Allison Shaw sits down with indie pop band, The City and Horses and talks musical influences, emerging technology in the industry, and upcoming projects for the band.
Each song has a different sound to it; if you were to describe your band how would you describe it? Yeah, I would love to be a one-sound band. Like, you listen to a shoegaze album and it’s shoegaze from start to finish. I love that. You know what you’re getting. But I also love so many different styles of music that I just can’t help myself. Our new album runs the indie pop spectrum. There’s disco on “Shades,” mojave 3 mellowness on “Berlin,” 90s indie rock on “Drag,” straight up Belle & Sebastian on “New England,” and Stephen Merritt melodrama on “Seltzer.” The common thread, I’d like to think, would be the slightly askew lyrics and simple melodies. And my warble. You can always tell it’s me singing.
Did you find yourself looking to your influences to shape your sound? Oops, I just covered this in the first question! But, yes, I wear my influences, at least musically, on my sleeve.
What projects are you currently working on? Tours, new music, music video? Since we have a new album coming out, we’re trying to get a bunch of music videos made. A few of us have full-time jobs, which makes touring impossible but we are going to be doing a bunch of NYC/Philly area shows to celebrate. And we’re planning a covers EP of soul songs!
How do you feel about all the emergence of technology into the music space (i.e social media, Spotify, virtual reality)? Anything that gives people easy access to as much music as they want is a good thing. Of course, that means any possibility of making a living off music has been obliterated but that’s why we have day jobs that keep us from touring. Honestly, the more people who listen to us, whether they pay or not, the better. So, add us to your Breakup Songs playlists on Spotify!
Social media is obviously wonderful for interacting with fans, though Facebook has made itself obsolete when it comes to bands. Yeah, we post stuff to it but because we have to pay to reach more than 5% of our fans every time we post something, it’s now an afterthought. At least for anyone who’s not a major corporation. Instagram is where it’s at but since it’s now owned by Facebook, that’ll probably change.
Virtual reality gives me a headache so I can’t comment on it, but it sounds neat!
Is there one song that is the most personal to you, inspired by events that every time you perform it you can feel the emotion of it? There’s a song called “So” off the new record that is so explicit in its details of a romantic breakup that anyone who knows me is probably made uncomfortable by it. The whole album is basically about this breakup (and the role my struggles with OCD played in it). The chorus is a group vocal with all of us in the band belting out, “why’d you do me so?” So, yeah, it gets pretty intense.
Bonus question: If you could have lived in any decade, which would it have been and why? I’m obsessed with the past. Not even history. More like last week or last year. I just want to go back. Always. But the greatest decade in the history of mankind is one that most of us did have the luck to live in: the ’90s. Nirvana and hip hop blew the lid off things in the early 90s. Seinfeld reinvented the sitcom. I French kissed a girl for the first time and got a violent stomach flu as a result. It doesn’t get much better than that. Plus, we had Bill Clinton who, for all his philandering faults, lead our country through relatively prosperous times.
Allison got her big break in the music industry by writing for MTV/Vh1 where she interviewed everyone from Prince, to Elton John, Lenny Kravitz, Blink 182 and many more. From there she started Hyperactive Music Magazine that went national. Shaw then produced several big festivals and went to work for Rachael Ray’s Entertainment company. Shaw started Manic Monkee MGMT which manages bands and does brand strategy for all kinds of brands in music/tech/consumer products and aligns brands with events. The company also produces events. Shaw is also on the Board Of Directors for non-profit music charity Sweet Relief. Follow her on Twitter at @manicmonkee.