Nonsensical Dream is the latest single from Aylesbury based metalgazing project Shockpowder, the British Shoegaze/post-metal project Shockpower was actually drawn to music at an early age, to him, music was something he wanted to be part of, and this became his driving force and propelled him to keep making great songs. The nonsensical dream is an unleashed energy.
Shockpowder is the latest take on post-metal, much in the vein of Alcest and Deafheaven but with more subtle references to explicit black metal and more references to 90s shoegaze such as Slowdive.
”To me, it feels like songs that elevate your senses. Every piece of music hits you with emotions, it’s what they do, but what I’m trying to do with Shockpowder is appeal to a set of feelings that you can only get when you’re really taken away from this world. Like a deep meditation. This will all inevitably be flavoured with my 90s rock inspiration!”
This is what Shockpowder had to say when he was asked about his type of music, he revealed this during a recent interview with Mister Styx of Musicarenagh. He later went on to say more about his music and revealed his driving force and the type of person he is when is not making music.
Get the full interview below
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What is your stage name
My stage name, or band name really if I ever find new players, is Shockpowder.
Is there a story behind your stage name?
I’m not really sure. I came up with it when I was 17 and can’t remember why! But it started to mean things as my sound developed. Now, I like to see it as soil from another planet. Like, there are so many planets out there, imagine a perfect planet that’s completely empty right now and silent, like an empty haven. Shockpowder brings you the soil! This is on par with my overall theme of dreaming, because these worlds you can imagine so vividly in your dreams. Shockpowder can also be perceived as dream dust!
Where do you find inspiration?
I always just really clicked with the Post-Metal scene, that idea of soft ambience really touching the deepest parts of you with this really heavy, brutal overtone that makes the whole thing seem almost spiritual and sombre in its message.
What was the role of music in the early years of your life?
Well, because I loved guitars from such an early age I always saw music as “that thing I want to be a part of”. So it contributed to my identity in so many ways.
Are you from a musical or artistic family?
My Dad tried to learn guitar when he was my age, although he grew up in South Shields in the 70s so it was generally seen as pointless to pursue creativity when you should be trying to get a better life through work. But, by the time I was born he was doing a lot of small roles in local plays!
Who inspired you to be a part of the music industry?
It’s hard to pinpoint any one person. I think when it comes to the concept of the music industry, it’s hard to know if you can really say you’re a part of it when you’re an independent musician trying to get your music into people’s ears. But the inspiration to be part of it just comes from knowing you’re a passionate musician and knowing that’s where passionate musicians get recognition.
How did you learn to sing/write/to play?
I learnt to play mostly in secondary school, but was trying to teach myself from quite a young age. As I learnt, I was always singing as well, so practicing the two skills in unison was a natural progression. Writing was also something I felt inspired to do while I did this!
So I just did all of this because it was natural behaviour when you really love doing something, before the big busy tidal wave of stuff hits you in later life and everything becomes about work! Channeling that feeling again when you write is SO important; writing not like a machine performing a task but a human being enjoying expressing themselves.
What was the first concert that you ever went to and who did you see perform?
I think the first one I went to was Opeth in London. It was amazing. Seeing a group of pro musicians, knowing who they are and what they’re doing, putting on a fantastic show like it’s easy and hitting you with their collective atmosphere. I miss performing myself! Maybe this year, who knows!
How could you describe your music?
To me, it feels like songs that elevate your senses. Every piece of music hits you with emotions, it’s what they do, but what I’m trying to do with Shockpowder is appeal to a set of feelings that you can only get when you’re really taken away from this world. Like a deep meditation. This will all inevitably be flavoured with my 90s rock inspiration!
Describe your creative process.
I try to either take a riff or chord progression I really like the sound of and run with it, or I get an idea in my head, how I want the song to sound and feel, and develop it with theory such as modes and inversions and whatever else to really bring it to life! Another thing I try to do is take music from my dreams. I think there is nothing purer that sound from dreams. It’s directly out of your mind, it hasn’t been twisted and pushed around by daily life yet. Shockpowder, being the sound of dreams, really lives up to its slogan this way!
What is your main inspiration?
I take so much inspiration from music that tries to paint a picture. Whether that be an entire ambience, with clever musical motifs that create a landscape of textures, or if it’s just really solidifying the vision of a story or feeling.
What musician do you admire most and why?
For a long time, Alcest has been my idea of perfect music. I like to imagine how the concept of Shockpowder exists in the world with Alcest and other great bands.
Did your style evolve since the beginning of your career?
Absolutely! For so many reasons. Even if it’s just hearing the same song I love again and hearing new things in it (which I find happens almost every single time) or practising so much that I normalise a technique and get a new idea for a riff or something from that. Then any time I heard a new song or band I really love over the years, that inspiration would inevitably get worked into my creative process.
Who do you see as your main competitor?
I don’t see music as competitive. I can understand why some would; you might see someone doing something really similar to you stylistically. But that’s the best time to collaborate and learn from each other!
What are your interests outside of music?
I’m currently doing a bit of voice acting, but I’m also really interested in computers. I’m learning about coding and cybersecurity, who knows how that will go…
If it wasn’t a music career, what would you be doing?
I can’t imagine it! I’ve always loved music. But the reality is I’m already doing other things for work, at the moment I’m a studio engineer, so probably just that. But in the grand scheme, as in pursuing a whole other life passion other than music, I was always good at languages, I used to be fluent in French, so maybe a French teacher.
What is the biggest problem you have encountered in the journey of music?
Everybody, musicians, the industry and the general public, are all still processing how much the internet has changed everything. It happened so quickly that all of my musical heroes growing up were operating in a completely different world to me.
For example, once upon a time, you’d disappear for a year to do an album, which a label would sign you up to do if they liked your live performances, then you’d reappear to release it and people would still remember you and pay money for the music.
Now, you have to constantly be in the social media spotlight one way or the other, always coming up with creative and engaging ways to talk about what you’re doing, always releasing fresh material, and even at the end of it, the only payment is people loving what you’re doing and appreciating you.
But, to be honest, I do it for the wonderful people who appreciate and listen to it more than anything else! So the pennies from streaming don’t bother me!
If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would it be?
I would want to see more wealth spread out over smaller labels and artists. The most creative and passionate people often never see the biggest mountain in music, the major labels I think there’s only a few now that own everything, and that’s where all the resources are. I’d love to see a world one day where music is valued again and people with a passion and a gift can dedicate their lives to music and not have to juggle it with other jobs bar being unbelievably lucky and getting onto a colossus of a label.
Why did you choose this as the title of this project?
It originally just sounded cool. I’ve panicked about the name ever since over the years, really worrying about where it came from and what people think of it, but it’s just a band name. Band names are never perfect. They change to the meaning you give to them with your music. And I still think it sounds cool.
What are your plans for the coming months?
At the moment, more of the same! Releasing fresh tracks, coming up with awesome ways to promote them creatively. Hopefully this year I find players to join me on stage but we’ll see. Either way, I’m very happy with the direction I’m headed!
Do you have any artistic collaboration plans
None yet! But who knows, I’m always trying to get myself out there with other musicians, open mics, groups etc. Hopefully soon!
What message would you like to give to your fans?
I don’t think I could ever put into words how important my fans are. All questions about meaning and purpose are satisfied for good when I hear from them and how much they enjoy what I’m doing. It’s why I do what I do. It’s what gives any semblence of life to the music I write. We’re all together!