Hidden Shackles Spotlight - "Jessie’s Vocals Steal the Show!"
The buzz around Hidden Shackles is reaching a fever pitch as they drop their latest single, "I Feel Alive," setting the music scene ablaze with their unparalleled fusion of Northern Soul and Rock melodies. Fronted by the incomparable Jessie, whose vocal prowess is the stuff of legends, this band continues to captivate audiences far and wide.
Their journey started in the shadows of local venues, where Jessie and the gifted guitarist Harry rebelled against the status quo, birthing Hidden Shackles—a musical revolution in the making! The wait is over as brand new single "I Feel Alive" makes its grand entrance, unveiling a new facet of Jessie's mesmerizing vocals, stunning audiences with its release. But let's not forget their previous hits like "Elevate" and "White Collar Lies," which already set the stage on fire, amassing over 26,000 plays on Spotify and dominating airwaves from the UK to Canada and Spain! Hidden Shackles weaves potent, politically charged lyrics into their tunes, striking a resounding chord with their ever-expanding fanbase. And when they hit the stage, it's a seismic event—an energy that surges through the crowd, leaving a trail of excitement in its wake. In an industry stifled by conformity, Hidden Shackles emerges as the catalyst for change, the voice that refuses to be silenced. With a sound that defies labels and a message that resonates with raw power, this band isn't just making waves; they're forging a legacy! Indie Boulevard had the exclusive opportunity to sit down with the band, delving deeper into their music, the new single, and their future plans.
Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. It's fascinating how you evolved your sound from acoustic covers to this daring blend of alt-rock with Soul and Punk. What inspired the evolution of Hidden Shackles' sound from their earlier releases to "I Feel Alive"? How does this new song encapsulate the band's growth?
Hello! Thank you so much for listening to our music and taking the time to ask us such brilliant and thought provoking questions. It will be hard to answer them concisely but we will try our best! I think life inspired the evolution of the band. We started the band a few years ago in a darker chapter of our lives where our main focus was on global issues which is reflected in our now removed 2020 EP. Although this is extremely important to us still, as we have grown these last few years individually and collectively we have developed more confidence and freedom to express ourselves and our own experiences. ‘I Feel Alive’ reflects this as it is about celebrating life and growth, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Jessie, your vocals have been described as the band's secret sauce, and it truly holds true. They are deep, rich, and blend harmoniously with the bass guitar you play. How do you believe her vocal style shapes and defines Hidden Shackles' music, especially in 'I Feel Alive'?
Arw thank you! I often get told that my voice is unexpected and doesn’t match my appearance which I think can be our wild card. I think when you initially hear ‘I Feel Alive’ you would probably expect heavier rocky vocals however when you hear Jessie’s soulful vocals you are instantly taken by surprise. We recon this will be what makes us stand out in the Alt Rock scene.
"I Feel Alive" is described as a song born from personal experience, aiming to uplift listeners. Can you delve deeper into the message behind the lyrics and its connection to personal growth?
Ooo blimey, how long we got? To keep a long story short, the song reflects my (Jessie’s) healing journey. I have experienced many layers of darkness throughout my life and a few years back I hit my lowest. It was a scary and lonely time but I managed to build myself back up and now after a few years I can genuinely say I have inner joy and peace. There have been many revolutionary shifts in my life however the most important one is the relationship I created with myself. I know there are so many people out there feeling how I felt or struggling with their mental health in some way and I want to provide hope that things can change. The first step is to be kind to yourself.
Your music often carries empowering and sometimes politically charged lyrics. How do you balance delivering a powerful message while ensuring the music remains accessible and enjoyable?
Hmmm not sure really… I guess we keep the rhythm upbeat and catchy whilst layering heavier lyrics on top to avoid listeners becoming deflated by the topic but rather empowered to find solutions.
Could you shed light on the songwriting process within the band? How do you collaborate to create music that resonates both lyrically and musically, especially in a track like "I Feel Alive"?
The process in which we write songs usually starts with a guitar based riff or hook which I (Harry) then record and write a structure around. If Jessie likes what I’m recording she will start singing a melody and writing the lyrical foundation - she’s great at storytelling! From there we tweak the structure etc until we are happy. We’re currently writing a lot of new songs and trying different approaches to songwriting which is really interesting. Instead of starting with a guitar hook, we have been writing songs based around vocal melodies Jessie has come up with or ideas from spontaneous jams.
"Elevate" and "White Collar Lies" received praise and widespread airplay. In what ways do these earlier successes influence your approach to creating new music?
Yeah the feedback has been amazing! I don’t really think it has influenced our new music as we are still cultivating our sound and exploring all dimensions, however the feedback is allowing us to approach our new music with a focus on making it more enjoyable to a wider audience.
FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT
Let's talk about the music-making process. Which moments or stages in creating music bring you the most satisfaction and joy? Maybe it's that moment when you first hear an enchanting harmony, or when all the instruments suddenly fall into a perfect rhythm?
For me (Jessie), it’s the melodies that come out of nowhere in my head, normally when I am alone in the kitchen and I have to quickly find my phone to record them - they feel special like a shooting star from the collective consciousness that I channel and hopefully make into a song. Sometimes they are one liners and other times they are fully fledged songs. When we have a fresh idea which we all really connect with, we find this very exciting as progress can often happen quickly and there's a good buzz around that idea. Having that song ready for release is such a great feeling too because you can hear how that idea has developed over time. Once you have that master ready for release it is a very rewarding feeling.
Live performances often allow for spontaneity and unique moments. How do you engage with the audience during your performances, especially in conveying the empowering and emotionally charged messages found in your music?
This is something we are still developing and gaining confidence in as a band full of introverts. At the moment though Jessie keeps people hooked by her expressional and theatrical performance which mirrors the powerful messages in our songs. We have an electric stage presence which the audience feeds off making it a magical experience. We want everyone to feel included and part of a community, and ultimately we want everyone to remember their individual power and embrace what makes them different.
Where can one catch Hidden Shackles live for the rest of this year? Are there any scheduled concerts for 2024? What about the new album?
Sadly we have played our last gig of 2023. We are spending the rest of the year writing more new songs and planning out 2024. We have a few festivals and gigs booked for next year which we will be announcing in our newsletter and on our social media
If your band had a totemic animal, what would it be and why?
Haha good question, I like the idea of being a shapeshifting hologram as choosing one type of animal is hard! However, according to google, the Crow is the ‘carrier of souls from darkness into light’, which sums up our current trajectory and goals so we’ll go with that!