January - Shyaway
I heard a copy of "Hard To Believe It", Shyaway's most recent release, and I liked it a lot, so I wanted to check them out live. Unfortnately, the band was going through some lineup changes and weren't doing any live shows for a while. I finally got a chance to see them early last month, and everything that I liked about the album, I liked even better live. I caught up with Tim McCarty (guitar, lead vocals), Zach Broshears (Drums, vocals), Mark Liljehorn (bass), and Steve Smith, (guitar) to find out about the band. Keyboardist, Brian Botsford was unable to participate in the interview.
SCS: How and when did ShyAway first form as a band, and how long has the current lineup
Tim: ShyAway was the name of a solo project I did in 2000 but the name stuck and the current
lineup, which is the best band I've ever played with, has only completely
been together a few months. Steve joined in about October, and before that we
all been together about six months. I've played with Zack off and on since high school
and with Mark since college.
SCS: How would you define your sound to someone who's never seen or heard you?
Tim: That's always a hard one for me. Not because i want to sound immodest or
overly original, but because I feel we truly cover quite a few different categories
of rock, but all seem to fit our overall style.
Steve: I would say it's a mix of late 60's rock and modern rock.
Zack: Currently our music is evolving due to our changing lineup, and to put a label on
it now would suffocate that evolution.
Tim: Ahh...well put.
SCS: How would you describe a ShyAway show? -- If people come to see you live, what
can they expect?
Zack: People should expect an energy driven good time.
Tim: Lots of variety rock-wise, and songs that are fun but painstakingly pieced together.
Steve: I think people get a show where the music is produced well, and your going to be
able to hear the singer. This band does a great job of keeping everyone's part where they need to be, but not overpowering Tim.
SCS: What types of music and which musicians/groups influenced the band members?
Mark: Jazz, Blues, Jam, experimental.
Tim: And Brian would probably say the same? But throw in lots of piano-based rock.
Steve: I started playing the guitar when I was eight. I started learning to read music.
Therefore, I learned a lot of stuff from Mel Bay books and classical music books.
My dad was really into Chet Atkins and Old School Country so I learned a lot of
stuff like that. I think my playing style probably reflects that. However, when
I got into high school I started to learn a lot of Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, and Metallica. Pretty much anything hard rock or alternative.
Tim: I'm a huge Beatles fan, but I think any songwriter post-1963 has to be,
don't they? At least for the type of stuff we do. Our music is very Beatles
inspired, but I listen to all kinds of stuff mostly in the rock and roll category.
For a time I listened to lots of modern British rock- Oasis, Coldplay, Radiohead,
Travis- and I still do. Very melodic. But lately I really dig the Strokes new
stuff. Built to Spill, Bright Eyes, Jon Prine, Cash, U2, White Stripes.
SCS: Which do you prefer, writing/recording or live performance?
Mark: Live performance, 100%. It keeps you on your toes, keeps it fresh, feeding off
the crowd, you know?
Steve: I don't have a lot of experience with live performances except for playing in talent
contests and different things when I was younger. However, when I start thinking
about the two I think I would prefer live performances since that is where you
deliver the music to the people. Playing in front of thousands of people that really
like your music I think would be awesome.
Tim: I'd have to agree. I really dig playing, and especially when folks are
into it. Writing is a whole other process, enjoyable in its very own way. Studio
time can be great or miserable.
SCS: Tim, I know you pretty much write the songs yourself, but how does the process of
working them out go, do you come in with a finished product, and beat the other
band members with a stick until they play it exactly the way you want it.
Or is it more collaborative?
Tim: Lately its been a bit more collaborative. I'm a self-proclaimed perfectionist,
so if I don't hear what's been in my head for weeks it may take me some time to realize
someone else's idea may be just as good or better. But for the most part, I have the
song structured in my head and the guys fill it in. Sometimes I know the riffs and breaks
I need, and everyone is cool about playing them. Not only are they cool with it, but they
have the talent and ability to do so which I can't say for lots of bands I've played with.
