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Q&A: Shangrila discuss fear, love and change on Sophmore EP Analog Youth

Perth alt-rock trio Shangrila have had a huge year in spite of the global pandemic and recently unleashed their long-awaited sophomore EP Analog Youth, released 27 August 2021. This comes two years after their debut EP Love and Leaving with compelling singles ‘Fade Away’ and ‘Happy’ satiating fans in the meantime.

Analog Youth is a reflection on the journey into adulthood with introspective lyrics discussing fear, love and change. Produced by Shane Edwards (Trophy Eyes, Hellions) with the help of Cody Brooks, the EP has been supported by Spotify, triple j Unearthed and even Channel 7’s Friday Night Football.

We spoke with vocalist Devyn Jupp to learn more about the EP.

First of all, congratulations on the new EP! Have you been able to celebrate the release with the current COVID climate?

Thank you very much! We’ve been incredibly lucky in WA that the COVID restrictions on live music venues are basically a thing of the past, so we’ve managed to have a single launch for ‘Lift Me Up’ at Amplifier Bar which sold out and a packed EP launch show at the Rosemount Hotel as well. Celebrations were definitely had at both of them; the shows are such a nice pay off after a really tough year.

Analog Youth seems to be a metaphor for a sensitive group in the digital age and reconnecting with what is important by unplugging from content consumption. What does the title of the EP mean to you?

When we had the track list together for the EP, we had to kinda zoom out a bit and see what the songs represented as a collective. The overarching theme for the EP felt like a lot of reflection of moments growing up and moving through our youth into adulthood. Experiencing things for the first time and the lessons that stick with you from those early times carry so much weight as you grow older and having the spare time to reflect on them kinda just emphasised how important those moments are.

There are different sounds on Analog Youth to 2018’s Love and Leaving, with more produced songs and new elements. Was the process of making this EP different to the last?

The initial writing process is usually the same for all of our songs; myself and Jackson will come up with ideas and just send them back and forth until we have something that we are happy to take into the studio. We were lucky to have some added pre-production sessions over zoom with Shane Edwards where he threw some cool production ideas into the ring to lift the songs with those added 1 per cent moments.

We all work full time so the recording process was quite long because we would finish work and then head to the studio to record at night and rinse/repeat for a good month or so. We recorded with Cody Brooks this time around which was a great experience and it’s always nice to get a fresh set of ears in the mix. Once we had tracked everything, we sent it all back over to Shane in Thailand for him to work his magic and he absolutely nailed it!

You released the singles ‘Fade Away’ in 2019 and ‘Happy’ in 2020, which are both bangers. Were these songs a segue for this evolved style, and what influences did you have at the time?

Thank you again! I think every time we put our minds to writing new songs, we want to make sure we aren’t treading over old ground so we hope that each release is always a constant evolution and improvement from the last time. Our influences are always changing and there’s always a good chance myself and Jackson are listening to completely different music so it always makes for an interesting and unexpected blend.

The best track on the EP has to be ‘Lift Me Up’ and the wordplay in ‘Waiting’ is very clever. What inspired the lyrical content of Analog Youth?

I definitely wanted to make sure every lyric on this EP was thought about and made sense to the songs as a whole. ‘Lift Me Up’ was one of the more personal songs and was inspired by my own experiences but also a lot by a friend’s struggle, so I wanted to make sure there wasn’t anything in there that was dramatising or gimmicky in respect to the topics involved. As soon as Jackson sent me through the music to ‘Waiting’ it just sounded fun and had that quirky kinda vibe to it, so I knew I could definitely dig into that energy and throw a few little tongue in cheek references in about what the youths are up to these days haha.

I think the biggest influence on the lyrics is always the music for me. It’s really interesting how the moods of the tracks just shape where my brain wants to wander and I just let the music guide where the lyrics and melodies need to be. A lot of the time it just digs things out from my subconscious and I don’t really realise until the track has finished, but it always seems to tie back to a situation.

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