After nearly 10 years of rhythmically seducing fans with an intriguing mix of flaring guitar riffs, poppy bass lines, punchy drum beats, and sultry Southern vocals, Alabama rock band Shallow Side is finally releasing their first—yes, first—full-length album, Saints & Sinners, on March 29. The new album will feature 10 original tracks that were produced by Michael “Elvis” Baskette (Falling in Reverse, Trivium, Incubus) and recorded in his Barbarosa studio in Orlando, Florida. Like previous EPs Home Today (2012) and Stand Up (2014), both heavily influenced by relationships and love lost, this upcoming LP pulls inspiration from life, liberty, loss, and just a hint of love—because what better connects all four concepts? Vocalist Eric Boatright marks this album as the one to truly place Shallow Side “in the category of good song writers,” and everything short of shy, explains why.
“When we first started playing music, I didn’t know what we were doing,” Boatright admits. At the time of Shallow Side’s formation in 2009, he was a recent high school graduate and lyrically inexperienced, he says. Writing music was new, as was singing against the reverberating beats of drummer Heath Fields and guitarist Seth Trimble. With zero intent of becoming a musician, Boatright recalls writing songs to express how he was feeling, similar to keeping a journal. But at just a mere 20-years-old, there wasn’t much to jot down aside from love and heartbreak. “The only thing going on in my life right then…were some pretty shitty relationships,” he laughs.
“I’m gonna do what it is I want to do and I’m gonna make it right for me. If you don’t [want to] fuck with me, that’s cool. You don’t have to.”
Almost 10 years later, at age 28, Boatright recognizes the early stages of his career as necessary toward his development as an artist. With each recount of a failed relationship, he recalls a growth and maturity that developed, both of which became apparent in Shallow Side’s transformative EP One (2017). The most notable difference between tracks from the 2017 release and Home Today shines in his approach: “[I no longer was] a helpless boy trying to gain appreciation from anyone who would listen. As I developed into my own world of adulthood, I was able to just start saying, ‘I’m gonna do what it is I want to do and I’m gonna make it right for me. If you don’t [want to] fuck with me, that’s cool. You don’t have to.’”
That said, he surprisingly not only accepts, but welcomes critiques and criticisms alike, and partly chalks up his musical advances to the thoughts, comments, and support (or lack thereof) from fans. And it’s not just their commentary, but fan’s perspectives on everything from lyrics to rhythms that help reshape each performance. You listen to their stories and it revolutionizes the song’s origin, says Boatright. So, the next time you perform, you’re potentially thinking about others’ interpretation of your music and how it’s impacted them.
And it’s that transformative mindset that Boatright believes contributes to one’s ability to become a “good song writer.” It’s also why the band takes time to carefully craft each track. Because they don’t select their best from a collection of tunes, they’re meticulous about every piece they create, from writing lyrics to writing melodies, and it doesn’t end there. “I am just as critical [of] other bands,” he says. “I’ll go through an entire album and not like the band at all. I’ll listen to every one of those damn songs to find the golden point.”
Contrary to what some might believe, pens, paper, and guitar chords does not a good song writer make, Boatright explains. It was through advisement in real time, the band learned how to strengthen their writing and recording processes. A blend of Baskette’s out-of-the-box approaches and consistent coaching led to their “gold nugget” songs, now known as their upcoming debut LP.
The band also heavily credits Red 13 Studios in Framingham, Massachusetts for allowing them to reach new heights with their music videos. Their latest and first of several to come was filmed for their recent single, “Sound the Alarm” and Boatright assures it is one that will entice the eye. Although the audiovisual speaks mostly on the perspective of who’s watching it, the yet to be release offers “appetizing for the eye balls” imagery. While a little seduction never hurt, the most important thing to note about the upcoming release is that it was created with fans in mind. “The audio paints a picture of personal gratification,” says Boatright. “But when you incorporate the video, we’re able to go a step further. You can [see] the story.”
Listeners can also anticipate upcoming videos for future singles, “Saints & Sinners;” “Drugs & Lust;” and “Hallelujah.” However, the album is scheduled for release before the drop of the second single. Until then, depend on audio versions to tell one side of a multifaceted story, where you as the listener, play a part in uncovering lyrics’ meanings—that is, until the video’s imagery takes over.
So, get ready for what’s to come: “Sound the Alarm” merely sets the tone for this debut that not only dubs Shallow Side as “good song writers,” but also as “good” performers, both of which will continue to improve over time.
“This CD is our flag in the ground,” says Boatright. “This is where we’re going to begin our full career journey moving forward as Shallow Side.”
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