How Indie Band Shark Week Got to Play SXSW and CMJ

Posted by Kathleen Parrish on Dec 19, 2014 10:00 AM

Shark WeekPhoto by Austin Crittendon

With surf, '70s punk, garage rock, and pop influences, Shark Week's sound is creating waves. After tackling both SXSW and CMJ, the Washington, DC-based group has been continously broadening their horizons, and are now preparing to release their first full-length album, Beach Fuzz. Frontman Ryan Hunter Mitchell spoke with us about the recording process of Beach Fuzz, how they got major festival opportunities, and what lies ahead for the band.

You're releasing your first full-length album Beach Fuzz this coming spring. What can we expect?

It's kind of a culmination of the past couple of years playing together. Sometimes bands work on an album and it's kind of conceptual from the start with a whole album in mind. For us, we have a lot of new stuff, but we also reworked some old songs. "Desire," our opening track, has been around since the beginning. But in the other direction, we're trying some slower stuff on the record which I think comes out pretty cool. Don't worry  we still play the slow stuff pretty sloppily, so it still sounds like us. I guess.

What was your experience like recording Beach Fuzz? Would you do anything differently in the future?

Next time we do an album, it would be nice if we could just hole up in a nice studio on a beach somewhere and explore the songs for a month or so. Bring in a bunch of musicians, fashion photographers, models, pizza, and babes everywhere. And then come out of a haze four months later with a rad record pressed. Otherwise, we'll probably just do what we did this time and write stuff in Dan [Newhauser]'s basement.

You've been selected for CMJ and SXSW through Sonicbids, which is fantastic. How did these opportunities arise?

Well, we had a little bit of buzz off our first EP, and we threw together what we thought a press kit should look like (photos, media clips, etc.) and applied to SXSW through Sonicbids, and they accepted. That kind of dominoed into CMJ, and we've been back twice now and are planning to head back to SXSW in 2015. Getting those gigs has been crucial for us, because at each festival, we've been able to get our music to a wider audience and meet other folks in the music game who have been helpful in getting us to where we are now.

What's your favorite thing about using Sonicbids?

Sonicbids is great, because sometimes we just sign up for random shows when we have an open calendar and forget about it. Then a month later, we get accepted for some random county fair that has a built-in crowd and pays pretty well. It gives us a bunch of cool one-offs that we would've never played without Sonicbids.

What's next for Shark Week?

We'll have the album out in the next couple months, then hopefully a West Coast tour in the spring. We've got to get away from this East Coast cold. We try not to think too far ahead, so the spring is as far as we can imagine.

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Topics: sxsw, cmj, Sonicbids Success Stories


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