerful vocals and the clean production work of the Ernsts. After touring with acts like Bishop Briggs, Marian Hill, and playing festivals like Chicago's own Mamby on the Beach, Lee and the Ernst brothers are now back on the road with Sir Sly. Talking everything from Lee's go-to karaoke jam to new music and their favorite spots to eat on tour, get to know SHAED now!
ANCHR Magazine: So I wanted start off by talking a little bit about how you guys each individually got into writing music and eventually started producing it and making it together.
Max Ernst: Two of us are twins, my brother and I. We got started playing music pretty young. Our mom got us taking piano lessons at a young age. From there we just fell in love with music and writing songs. We just kept doing it until now.
Chelsea Lee: For me, I kind of was always listening to music my parents love..alternative 80's. So I always jammed out to that. When I was in elementary school, I got a karaoke machine, so that became like my best friend. I would do that for hours and hours.
AM: What’s your go to karaoke song?
CL: The Carpenters were always a go to for me. I also loved doing the Christmas karaoke CD.
Spencer Ernst: Chelsea’s obsessed with Christmas to this day, so not surprised.
AM: So that started it all! So you guys have played a ton of live shows, even though you’re still working on the debut album. I saw you at Mamby on the Beach, you’ve toured with Marian Hill, Bishop Briggs....what is the biggest lesson you’ve learned about each other being a band on the road so much?
ME: I’ve got one. When Chelsea’s asleep in the van, you don’t want to wake her up.
CL: Always make sure that I’m fed because I get hangry. We’ve learned that we don’t want to kill each other, which is amazing. It takes a special type of person to be stuck in a van for a really long time with each other.
ME: And we live together when we’re not on tour.
CL: It’s 100 percent.
AM: Nice! So what have been some of your favorite songs to play live then?
CL: We just released “Too Much” last week. That’s been really fun to play live. We actually started playing that live during the Bishop Briggs tour, which was a couple months ago. Everyone loved it so much and it got a really good response, and we decided that would be our next single. So that’s my favorite song to play out right now.
AM: I saw you did that cover of “Starboy,” too. What was it about that particular song that made you decide to cover it?
CL: Well we did Spotify sessions, and we needed a cover. We did one original and one cover. We were trying to think of a cool cover, and we immediately thought of “Starboy” cause that was such a jam.
AM: How is the debut album process going? Are you still working on writing it or is it mostly written and just needs to be recorded?
ME: I’d say that it’s going really well. We’ve got a lot of songs in the works right now. We’ve got a couple in the chamber that are closed to being released, but we’re still in the writing process right now. It’s definitely not totally done. We have a pretty good idea of where it’s going, and we have some singles ready to be released soon.
AM: How is it writing on the road then? Do you find that you get inspired?
CL: Yeah, these guys are constantly working on sessions in the car. I don’t know how they do it because I would barf if I looked at a computer screen for too long in a moving car. For them, they work on sessions in Ableton. We always want to be writing, honestly.
ME: There’s different ways that we write. When we’re in the van, it’s hard to like write as a collective group because of all the noise and people are doing different things. We work a lot on our own, just on beats and music on our laptops in the car. We also, when we have time...we’ll get a guitar out or piano and write stuff together too.
AM: So you guys are from DC, and the only thing I really know about the music scene there is 930 Club, which is a legendary venue. What are some of the best kept secrets from your hometown music scene?
ME: DC is definitely known for punk and rock, but there’s definitely a lot of really good R&B andd soul happening there. Marvin Gaye is from DC. There’s just a ton of really good soul music there too. The venues are really supportive, but there’s a really strong artist community. And really good house shows too. Some of the best shows are being put on by like a collective, that kind of thing.
AM: Do you have any particular DC bands you’re really into?
AM: What about in general, any bands you’re vibing with or you're influenced by?
CL: Right now we’re listening to Active Child a lot. Sigrid. We just got into this girl Chloe Howl, she just released a really awesome song. We always try to listen to new music, and each week, it’s kind of a different thing.
AM: Cool, how else do you guy stay entertained on tour besides making music and listening to it?
CL: We love to eat, so we’re always trying to find a good spot to get some grub. We also really like this game called Cribbage.
AM: Oh, what is that?
CL: It’s like an old sailor game, it’s a card game and it’s got a wood board. Love that game, so we play it a lot.
AM: Nice, keeping it old fashioned. So what’s been your favorite city to go to as far as the food goes then?
ME: Everything is kind of a blur.
CL: We have a special place in our heart when it comes to Wisconsin just because of the cheese.
SE: Actually, the last time we were in Chicago, we stayed in Chinatown, and we got some incredible dumplings there. We also had some Sake there.
CL: What was that place called?
SE: Imperial something-- After we had the food, we went to this little dive karaoke bar. It was actually a Korean karaoke bar right around the corner from Chinatown. We got our own private room and just like-
CL: Wailed for an hour!
SE: It was really fun!
AM: Then what else are you guys looking forward to this year? Besides touring a bunch...any particular shows you’re looking forward to?
CL: We’re doing the billboard hot 100 Festival in New York, which is gonna be fun. Plus we’re excited for new places on this tour. There’s a lot of places we haven’t been, like Colorado Springs. There’s a couple new spots we’re really excited to see!