Bethan Shuff || July 2016
'Stoke’s music scene is erupting' – Jamie Cartlidge, frontman of Stoke band, Shimmer Trap.
Jamie and I sat enjoying a pot of tea at Costa as I discovered that Shimmer Trap is a little volcano about to do just that - burst through the scene and erupt into absolute chaos.
University is usually the place where you go to study your passion, meet new people and get exceptionally drunk with the money you don’t have. For Jamie Cartlidge, Matt Talbot, Kieron Devine and Josh Jeffrey, university was much more than that. To these 4 lads, university was where the story of Shimmer Trap began. The boys met at Edge Hill University around 4 years ago, but didn’t think of playing together until their 3rd year of studying. They’re all into the same kind of music and, looking at their idols, the determined band thought, ‘If they can do it, we can do it. Let’s have a go.’
Jamie tells me that the name of the band was taken from an Arctic Monkeys’ B-Side – Blond-O-Sonic Shimmer Trap. The band was called Blond-O-Sonic for a while until they decided that Shimmer Trap sounded better!
Being at university made being in a band pretty easy; Shimmer Tap were able to use the universities facilities for rehearsing and recording for free whenever they wanted. When everyone moved home post-uni, Jamie said that everything became ‘8x harder’ as he is the only Stokie in the band. Josh is from Manchester and Kieron and Matt are from Burnley, therefore I figured that, since the band members were so far apart that the writing element would be pretty difficult. Jamie disagrees; he writes everything and creates a demo on the iPad, which is then sent to the other lads to give their opinions and add their own personal touch.
Their latest creation is an EP called Kemosabe, which is also the name of the first single that has been released from it. Shimmer Trap have had some great feedback and the track has already had some airtime from the likes of BBC Radio Stoke. Sound-wise, the lads wanted to create music that would get played a bit more and grab peoples’ attention, ‘the old stuff is dead fun for writing and playing, but it wasn’t getting played as much as we wanted it to’, says Jamie. This time they’ve stepped it up to see where it gets them.
The second track from the EP is entitled Take Me Away, on which Psyence’s drummer Joe Walsh plays drums for them. Jamie draws inspiration for his song writing from being back in Stoke and the idea of a change of scenery. This time, their alternative-rock sound is influenced by bands such as Sunflower Bean and the classics like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, however, Jamie says that these bands don’t reflect Shimmer Trap’s sound. He believes that a bands’ sound ‘shouldn’t go on what you’re listening to, it’s what you project through listening to all these different things… you don’t want it to be like ‘it sounds like this because I’ve listened to this’ it’s because I’ve listened to them collectively’. This time Shimmer Trap have recorded the EP with Sam Bloor at Lower Lane Studios who has also had his input production and sound-wise, which Jamie said has really helped in that aspect.
The final track on the EP is an electronic remix of Kemosabe – that’s going to mix it up a bit! This has been created with the help of 10 O’Clock Chemical’s Rhys Oakes. This is going to set the EP apart from past works and add an innovative and unique edge.
The EP launch will be hosted by Rebel Bear at The Exchange on 29th July. Shimmer Trap have chosen the line-up themselves with the likes of brand new outfit Dead Rabbit, 10 O’Clock Chemical as well as Callaghan being rumoured for the bill. I’ve also been told to expect crazy things! I’m talking UV paint and cosmic light shows here guys.
Shimmer Trap’s calendar is looking pretty nice so far; the EP, a gig in Newcastle the following day, a show at The Ritz in Manchester in August, another at Verve Bar in Leeds with Double Denim Live, the following night back in Manchester and the possibility of a gig at the O2 Academy, Islington in London! Keep an eye out for tickets!
Jamie is an ambitious and determined young lad, and recording with Shimmer Trap isn’t the only project he’s got going on at the minute. Gray Wolf Records is another little endeavour that Jamie is helping to establish, where they hope to provide Stoke bands with a record label that shares the same drive and passion as the band’s they’ll be signing. A soft launch was completed on Saturday 18th June, but during the EP launch, Jamie plans to make Gray Wolf Records a highly regarded and well-known name in Stoke. He tells me that ‘Stoke’s music scene is erupting. The past 12 months have been massive! There wasn’t really anything before and now we’ve got all these new bands coming in and making it harder for everybody else, but it’s been great for counter-culture!’
Another project that Jamie is venturing into is that of another band! After seeing Jamie scouting out a psych-rock drummer off social media, I decided to ask what this was all about! On Tuesday 14th June, Jamie went to see Brian Jownstown Massacre and got chatting to Cal Locker, a former member of the Stoke band, Poliptik. Turns out that the boys have some similar interests and are hoping to come together to form an interesting group that Jamie hopes he can bring some ideas to, something ‘quite different to Shimmer Trap’. You heard it here first...
Gray Wolf Records, set up by Jamie and Callaghan member Grant Foster, will be officially launching on 29th July as they release the Shimmer Trap EP on the label. Anyone at The Exchange for the launch will be given a free copy of the EP KEMOSABE