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SHEHEHE: Friendship is Love

For the current issue of Slam Alternative Music Magazine I´ve written a (German language) story about the US Punk formation Shehehe. The Athens based band has just released a new, cool record called Pet Sounds via Gunnar Records For the story I did a long interview with Shehehe - those parts that didn´t get into Slam for space reasons can be read here:

Otti:
As far as I get and understand your lyrics there is a lot about being young and having fun within. On the other hand, what are the deep and thoughtful moments on Pet Sounds?

Jason:
I know the lyrics can be hard to absorb, cause they kind of assault you, then the next song hits you right away, but I truly believe that the entire record is very deep and thoughtful. It definitely sounds like a feel good record, however the reality is that it is about feeling every emotion imaginable as a musician and human. I´ll just go ahead and choose our tiny three minute mini punk rock opera titled Schookid / Wonder Years as a standout deep / thoughtful cut on the album. The first half is about being on the cusp of becoming really good friends with someone. You start to spend some meaningful time together then they suddenly leave this world, leaving you wondering where a person like that goes and hoping to someday realize the potential of your friendship together. The second half is about seeing your unborn child for the first time and hearing their heartbeat and realizing that, although you’ve just lost someone, you are about to gain a new tiny someone, a new potential friend hopefully and that this is how life works and creates some sort of balance.

Shehehe: Pet Sounds
"The lyrics are about experience, contemplation and emotion..."

Otti:
And how much sarcasm can be found in some of the "happy songs"?

Jason:
Honestly, there aren’t any really lyrically happy songs on the record. Sonically the record is upbeat and a fist pumper for sure though, so it can be deceivingly happy in nature. There also isn´t really any sarcasm on the record, except for possibly the chorus "I was a teenager" on the second to last track, which alludes to other songs throughout punk history that start with "I was a ...". In that respect it is more of an homage than sarcastic. The lyrics are about experience, contemplation and emotion, that is where their hidden power partially originates. Wait that might be a bit sarcastic, but hey, i can be a little sarcastic in an interview right?

Otti:
What do you think and feel about being a young human being in the current pandemic times?

Jason:
Young human, that is very sweet of you, I´m just gonna relish in that statement and let someone else handle this one.

Nicole:
In the beginning I was concerned about how much suffering was happening and how much was unknown about the virus but at the same time, since the whole planet was facing this threat there was something more comforting there. Like we are all in this together and we are going to get through this. As time goes by, I have been more disappointed in our leadership, maybe more than ever before. This is a great test in patience and really has driven home that you just don´t know what´s coming next. I´m a planner and have learned to just sit with the fact that I can´t plan for much right now. Instead, it´s been nice to be more present with my daughter and husband, so there is this odd home bliss happening as well. The feelings are pretty messy but I think there will be some positive changes that come out of this pause for me and hopefully the planet.

Otti:
Looking back in your lives: How did you musically grow up and what inspired you to start your own music career?

Nicole:
I have always connected with being a music lover, growing up on reggae and classic rock, as a teen I devoured rock biographies and documentaries. I was inspired first by grunge, enthralled with bands like Nirvana and The Breeders soon after I discovered punk. I loved it! I stumbled on a used record labeled "New Wave" at my local tiny record store. It was somewhat of a mislabel as the bands featured on it such as Patty Smith, Richard Hell and Voidoids, The Damned and the Ramones were definitely different than what I would consider New Wave. I found the music exciting, emotional and a little dangerous. I bought a guitar and never played it, I started going to shows and getting into fun kinds of trouble instead. The scene was both inviting and violent in South Florida where I grew up, kind of hard and easy to be a part of, but It felt of a raw energy that I thrived on and at the time needed. I am still inspired by many friends and artists from that era. It´s like it felt nostalgic while it was happening, if that makes sense. This feeling is part of what I draw from when singing and playing in the band. Noelle and Jason are amazing bandmates and I feel humbled to be able to be inspired by them. I have tapped into some killer vocal parts, because they are also screaming their asses off. In a similar way I feel humbled and inspired by the bands we play with, from which I have learned so much and the people who show up to rock, dance, sing along and support us at our shows. This sense of co-creating with my bandmates, the bands we play with and the audience is why I have been so connected and dedicated to this project.

In the song Down The Stairs we shout "I´m young, I´m old, I´m young, I´m old.... I´m young, I´m young, I´m young"
This is a good example of a place where I personally tap that emotional well, letting in that past nostalgia to help feed a great vocal part.

Jason:
I grew up loving all kinds of music from seventies soft rock to reggae to basically everything. However, the seed of wanting to be a musician wasn´t totally planted until I started going to a bunch of shows when I lived in Gainesville, FL in the 90´s. Only played a touch of guitar back then, but definitely was an appreciator. Then I lived in Chicago from 2001 to 2006 and worked at the legendary rock venue The Metro and got to see so many great bands from all over the world, being immersed in music all the time. Still I didn´t really start playing till I moved to Lake Worth Florida in 2006 and rented a house from my best friend. There just so happened to be a drum kit in this house and I just so happened to be in a relationship that ended soon after moving in, so I put on the headphones and played along with whatever I could get my hands on. Then my buddy and I started a band and the rest is history. Been in a few bands since, but none as long as my ten year tenure with this lovely mistress called Shehehe.

