Q&A Interview: SHIM

SHIM is the limitless partnership of vocalist Emily Taylor and producer Will Smith.

The alternative duo, which hails from Cambridge and Essex, formed while studying music at university.

Having instantly bonded over a mutual love of indie, pop and alternative sounds, the shimmering two-piece have already released a celebrated debut EP and garnered praise from presenters on BBC Radio.

After embarking on a brief hiatus, in a bid to further hone their synth-driven sound, Emily and Will have returned with their debut single, ‘cool (things i do)’.

We caught up with them to speak about their latest output, how they approach the writing process, and what they have planned for the rest of the year.

What was SHIM’s first foray into music?

We sent each other demos back and forth and were excited about the music that we created.

We ended up turning them into fully formed tracks and SHIM was born.

Lyrically, what is ‘cool (things i do)’ about?

In short, ‘cool (things i do)’ is about trying all these things to impress that one person you look up to and it all just generally seems to go amiss; but you still keep on trying anyway.

It’s not a feeling that is particularly liked, but it’s something you can’t help but do.

At the same time, you think that if you finally impress that person, you’ll also be the one that’s looked up to – not only by them – and considered, I suppose, ‘cool’.

‘cool (things i do)’ is your debut single – how does it feel to finally have your first official single released?

It feels pretty special, we knew that this was going to be one of our favourite songs as soon as we started writing it.

We’ve been sitting on this track for some time now.

It’s transformed and altered over it’s course but we are so happy with the final result.

We can’t praise Faz Farestvedt enough for his mix of the track – it was great to get an outside perspective of the song to push it to that next level.

‘cool (things i do)’, does, however, follow the release of your debut EP The World Is Too Big.

In what way does your new single, and the tracks you have planned for the future, differ from that initial body of work?

We think this track is more definitive of who we are as a band and really encapsulates the sound that we want to create.

Although we still love the debut EP, ‘cool (things i do)’ is definitely more mature in terms of the songwriting and soundscapes.

Our other tracks that we’re currently working on follow that pop-orientated sound, with an experimental edge.

Between the pair of you, how does the writing process work and more specifically, how did ‘cool (things i do)’ come together?

Will usually comes up with a basic demo consisting of guitars, drums, bass and keyboard parts.

Emily then toplines over the track and we both usually come to a conclusion of whether we want to progress with the track.

For ‘cool (things i do)’, it started in that same way, we continued sending the song backwards and forwards until we had a completed draft of the track.

It really started to come alive when both vocals were added – they really complimented the track and added to its progression.

Seeing as there are only two official members in the band, how will your music translate to a live environment?

We have played live a couple of times already in a band set-up with guitars, bass, drums and vocals, playing along to a backing track.

We would love to expand the band though and develop our live set further, that way we can integrate live synthesizers into the performance creating a fully live and immersive show.

When performing live, will you aim to stay as true to the recordings as possible or will there be room to be even more flexible, musically?

It’s definitely a lot of fun to add different aspects into a live performance every now and again, whether that be song altering or just a slight shift – it’s what makes a show unique to the audience.

Generally, we will most likely stay close to the recordings in terms of structure and tonality, but each musician will definitely be encouraged to put their own spin on the tracks – it all rests on the vibe on the night. 

If you could describe your sound in just three words, which three would you use?

Captivating, ethereal and reflective.

In my opinion, your latest release seems to merge the traits of both Wolf Alice and The 1975 – but who would you say influences you and in what way does that seep into your music?

Wow, they are two big influences for us so thank you.

We are both influenced by a whole range of artists from across various genres, everything from The Beatles and Blondie to Frank Ocean and Bon Iver.

So, I think that partly bleeds into our music but we also try to create something that excites us and sounds new and fresh; like something we’ve never heard-of and yet didn’t know we needed to hear.

What sets you apart from other bands currently performing and releasing music in Cambridge?

The Cambridge music scene is absolutely brilliant and there are an array of really amazing bands dotted all around the county.

On top of that, we’d like to think that we bring something new and exciting to this scene, and hopefully outside of the county too.

There are only two of us which leaves a lot of room for experimenting with our sound, and a lot of room to bounce ideas back and forward.

We have such a diverse love for music which cultivates satisfying, new, and classic twists to the songs we write.

Our music can be described as being nostalgic and familiar, yet completely different and unheard-of all at the same time.

What does SHIM have planned for the rest of the year?

For the rest of the year, we are going to focus on developing our brand, releasing and promoting new singles, and writing new songs.

We’ll also be arranging to play some live shows locally so that we can connect with our audience on a whole other level and hopefully gain some more amazing close friends and listeners for SHIM.

To find out more follow SHIM:




Q&A Interview: SHIM
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