A play on the word “shoulders”, Shouldies as a name reminiscences kid-powered rewording, the “strawbabies” and “roast beasts” of childhood. As an electronic outfit, Shouldies relies less on the whimsical and more on the surreal.
“Statue”, their first recorded material engineered by Esar Tehrani, emits a palpitating smokiness. Yancey Ballard’s talk-singing is a strong instrument on its own, building intensity with John Pierce’s use of MicroKORG and Daniel Eberlein’s programmed drums and bass synth. With a sound surprisingly full for a three piece, Yancey’s sprechgesang, like a haunting early Modern Lovers’ Jonathan Richman, provides a post-punk edge to John and Daniel’s synthwave foundation.
“When I wrote this song I wanted the act of everything to be stripped away. I was tired of the whole performance of touch,” he explains. “I wanted someone to touch my skin with no intention. With something pure and perfect. I think of the repetitive verses in a mocking sense.”
Craving a different creative current, when Yancey and John dissolved their long time project, Man Up Yancey, they were exhausted of relying on traditional band structures. John had cultivated a solo project, Post Hunk, that combined drum machine with traditional guitar and bass. While Yancey is always creating, currently making a zine about trans body positivity, the two knew they need another counterpart. When Daniel moved from Macon with a previous background in noise and an interest in electronic music, they found their magic number, three. Without requiring a traditional drummer, or even dependence on a typical practice space, Shouldies, as a newer Atlanta act, also crosses over into queer art and identity. Having played many captivating performances, quickly gaining a devoted following, audiences look forward to more recordings and shows from this innovative group.
Get to know the Shouldies crew better with this fun q&a:
The best color to eat...
Daniel: A wood grain brown, something dark and complex and rich.
John: Blue would be refreshing.
The sound that smells best…
Daniel: I wanna hear the smell of mint.
John: Black coffee with a full breakfast.
Yancey: The smell of new shoes. I feel like it would translate into 90’s music. I feel like “You Oughta Know” would smell like fresh Converse or No doubt would be new Doc Martens.
Daniel: I like to use electronics because I can make the music that I hear in my head that I'm not good enough to play. Creativity’s not restricted by physical limitations as much.
John: To play something I haven't before.
Yancey: Electronic music gives so much of an immediate satisfaction when writing it. I wanted to focus on texture over the notation of things. I’ve always wanted to make something people could dance to but super dark.
Daniel: I would love to see Arca perform in a giant old building like a church or something.
John: Fugazi and Dead Kennedys at 529
Yancey: Tiny Tim, Tina Turner and Tegan & Sara all day in a small venue in a forest.
Guilt pleasure movies...
Daniel: Teen drama horror movies like Scream or When a Stranger Calls.
John: High School Musical.
Biggest internet time suck...
Daniel: I have seen every Nardwuar interview on YouTube.
John: Awkward video comps.
Yancey: Google searches going from chakra for snot to where’s Bowling For Soup now.
Shoutouts to ATL creatives...
Daniel: Matt and Kathleen w bbhaus and Moth Manos, Sequoyah, Leo Heikkila with GNR Sound and AGYN, Pamela_and_her_sons. Without these, and many more, people's support and beautiful art, I don't think I would have moved to Atlanta this year!
John: Dicaprio, Uniq, Moloq, Shepherds, Alex Huey.
Yancey: Cory Ferriera, Sequoyah Murray, Andrew Lyman, Maggie Swain.
The little things...
Daniel: Sometimes I can't sleep because I'm so excited to wake up in the morning and eat breakfast.
Yancey: Sitting on the couch at night with John and our pup.
John: Michael McDonald.
Yancey: John Pierce and Daniel Eberlein.
Least favorite word…
Daniel: Lately it's “Truly, Madly, Deeply” by Savage Garden.
John: “Africa” by Toto.
Yancey: Enya’s “Only Time”
Music you’re into that surprises others...
Daniel: Savage Garden
John: Grateful Dead.
Yancey: Tina Turner has always been my favorite musician but honestly not sure if any of my music taste would surprise anyone. At least it’s more surprising than John’s. John brings up the Grateful Dead at least 3 times a day.
Best Records of 2017...
Daniel: Guerilla Toss GT Ultra, Kelela Take Me Apart, Björk Utopia, Arca S/T, Black Origami Jlin, John Maus Screen Memories, Boy Harsher Country Girl EP, Girlpool Powerplant.
John: Kendrick Lamar Damn and Omni Multi Task.
Yancey: Fits All Belief is Paradise, Mutual Jerk 7”, Yani Mo The Moment.
Sunni Johnson is a writer, zinester, and musician based in Atlanta, GA.