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Interview: Sharks

Since forming in 2007, Royal Leamington Spa's SHARKS have gone from strength to strength with relentless touring throughout the UK and two EP releases with the most recent being the late 2010 release, 'Show of Hands'.

Late last year the band announced they were joining up with Rise Records to form an imprint on the label called Velvet Scene. Now in 2011, the band have plans to cross the Atlantic and make a name for themselves Stateside, with the release of a compilation called 'The Joys Of Living 2008 - 2010' followed by touring with Social Distortion and Chuck Ragan. Whilst the band will be on the Warped Tour all summer.

Alter The Press spoke to vocalist and guitarist James Mattock about how the band joined up with Rise Records, the Velvet Scene imprint, the forthcoming 'The Joys Of Living 2008 - 2010' release, their plans for the rest of 2011 and more.

Alter The Press!: You ended last year on a high with the release in the UK of 'Show of Hands' and the announcement of your partnership with Rise Records. First of all how has the response to 'Show of Hands' been?
Sharks: It's served the exact purpose we intended for: the second stepping stone towards our full length and the reach out to more and more listeners. It was very much due time for a release at that point and I think it's a very good all-round summary of us as a band. It received mild but really positive acclaim I think, we couldn't have hoped for more.

ATP: Could you explain what the partnership between you and Rise Records entails, as you're releasing material through your own label Velvet Scene?
Sharks: Velvet Scene is just a way for us to keep things unique and separating Sharks from the pack. By no means are we trying to disassociate ourselves with Rise as a label, they have been fantastic. it's more to do with disassociating ourselves from certain genres and standing alone.

ATP: How did the relationship between both yourselves and Rise happen?
Sharks: They got in touch with us directly a couple of years ago actually, so I guess they've been watching us grow and that's a good thing. The main reason we're working with these guys, and same goes for anyone who works with us, is the amount of passion and enthusiasm they showed towards Sharks. They've been completely understanding and cooperative with the way we want to go with things and how we want to portray our band, we couldn't refuse the deal in the end, it was just a no-brainer; a win-win. I'm really glad to be putting the record out with such nice people.

ATP: With Rise Records' roster being criticised in some circles, were you worried or have any second thoughts about joining with them?
Sharks: That's how Velvet Scene came about, because we were concerned about our band being portrayed in a wrong light. Roster aside, Rise are clearly a strong and successful label. They want to touch on a more Punk sound and we're honored they chose us as a branch.

ATP: The first release on Velvet Scene is a collection of old material called 'The Joys Of Living 2008 - 2010'. How did the idea for the release happen and would you agree it is an ideal release for fans outside the UK?
Sharks: All our releases so far have been really limited; some are only available on vinyl, and some only came out in certain parts of the world. So to sort of tie up these loose ends and put a close to the pre-album chapter, we thought it'd be nice to give people a chance to get their hands on a more solid and obtainable release. Rise were happy to pursue this idea; and to make it a bit more exclusive, we recorded 2 new songs.

ATP: For those who are unfamiliar with Sharks. How would you describe your sound?
Sharks: High energy Rock n Roll music reminiscent of the British Punk explosion.

ATP: By signing to a US-based label and producing a non-UK release, it seems that the band have their sights set elsewhere. What do Sharks have planned for their UK plans?
Sharks: It feels like 'Show Of Hands' really only just came out over here, so we feel making this a US-based release more necessary, and the introduction of Sharks in another market. We're looking forward to sort of fucking-off for a while as well to be honest. We've toured the UK a lot for a band with no album. When we get back we hope to record a full-length and start headlining tours around the UK.

ATP: Can we expect further releases later this year?
Sharks: We're determined that our next release with be the full-length but I can't see it coming out until early next year. We're on tour for the whole summer but by the end of the year we will be recording.

ATP: What are your live plans for the coming months? Will you be balancing your time on both sides of the Atlantic?
Sharks: We're going to play a couple of UK dates before we leave, but we're in the US from April to August with Social Distortion and Warped Tour. Then we head home hopefully some UK festivals when we're back.

ATP: Can we expect non-Sharks releases on Velvet Scene?
Sharks: I think Rise are going to continue to branch out into other musical areas; whether they want to push VS any further I'm not sure, it's early days. But that would be awesome, I hope so.

ATP: Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Sharks: Is there anything else you'd like to say?

'The Joys Of Living 2008 - 2010' by Sharks is released through Velvet Scene/Rise Records on April 5th.

SHARKS on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Tumblr.

Photo Credit: Jordan Curtis

Sean Reid