5 Minutes with…Shea

It’s the weekend and I though I would end the week on something a bit more chilled. The artist I’m interviewing today is a resident of San Antonio, Texas; Born in ’88. Shea’s production style is unique in the fact that by combining moody synths and percussion together, he creates a juxtaposed feeling on the track, sending out both warm and hazy vibes. Pool 7 is nothing short of a perfect example of experimentation. It was made in an Office, early 2015 by the producer’s QWERTY method (more below). Whilst listening to it I could almost imagine myself poolside in some american suburban home. Basically it’s a chilled track that you can really dive deeply into (pun?).

SC: https://soundcloud.com/shea-mcgilvray
IG: https://www.instagram.com/frotus/
SC: https://soundcloud.com/space-available

Interview

ZF: Your production style and sound varies across your back catalogue, how do you go about creating your musical concepts?

Shea: I made a huge portion of tracks at work in my office when I didn’t have other things to do. I mapped different mutes and parameters in Ableton to my QWERTY keyboard and recorded the tracks live, launching clips with the mouse. Sometimes I would upload a track with small mistakes in it because I had to leave work, and was using a trial version of Ableton that couldn’t save, so if I didn’t get a good take I risked losing the track completely. I guess the building would power cycle sometimes and of course that made me lose work. I eventually embraced letting the project files disappear and having only a wav file left.

The business I worked for recently shut down and I miss it. I even brought the keyboard home. To me, the broken methodology I used to make a lot of my past tracks went into the final sound. I’ve become more serious now, trying to have a minimal studio setup, and that’s fun, but I would be fine with just a laptop.

ZF: You pick very curious names for your tracks, are there any meanings behind them?

Shea: My tracks are kind of like shrines I guess. Sometimes it’s a window to a place that I’ve never been, like I’m making music as a means to get there. Other times, it’s a method of expressing or reconciling something that is true to me. I dream that someone could listen to what I made and feel the exact same wonder or pain or release that I feel from it. I guess the track name is a clue to what it means. I know there’s a strong delusional quality to this, but I think it’s necessary to try to believe in your own delusion, because it can become reality.

ZF: What key attributes do you think make you a unique DJ/Producer?

Shea: I live somewhere with no scene, so I don’t go to clubs. I have a few times, and I have played live, even organised a couple shows, but the best dance floor here is my suburban environment as I move through it. Where I live, everyone drives, but I made a decision a few years ago to walk, ride the bus, and bike as much as possible. It’s really hot here in the summer, and that’s when I listen to dance music the most, with sweat dripping down my earbud cords, walking on a concrete island looking at plastic debris.

ZF: What would say is your greatest achievement to date?

Shea: I can do a lot of chin-ups. My max was 17, but I’ve lost fitness since then because of some things that happened, but I think I will always be able to do at least 10. It’s a good feeling to know you can climb up a ledge if you need to. Either that or getting my music played on the carles buzz radio show.

 ZF: Can you describe the music scene where you live? 

Shea: There really isn’t a scene that I’m involved in. In 2014 I started trying to play live and get involved, but it’s a pretty bleak picture. There isn’t very much inspiring music happening. I did meet a few people and I’m grateful for that, and seeing people do something that I didn’t know how to do definitely inspired me, but I’ve never been active in a thriving scene. I’m just an outlier wherever I go. That said, maybe a healthy scene could grow here. It felt possible two years ago but things really changed. The bar with the most potential closed down.

ZF: What are you planning for this year, any new releases or gigs?

Shea: I do have a few releases planned for this year. I’m working with Echovolt and Motion Ward, and some other places also. I’m working under a couple aliases as well, which you can learn about in good time by checking my SC (if SC doesn’t go under). I don’t have any gigs planned right now

ZF: Could you name me 5 things you want to achieve by the end of year,
either personally or musically?

Shea: Publish a short story in the New Yorker, release music under my Space Available alias (which is the kind of music I’ve always wanted to make), eat at home for a month straight (one-pot wonders!, banana toast!), benchpress 100kg, teach my son baby sign language.

ZF: What is the best book you have read and why?

Shea: Letters to Emma Bowlcut, because it was the best key and companion I’ve ever known.

ZF: What is something that you couldn’t live without?

Shea: Swimming in secluded natural bodies of water.

Thank you to Shea for his time and music

ZF

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