Scrolling through TikTok one day, I was hit in the face with dark, brooding horns and then…the vocals. I was floored. What is this villanesque jazzy ska darkness of sound? I present to you, Soviet Shiksa.
Contacting the band for their music, I wanted to know who they are. I had a chance to get the know the band and to learn some insight on their new (for my show) music in an unadulterated, unedited interview. Make sure to check out Soviet Shiksa, their music and always #spreadtheloveformusic by sharing the music you love!
Tell us a little about the band, where are you from? How did you meet?
Soviet Shiksa started with me putting together the structure behind the Sex, Death and God EP series. Once I had a general outline of that, I knew what kind of songs Id have, and I knew what kind of band Id need. I had originally wanted to have a band from Nashville, TN called The Daily Howl be my backing band. Unfortunately that didn’t work out, however I did get their drummer Aaron Cates on board. I incorporated a bassist I had known from another Nashville band called Damned Rivers named Ricky DeMeo and built from there. Madden Purcell was the first horn player I acquired. A craigslist find, and he assembled the horn section consisting of himself, Collin Higgs on Saxophone and Kyle Gyenes on Trombone. Eventually I was able to recruit Matthew Cates to handle my guitar parts live and in the studio going forward. Another member of that band The Daily Howl and Aaron’s brother. After that original EP series was recorded and released, I was free to write songs and compose ideas outside of that original box and that’s really where and when Soviet Shiksa was formed.
What kind of music would you describe your sound as? Who are some of your musical influences?
I tend to describe the band as Southern Gothic Nightmare Jazz. We’re from the South, but we’re not folk or country. We have that flavor in us regardless of how much we incorporate it into our creative output. The nightmare jazz handle is more of an expression of the conglomeration of influences and ideas involved in creating this music and less of an on the nose description of the actual musical influences. Ncik Cave, Tom Waits, Morphine, Modest Mouse, Pixies, Marilyn Manson and Mr. Bungle would all be major influences on what Soviet Shiksa is and will be.
Let’s talk about the newest single “Lover”.
Tell us what the song is about and what inspired the song?
Lover is the most recent original song Soviet Shiksa has released. Lyrically its about a woman, who’s going out, looking for a good time behind your partner’s back. Its heavy, dancy and dark. As far as inspiration on that one goes, it’s a common theme at shows we play. People going to dive bars looking for something they don’t have at home. Sometimes they find it. More recently, we released a cover of the Pixies song “Hey”. A perfect song we had no chance of improving upon, but an important song to me none the less.
How does the collaboration process work as far as writing/composing music?
The collaboration process starts once I send demos of the songs to the folks in the band. They have the skeleton on the song presented to them. The structure, melodic ideas, lyrics and themes are all ready for them. Its kind of like the process of creating a comic or a graphic novel. I write and draw it, but they ink and color. They enhance with their flavor, style and personal influences and lift up what was originally my song and turn it into a Soviet Shiksa song.
How does it feel when you put all your hard work to the test and perform live? Do you have any crazy
performance band/fan stories?
Playing a song on stage is the ultimate test. We have songs that I think are some of our best, but they don’t work on stage. And we have songs I don’t really think are all that good that seem to kill on stage. At the end of the day, when you’re a performer its not up to you when it comes to how your art and performance is perceived. And you have to roll with the reception and the perception and evolve and grow. We’re still relatively young, green and naïve when it comes to being a live band together. We’ve all collectively played hundreds if not thousands of gigs in other projects in a variety of ways. Soviet Shiksa gigs can be anywhere from chill, intimate experiences to rowdy, unpredictable bouts of weirdness. Ive been accosted by members of the audience for being offensive on stage. A casual bar goer might be offended when they see me eat pages out of the bible. We’ve had fans come at us with aggressive sexual advances. But for the most part, nothing too crazy. And if there was something too crazy, I probably wouldn’t share it here.
Let’s shake it up a little. Tell us some strange facts about the band, that virtually no one would know.
Well, no one knows what the band’s name actually means. Aside from me that is. But lets see, strange facts that might intrigue a listener… We came close to recording a funk EP under the name of Christopher Shawn and the Ladykillers during Covid times, but it fell through. I have demos of some of those songs and they might see the light of day at some point.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2023?
The rest of 2023 will be incredibly quiet. We have 1 more writing session but that is it. 2024 will be an incredibly busy year by our standards. We plan to hit a big handful of cities we’ve never been to. We are also releasing “Ghosts”. A 3 part EP series. We will be releasing one song at a time. The first 3 songs will be released on the following dates…
But alongside those 10 songs, a new book entitled “Ghosts” will be released as well as some new merchandise and maybe a new music video or two depending on schedules and budgets. A busy new year for Soviet Shiksa.
By: Not the Girl Next Door Show/Angela Mockbee
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Written by: Road Dog