Sheffield bunch Sheafs are starting 2020 as they mean to go on: with an adrenaline shot of sharp-eyed punk in the form of new single, ‘Total Vanity’. Confronting “our fascination and consumption in relation to self-image” head-on, it was produced by Dead Nature/Spring King’s Tarek Musa and Jonathan Hucks, and arrives as an early teaser from their upcoming EP ‘Vox Pop’. Lawrence Feenstra (vocals) and Chris Goodacre (guitar + backing vox) tell us more about their band.
Hey guys, how’s it going? Sticking to your 2020 resolutions?
Lawrence: Good, thanks. The resolutions have near enough all died a death as usual!
Who are you all, and where did you meet? Whose idea was it to form a band?
Chris: So there’s myself (guitar/backing vocals), Lawrence (lead vocal), Charles (guitar), Charlie (drums) and Cal (bass/backing vocals). I think Lawrence and myself had the initial conversation about starting the band.
We met through various means at Sheffield Hallam uni – I think there’s a photo knocking about from a gritty club called Corp years before the band started of Lawro and Charles.
How would you describe Sheafs’ vibe?
Lawrence: We have been labelled as ‘post-punk’ in the past, we try to soak it in energy and attitude alike. Imagine walking into a loud room of common sense.
We hear you’ve been recording with Tarek from Spring King, how did that come about? Have you been having fun in the studio?
Chris: We’ve done a few sessions with Tarek now, and he’s the coolest bloke going, really fun to work with. Cheese toasties and Magnums were a regular sighting in the studio.
We met him at a few festivals when we were both on the same line-up, and then we fired him an email asking if he was up for recording us. We’re big fans of his production style.
Tell us about your new single, what’s ‘Total Vanity’ about?
Lawrence: The song is predominantly about our fascination and consumption in self-image and acknowledging the strain of that. Consequently, the song also proved to be quite a self-reflective process in finding a sound and style that was original.
How representative is it of the rest of the EP?
Chris: I’d say ‘Total Vanity’ strings together a few of the influences on the EP – it kinda sits in-between tracks ‘Thinking Out Loud’ and ‘Care Less’ from a musical point of view.
Vocally, Lawro’s verses are killer, and it captures a theme that runs throughout the whole EP, Vanity/Caring Less/Self Esteem.
What’s your songwriting process like?
Lawrence: It’s fairly unique; Chris is very good at capturing a vibe, he’ll demo up a riff and transform it into a full instrumental demo. It then gets brought into the room where drums bass and a second lead guitar will get layered on by Charlie, Cal and Charles before I try and lay down lyrics.
What else are you working on at the mo?
Chris: The track ‘Thinking Out Loud’ has really opened up some doors creativity wise so I’ve been writing loads of new bits in that vein.
When that track came in, it was clear it had a really strong vibe, so to carry that on has been great. We’re working hard in the rehearsal room as we speak before our tour starts in March.
What do you guys do for fun?
Lawrence: Eating out is becoming a borderline addiction at the moment. It’s something that happens far past the point of being acceptable. That, and we’re also football fans.
Are you creative in non-musical ways too?
Chris: On a personal note, I do the band’s artwork, so that’s a nice way to express myself in a non-musical way. I look up to the likes of Andrew Savage from Parquet Courts, who is a great writer/artist.
Who do you think is the most exciting band or musician around right now?
Lawrence: Right now, Fontaines for me. They caught something in their debut, which is great. It’s a good sign of the times as it seems bands with a voice are actually breaking through.
Sheafs’ debut EP ‘Vox Pop’ is out 6th March. They’ll tour the UK from 4th March.