Shakewell talks about their newest album, “Marszola”

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“We live in Missoula, we’re incredibly proud of that, proud of being Montanans, but also it feels like we’re in a different place sometimes, because we’re so removed from whatever else is happening in the rest of the world.”

By Sam Tolman

Shakewell, in it’s four years of existence, and exchange of over eighteen members, has released its first studio album, titled “Marsoula.” The album is an ode to a millennial generation that grows ever increasing isolated from each other under the guise of the increasing contentedness of social media.

However, Shakewell does not out rightly make statements about this in their new album – they take the approach of telling a story of an individual, at a bar, scoping out the scene for a potential partner. Over the course of the fourteen tracks of “Marsoula”, the rest story can be discovered through Shakewell notorious catchy hooks and generational influenced funk.

No spoilers here, but the plot twist is not to be missed. Shakewell goes more into detail about the album.

Photo | Bryan Rapaport

Let’s talk about why your album is called “Marszola”

Emmett: It’s a play on words. We live in Missoula, we’re incredibly proud of that, proud of being Montanans, but also it feels like we’re in a different place sometimes, because we’re so removed from whatever else is happening in the rest of the world.

We talked about that on the radio, and how social media plays into that idea and your album.

E: Yeah, definitely. We’ve all spent countless hours of our social media, and are becoming more and more connected, but we’ve begun to notice we’ve become more desensitized and removed from our thoughts and feelings. We’re exposed to so many different opinions everyday.

So where can that concept be found in the album?

E: There’s actually a story arch that happens throughout the album.

Can you talk about the story arch without giving it away?

E: Yeah. Scene one there is a person, guy or girl, in the club or the bar, he sees a mate from afar and starts going on this trip in his own mind what it could be like to be with her. Further down the rabbit hole, he starts to imagine talking to her, making moves on her and she starts responding in a positive way, and they start dating.

Scene two, their in this relationship he asks for. Basically, it starts progressing. He’s having a relationship, we don’t know if it’s a real thing or not, and this is where it starts to become personal – she starts asking “Do you really love me?” if you’re leaving for weeks on end, to go on tour, even if it’s for the weekend. It starts getting negative.

Fast forward to the next scene where they’ve broken up, and he’s trying to get a hold of this person and wanted to let them know that they really did love them, and that maybe he wasted all this time chasing a dream that doesn’t matter.

The last scene is coming back to their senses in the club, noticing that person going through the same thing. It comes right back to the beginning of the story.

So the whole story could have been imagined.

E: Yeah. Throughout the whole story, technology is facilitating texting or how you talk to your girlfriend. So the whole thing becomes about how we communicate through technology and how it’s changing relationships with ourselves and with other people. It brings us together, but separating us from ourselves.

You mention how the girl gets mad at the guy for going on tour. That seems autobiographical.

E: Yeah. It’s hard to escape. Each person has a limited perspective. We’re constantly being fed these falsehoods – like people saying ‘look at Bruno Mars, he’s not being held down by anyone. He doesn’t have to answer to anybody.’, which is probably not true, but that’s the illusion that we’re being fed. It sells album, sex sells. It’s the world we live in, it’s hard to deny.

So does that concept tie into the album too?

E: There’s a song called “Can’t Stop Watching” it’s all about that you can’t stop watching TV, or your phone. It’s infatuating. We’re in love with ourselves, these glossy images of ourselves we post, or other people, but it’s not real. Everybody has a bad day, has a bad hair day.

These are pretty heavy topics for such an upbeat band.

Cove: You can argue that’s our way to combat that feeling. As a dance band, it’s hard to not want to make people physically move and party, but that’s the beauty of recorded music – someone can sit down, listen to your music and grasp that concept that you may not be able to portray as well live.

Trickshot: There are times that we’ll be playing “Can’t Stop Watching” and you’ll see a person on their phone getting a text from a girl. It’s so meta.

So where’s Shakewell going in the future?

Sam: We’re in it for the long haul.

So how would you like people to see Shakewell as?

S: We’re trying to make dance music and club music more thoughtful. Pop music has really gotten dumbed down, and it doesn’t need to be that way. Music is amazing like that, it’s so multifaceted. We’re striving to take full advantage of full breadth of – a song can be lyrically deep, harmonically deep and you can still get down to it.

So come for the dance music, stay for the message.

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