Shy Luv

Music’s antidote to 2017

Sam and Jake from Britain's most optimistic electronic band, Shy Luv, make music to make you dance.

1 year agoText by


Good friends and producers in their own right Karma Kid and Armeria have long been known on the scene, with a back catalogue of music enviable for their age. With a desire to take their sounds to new heights and having decided their two heads were better than one, they formed Shy Luv and have been colliding their music tastes to huge effect ever since. With backgrounds in dance but a passion for the indie sounds they grew up on, Shy Luv was the result of bringing in these influences together, putting the kick back into the indie disco that died on the Barfly dance-floors back in the 00s. Sonically, their style is an amalgamation of different genres but what each of their tracks has in common, is its feel good factor – every track is written to dance to. Whether it be the the grooving, euphoric track ‘Joy Rider‘ or Radio1 playlisted ‘First Fires’, it’s 4 minutes of pure escapism from whatever the world keeps throwing at us, and quite frankly, we’re welcoming it with open arms.

Now signed to Black Butter, accruing two new members and a second EP on the way, Notion got a chance to talk with the duo about becoming a proper band and the nostalgia in bringing back fun music.

Phie: I’ve had a sneaky preview of your new EP due out later this year and it’s sounding pretty big. What were you hoping to get from this new one?
Sam: I guess with this one we wanted to explore the different elements to our sound and I would probably say it’s a bit more mature. As we’ve started writing music together more and more, I guess our music and songwriting is [becoming] more mature.
Jake: The stuff we have been listening to is always changing, like every six months, every year or so we’re listening to brand new stuff. So coming from a production background, I think we’ve made it a lot more about the songwriting with this EP whereas the last one, the production was always at the forefront. We still want to try and showcase that and create interesting soundscapes, but the songwriting is really important.

Is that because you wish you’d been more of a band over a production duo?
Jake: Now we have got a bassist and a drummer as well, it becomes a lot more whole, and you want to emulate the music that you write. I think we’ve been sort of aiming to do that when it’s just me and Sam in the studio, we just want to recreate the sounds [but] with four people being able to play it.

Now you’re thinking of a foursome as you are writing?
Jake: Not necessarily as a foursome, but as a band, because we want to slowly build it up in time and get more people involved, and be a more interesting live experience.
Sam: We’re thinking about a bigger sound I guess. A bigger sound with every release that we make.

What was the main reason for you wanting to create a band and make that bigger sound?
Sam: I think we have been involved in music from a capacity with the public for 5/6 years now between us so we’ve seen a lot of things, a lot of trends come and go and there’s a hell of a lot of production duos around now.
Jake: That’s what we’ve also been but we wanted to break out of that a little bit.
Sam: [And] try and experiment with sounds you wouldn’t expect to hear from people with a dance music background I guess.

Now that you’re in a band, it means that have to put your face to it a bit more…
Sam: We have come to realise that, yeah. When we first started, we were quite adverse to being at the front of it and stuff like that, especially as we said we’d never put our face to the music.
Jake: But we did it. Basically, it’s been a big learning curve for us as it’s very easy to hide behind the DJ decks of your cool artwork – you’re doing something a little more low key, without looking an idiot. You’re going to look more of an idiot if you’re uncomfortable on camera you know, or on stage. We’ve grown to accept it’s a performance we’re doing and we want to bring people into what we do, and we’re not really bothered if they feel uncomfortable watching our hips move weirdly (laughs).

I’ve heard you are great dancers.
(Both laugh)

That’s the rumour that’s going around guys.
Sam: We’re pretty shocking. If you can’t hack it, don’t come to a show you know.

I want to go back to your new EP. I think it sounds kind of more upbeat than your last one. Were you coming from a different place?
Sam: When we were making songs, back in the day, before the first EP came out, it was always ‘maybes’ as to when we’d possibly be playing live one day. We’d write songs with live in mind but it was never the focus. But we’d just come off the back of a big run of dates this year and coming down after that and coming back into the studio, [we] focused on the way that it’s going to sound and be portrayed live. That’s been a big one.

Jake: I think we started all of the tunes within the same week which was nice because we had a spare couple of weeks where we were just locked in the studio and thought ‘Right, we’ll go silent for a bit, come out with some really good tunes’. Me and Sam locked ourselves in for a couple of weeks, got a bunch of tracks together. I guess that’s the running theme – it all came from the same kind of headspace.

I think it feels very connected like it was written in a short period of time.
Jake: The first EP was written across like the US, London, Manchester.
Sam: Like a long period of time.
Jake: Actually, the first track on the last EP we made like four years ago.
Sam: The good thing about this one is that we are still super excited about it. It’s really fresh in our minds; nothing is over 2 months old really.
Jake: It’s all quite new which I think is rare because usually, you’ll be sitting on tracks for god, a year, a couple of years sometimes and you end up hating it. This is fresh off the press, nice to be able to stick stuff out which is present in our minds.

Is that due to your label Black Butter, or are you putting more into it?
Jake: The label has been great in letting us develop, and letting us put out the music we want to make. It’s been a long journey of developing our sound and they have been with us all the way. It’s a huge factor in that we have had the leeway to do it and they have been very responsive. Super enthusiastic. Because they are an independent label, they have the final say, we have the final say. It’s a nice working relationship there, we don’t feel like we are compromising the music. I feel like we’ve been coming out with the best product each time from the songs we have been delivering. Also, as time has gone on, we have gone through so many different sounds over the years and to come this year, homing in on a few different vibes we’re channelling in the music, it’s been a lot more focused this time and we have given ourselves tight deadlines to do it.

You’ve recently just played your first headline show. Since your music straddles a few genres, I was interested in your fanbase. When you were playing, did you notice any tribes or groups within the people that come to your show?
Jake: Not really, it just felt like there were a lot of people our age, a lot of people that are a bit younger. I guess it attracts people that just want to have a good time. I don’t think we’re trying to have a target market; we want young girls to like it if they want to like it, we want adults to like it if they want to get into it… OAPS… (laughs). We haven’t noticed a trend with it; we just love seeing people sing along to it.
Sam: Every show we’ve done, especially the headline show, there’s not been anyone stood still I guess. It’s about people getting involved with the music. There’s a philosophy that we have got which is, if they see us having a good time and dancing badly, then it invites them to do the same.

Considering the time we are in, perhaps your style of music is what is needed.
Jake: I think that’s exactly what we’re going for, [to] kind of conjure nice feelings and nostalgia.

Shy Luv play London’s the Courtyard on October 5th. Get tickets here.
Phie McKenzie is on Twitter.