Noelle:
Being the youngest member by a few years, my musical upbringing was a little different than Jason and Nicole, but I think that´s what makes our sound what it is... that we all come from different backgrounds. I did a lot of drama and chorus growing up, but I also got to grow up in this retail store my stepdad owned, which was the epitome of counter culture and art. All the pierced, tattooed, mohawked employees had a hand in my upbringing and introduced me to bands I probably wouldn´t have found on my own until much later. Bands like the Sex Pistols, Ramones, Joan Jett, Bikini Kill, Buzzcocks, the list goes on, but I felt something in those bands that I connected with. I also grew up in Athens, and at the time i was about 15, there was a fantastic hardcore scene, so I would go to shows and just see these friends of mine expressing themselves in a cathartic way that was so pure, and I saw my friends in the audience reacting to it and getting something they needed from that performance that seemed important. I´ve played instruments and sang all my life, but I think seeing that specific interaction was what really planted the seed in me to become a live performer in the touring musician sense. Shehehe has been such an unexpected part of my life. Even after 10 years I can´t believe we get to do what we do, and I could NEVER have told you this is what the past 10 years would have been like for me.

Otti:
Who have been the people ("famous" as well as private) that helped you to grow up and survive in this world so far?

Nicole:
At the top of the list of people who have helped me grow and survive are my grandmothers, my friends - some old and some new, my husband who inspired me to get back into nature and play music with him and if I had to pick one famous person it would be Jane Goodall who always seems to be a voice of reason in a chaotic world.

Jason:
I don´t believe I will ever grow up. I have kind of created my own path using music as my guide, meeting so many wonderfully influential bands and people along the way. Sorry I can´t really get specific with this one it is an overwhelming question for me. Maybe i´ll just pick someone famous, how about director Jon Hughes and my super creative best friend Jon Glassman and my wife and kid and other family and friends, ok now i finally give up on this one.

Noelle:
My parents, they instilled in me from an early age an attitude of resilience and that anything is possible. My mother is one of the most loving, generous, kind people in the world, she and my stepdad are both smart as f*ck, and motivated, and I really had the opportunity to march to the beat of my own drummer, because of the environment they created for me growing up.

Otti:
What is your opinion of idols and the need for them?

Nicole:
I don´t know if I idolize anyone, but do I enjoy having people to look up to and be inspired by. I have learned that everyone is human and there is almost always a backside or let down. Everyone has doubts, fears, missteps, and a past. I am still learning, that sometimes the people you look up to, change and sometimes they need your compassion, and sometimes the tables turn and you become the inspiration.

Jason:
Idols is a very strong word with some negative connotation for sure. I believe in liking things and being a fan of things from all over the spectrum of life. Just cause someone or something is famous doesn´t mean, that it is better than the fantastic band you go see on the regular at your local watering hole. I think if it helps artists to continue to make art by idolizing them and being idolized a bit then there is no harm in perpetuating the desire for more art and creation as long as it is done with respect for the humans involved.

Otti:
And to end with something positive: In your words, what is the meaning of real friendship?

Nicole:
Friendship for me is being aware that we are walking this life together, that we are interconnected. I have several close friends that don´t live nearby. I have some friends where we can always pick it back up no matter what and I love them dearly. I also want to recognize that at any time new friendships can form, that are very important, but the older I get, the more I need to pay attention to those opportunities. One thing I didn´t realize about touring for 10 years is that as a band we would form these wonderful friendships with folks that I definitely wouldn´t have had the opportunity to get to know so well. We typically hit up the same towns and cities yearly (adding a few new ones when we can) and now we mostly stay with friends or friends of friends. We have shared amazing late nights, where I have laughed harder than I can remember and bright early mornings, big breakfasts, gas station antics, afternoons at the beach, we have met people that love to graffiti dicks on public property, bands that love psychedelics, we´ve friended clowns and comedians, we´ve friended school teachers that play punk rock on the weekends, we have played houses with big skate ramps and some of the best DIY spaces in our region. The experience we have had as a touring band has been so dynamic and at the very core it´s built on friendship.

Jason:
Real friendship is everlasting, no matter how much time you get to spend together. It is the influence you let people, people you get to know enough to love and be a part of your life´s journey, have on you and vice versa. Friends are the ones that are with you the most in body or spirit form, the ones you make music with, travel with, have experiences with, all without judgement. They allow you to be your uninhibited self, for better or worse, but mainly for better, friends are love!

Noelle:
Friends are the people who support you, even though they may not support every choice you make. Friends challenge you to become better and uplift you, when you feel like you can´t be better. True friends are always there for you, no matter how much time has passed. Friendship is LOVE!

Nehr Infos:
www.facebook.com/sheheheband

Art des Interviews: Email
03.11.2020 by Otti
SHEHEHE in unserer Band- und Künstlerdatenbank

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