This Is An Interview With A Band Called Adebisi Shank

Adebisi Shank are awesome! I got drawn in to them when I heard one of my favorite producers, J. Robbins was recording them. While I don’t rush to listen to every band J. does the second I see a link, I rushed fast since I liked that their name referenced one of my favorite TV shows of all time, Oz. I soon found a band that while sounding experimental and unique still had awesome catchy songs that I soon had in my head. I would recommend that anyone who loves bands like Battles, Braniac, or Parts & Labor to check out their tracks since they would probably like Adebisi Shank as well. Check out their Myspace or pick up their records here.

Is your name a reference to Oz?

> Obviously a band gives its name a great deal of thought and we
tried to give ourselves a name that best described the music we were
creating. Unfortunately we couldn’t think of one so instead we named
ourselves after a mad bloke in Oz.

What is the biggest mistake your group ever made?

MICK > I think our band have made so many mistakes but I guess
each one was a different learning experience so all of them were very
necessary to streamline and make better decisions. I guess the biggest
mistake was getting ourselves into a lot of debt to fund our wild ideas
at the start, It’s almost paid off now though.

What is the smartest thing your group has ever done?

VIN > Jamming with Satan at the crossroads.

MICK > Recording with J (Robbins) was such a great experience
and probably the smartest decision we’ve made so far, he really brought
a lot to the table and it encouraged us to believe we could achieve a
lot more than we originally thought possible.

You guys have an awesome unique sound what are some of the pedals/instruments that you are using on your latest recording?

MICK > We’ve just finished a new recording for a limited edition
single that was recorded in Ireland but mixed by J so I’m not sure if
you mean that or the album we did in Baltimore with J. I guess the
common thing among both is the root guitar bass and drums. Most of the
time its just that setup with effects on the guitar and bass. The guys
don’t have too many pedals though. I guess the Line 6 DL4 is used a
good bit, a couple of cheap octave pedals, a boss loop pedal. We also
got to use the amazing gear that was in J’s studio like his vintage
tape delays and the plate reverb that sounded so nice we just wanted to
put the whole album through it!

VIN > Cheers! On the last recording we had a sax player from
London called Pete Fraser come over and blow his horn all over it. The
result is up on our myspace and if the focus groups are to be believed
it’s got at least 15% more stank on it than usual. Other than that
we’ve used a toy pig, a Nintendo DS, chips(french fries, not crisps),
bananas, a cement mixer…if it can make a noise, we’ll try to play it,
fail, and record it.

How does an Adebisi Shank song come together?

pretty much different for every song, but we’ve tried pretty much every
process imaginable at this stage from starting acoustic to using
computers and everything in between. But at the end of the day every
song is finished by jamming together in our studio in Wexford.

VIN> A moment of inspiration followed by several of constipation.

What is the coolest piece of gear you have come across recently?

a voice changer I got for 11 euros in Maplins. That or Spotify. We’re
sending each other 3 or 4 playlists a day here, it’s pretty intense.

MICK>A Barney the dinosaur phone we opened up and messed around with the make him sound bizzare.

What is something you should bring on tour that most people may not think of?

VIN>A sense of humour. And facewipes. Lots of facewipes.

MICK>A long uplifting book, It gets pretty boring sometimes
waiting in venues, but you definently need it to be an uplifting book
or you can get pretty down.

You are from Ireland and traveled to America to record how did that come about?

was really all necessary, we settled on really wanting J Robbins to
produce and it just made sense to go to his studio in Baltimore to get
the best result. Its also exciting to travel and works out cheaper than
hiring a studio in Ireland which is ridiculously expensive in Ireland

Tell us something you learned from your last recording experience?

last recording was two tracks for a split single we did, we had a
professional Jazz musician (and friend) of ours come in to record
Saxophone ; he layed down his tracks in pretty much one take. It
sounded awesome and was so precise. I guess what we learned from that
is the more prepared you are for a recording, the more time and money
you will save and the less stressed you will feel.

You recently recorded with J. Robbins can you tell us how he contributed to your recording and what you learned from him?

In terms of pure sonics, I could actually spend the next two days
listing the things that he contributed…but aside from the technical
aspects, he contributed boundless energy and enthusiasm which helped us
a lot because we’re boring bastards who hate everything.

What is a piece of equipment you can’t live without? And Why?

I’d like to think that we could live without any equipment…when we
started the band we had no amps and barely owned instruments and if
anything it helped us focus our songwriting…we had all come from
previous bands where the gear was god, and the attitude was kind of
like “Cancel songwriting today, the plug for my flux capacitor is
broken”…in a lot of ways, gear can strangle your creativity…or
should I say, obsessing about gear can strangle your creativity…I
mean, you can write a song while walking in the park if you want to.
They’re out there, those songs. In the park. Floating around.

One of my favorite things about you guys is the “vocal” sounds what are
you guys using, a traditional talk box or something else?

Well we have a few different things that we like to use for vocal
stuff, but the main one I guess is the humble Peter “like I do”
Frampton talkbox yeah. It’s pretty sexy.  Despite the fact that you
basically have to deepthroat a garden hose to use it. Or maybe because
of that fact. I dunno.

What have you learned songwriting wise recently?

learned the top secret trick that Abba used to make their songs so
good. Obviously I can’t reveal it to you but if you see us sporting
matching beards and jumpsuits any time soon you’ll know why.

MICK> We’ve learned that songwriting needs to be as fun as
touring, it can become forced very easily and the result is noticably
worse. A relaxed calm and fun approach is essential.

Will we get to see you guys in America soon?

MICK>We really hope so, we’re currently looking for a US label
so I don’t think we’ll be over until we get one, we’re back to Japan in
October and hope to do a big tour next summer so we really hope we can
take in the US at that time

VIN>Hopefully. We’re gonna do a new record this year and sail the seven seas. Watch this space!  <      >

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.