I'm really thankful for this group of guys.
SCS: When did you start writing songs, Tim?
Tim: In high school, but those will never see the light of day, and you should be thankful.
But I didn't get serious about it until about four years ago.
SCS: How have the band grown, musically and creatively, both since the band first started, and since the recent adjustments to the lineup?
Mark: I feel that as we get to know each other more musically, we can take more freedoms
in our music. The music doesn't sound forced, but rather it comes across more natural,
Tim: I agree with that. For one thing, our musicianship has grown drastically in the
last two years, due mostly to lineup changes. Mark has always held down the beat
with a solid bass line, and he and Zack compliment each other very well. Brian
is quite simply an awesome musician. Steve has been an excellent addition. I
have always wanted to play with a good lead player so I didn't have to play many leads.
We found him. Playing with good musicians is nice for me because I don't have to be as
good. Creatively we've got much more to work with and we are evolving.
Steve: I think the music, at least from listening to the band before Bryan and I joined,
is a lot stronger and fuller musically. I think we both add a lot of color to the music.
SCS: Does it feel like starting over again, I mean obviously you've got a lot of
songs, but do you find you have to establish yourself again?
Mark: Were we established to begin with?
Tim: I agree. Because our music is constantly evolving, and for the better, additions
or changes to the band don't really feel like starting over although no one wants to
take 3 month breaks before playing gigs.
SCS: What was your first local show?
Mark: We played the Brass Rail about two years ago under the name Mustard, and only Tim
and I remain from that lineup.
SCS: What was your most memorable live performance and what made it that?
Tim: Probably playing in a bakery in Lexington about six years ago- my first show with a band
called Playing in Traffic. Just because it was my first time really singing in front of anyone.
SCS: What's your favorite song of yours to play live?
Steve: I really enjoy playing the song "The good life". I think the songs brings a lot of energy
to the stage, and is just a cool song.
Mark: Box of Watches. I just really like that song all around.
Tim: I'd have to go with either Box of Watches or Get Along.
SCS: What things have you learned and could advise to newer local bands?
Mark: Listen, watch, and learn from others. Don't be afraid to change. Don't copy what another
band is doing, take it and make it your own.
Tim: Yes, and don't jump into band cliques or whatever they are. You know, bands that
only play with certain bands. And play the opening show now and again. Sometimes I'd much
rather go on first.
SCS: Who are some local bands or musicians that you admire or feel should be recognized?
Tim: Tangelo puts on a good show. Good music.
SCS: Yeah, they're one of my favorites too. What do you like and dislike about the music scene in Lincoln?
Steve: I think a lot of people prefer to hear cover songs, rather than original music.
Tim: I wish there were several more decent venues to play that draw a steady crowd. And
that more people were truly interested in local music.
SCS: Your last album, "Hard To Believe It" is really well done, where, and by who, was it recorded?
Tim: We recorded it in Kearney at Upper Room. A kid named Aaron Graddy engineered and, and we
produced it. Recorded all the tracks in two days and mixed it the third. That's why the production
sounds really lo-fi, but you do what you can for the money you've got.
SCS: I don't think it sounded too lo-fi. When do you expect your next album to come out?
Tim: I'd like to think we'll at least do a very good EP in the next nine months or so.
Spend lots more time on production after having played live for a few months.
SCS: Have you ever stolen a riff?
Tim: Not intentionally, but I'm sure it sounds that way at times.
Steve: I try not to, but when I'm playing I find that I'll play something that sounds like
I've heard it somewhere else.
SCS: Who are your guitar heroes?
Tim: I'm not really a guitar fanatic per se. It's just a really great tool to get my music
out, and I love to play. But if I had to pick my heroesthey'd probably be Townsend, Hendrix,
Vaughn, Clapton, and Noel Gallagher.
Steve: I really like technical guitar playing, not so much like glamour guitar, but stuff
like from Joe Satrianni, Kirk Hammet, Gary Hoey, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. I find
that music today lacks technical skills when it comes to guitar playing.
SCS: What song would each band member like to cover the most?
Steve: "I Ran" by Flock of seagulls just popped in my mind. I went through a big 80's phase
a year ago, and I think that's like my favorite song from the era. Currently the song "Stacy's Mom"
(by Fountains of Wayne) seems to be a song that would fit well in our style. It's a little more pop
rock than I like, but it's a catchy song.
Mark: Ain't it Funny (How Time Slips Away)by Willie Nelson.
Zack: I'd like to cover David Bowie's Major Tom. (Space Oddity)
Tim: Maybe Pinball Wizzard by The Who, or Leon Russell's version of Hard Rain, if not for any
other reason than to make Brian learn it but it's a great song.
SCS: Who do you think is the most underrated artist in the music industry?
Steve: There are so many good musicians that do not make it and so many that aren't that do.
I guess off the top of my head one of my more favorite bands recently has been Breaking Benjamin.
They put on a good show and their whole album just is awesome. I can't believe these guys don't
get more air time.
Mark: Too many to list.
SCS: Who/What do you think is the embodiment of evil in the music industry?
Mark: Lip sync bands, bands that are made of performers and not musicians.
Steve: The record industry.
Tim: Rap-rock bands, cover bands, and rap-rock cover bands. Oh, and mediocre musicians
made into media fodder on t.v. shows. Pretty fun to watch, though.
SCS: Who was the first person or band you saw that made you want to play music?
Mark: Grandpa Bruce's Sons of the Soil.
Steve: Since I started so early in life, there wasn't a particular band at that time. I started
playing for my parents and then as I got older appreciated the ability of playing the guitar.
Tim: My dad, strumming to Puff the Magic Dragon.
SCS: What was the first album/CD you bought?
Mark: I really don't remember.
Steve: Fat Boys "Crushin" was the first tape I ever bought (pretty embarrassing, now). My
first CD was Queensyrche "Empire".
Tim: Probably something by Bon Jovi, circa 1986. It took years for me to realize that was
inappropriate behavior. I own all their albums up thru about 1995. Grunge finally saved me
on its way out.
SCS: Whose music are you listening to right now? What other bands would you recommend people check out?
Tim: Built to Spill. My friend turned me on to them a year ago. Also, I've been digging some old
Leon Russel stuff recently, after seeing him live here in Lincoln last month.
Mark: Galactic, Morphine, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Medeski Martin and Wood, Diana Krall,
Ben Folds, U2.
Tim: Oh, and everything Mark just listed...that makes me sound much more well-rounded.
Steve: I listen to a lot of stuff from the band "Cold". The last CD I bought was from the band
"Shinedown". I saw them this fall at the fair, and thought they put on a good show.
SCS: List off you top five albums of all time.
Steve: Pearl Jam: Ten
Stone Temple Pilots: Core
Nine Inch Nails: Pretty Hate Machine
Guns N Roses: Appetite for destruction
Zack:Radiohead: OK Computer
Pearl Jam: Ten
Coldplay: A Rush of Blood to the Head
Beatles: White Album
Mark:Dave Mathew's Band: Crush
Herbie Hancock: Headhunters
The Dave Brubeck Quartet: Time Out
Hendrix: Are you Experienced
U2: Joshua Tree
Tim:Beatles: Rubber Soul
Pearl Jam: Yield
Oasis: Definitely Maybe
Jewel: Pieces of You
SCS: What single song, in the entire history of music, do you most wish you'd written?
Steve: All Along the Watchtower
Mark: At Last, by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren (performed by Etta James), or anything
out of Zappa's catalog. Or Hermaphrodite Dog...wait, I did write that one.
Tim: Here, There, and Everywhere, by Paul McCartney...or In My Life by Lennon.
SCS: What can we look forward to in the next year from the band?
Mark: Great music.
Tim: A tighter, better stage show and new music that shows our growth.
Zack: I'd hope to see more articulate and intricate music from Shyaway in the next year.
Shyaway will be appearing at Knickerbockers on January 15th, check 'em out!
- Tery Daly