Interview with The Shrives

We chatted with Matt Grocott, lead singer of punk rock four-piece, The Shrives. The band play Rock City on 25th November supporting Arse Full of Chips, following on from their electric set at Nottingham’s Hockley Hustle.

How did the band form?

The band formed through an opportunity to go to America to record. We’d be jamming my songs about for about half a year – demoing and stuff – when this rare thing came along and we realised we had to do something serious about it. Josh, Joe and Tom (our former bass player) were in a band called Wrecklass Necklass before they were in The Shrives, so had been playing together for years and were all up for doing something else. Tom left the band earlier this year but his good friend Henry came in to fill the slot and we couldn’t be happier with the way we’re heading at the moment.

Is there a story behind the band’s name?

It’s a blend of the word Shrovetide, which is a rough football game that’s played on Shrove Tuesday in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. My dad grew up there so we decided to use a picture of him playing the game as our debut album cover – it was taken back in the 1970s but I thought it was an amazing photo to use. I think it makes the record look a bit more classic and conveys all the teenage angst and boredom that I was going through when I wrote most of the songs. We’ve even had people turn up to our gigs just from seeing the album cover.

Who would you say have been your biggest influences as a band?

Musically, a lot of different artists and bands have influenced me as a songwriter. It’s only getting broader but in terms of core songwriting, it has to be Green Day, The Beatles, AC/DC – all the great rock bands I listened to when I was younger and still do. We all influence each other with the different styles of music we listen to – always showing each other songs we enjoy. I think it’s really good for us to soak it all in even if we don’t like it enough to listen to it again. Henry, our bass player, is madly into Spiritualized – I never even thought about listening to them about a year ago but I can now see myself writing in the vein of it all, just because I’ve spent so much time around it.

Would you say you prefer being in the studio recording new material or playing live shows?

I prefer playing live shows – there’s just something about playing a live gig that makes you feel invincible. I forget about all the bad shit in my life and just play the music, forgetting what’s going on around me. It’s a real therapy.

What was the first music festival you went to – as a fan or indeed as a band?

I’ve never been one to buy tickets to a festival – I’d rather see a headline gig if I was just going to see a certain band. It’s cool and all but I really can’t be bothered. The first BIG festival I went to was Leeds and that was because we were on tour with one of the bands that were playing there so they gave us backstage passes. It was good but I was broke and couldn’t afford anything to eat or drink and I smelt like shit after a week-long tour, I had a few moments where I was like SHIT, that’s Frank Turner, OH SHIT, that’s The Flatliners. OH SHIT OH SHIT.

Do you have a favourite venue/city to play live? (They don’t have to be the same!)

I really love playing Rough Trade Nottingham – we had our album launch there back in February and it was incredible. Perfect venue for a loud rowdy crowd and the sound was great for me. I feel we’ve pushed our way into the Nottingham scene a bit more this year and made a lot more friends – so Nottingham is my top right now.

If you had to only play festivals or headline sets for the rest of your career, which would you prefer?

Definitely headline sets. IT’S ALL ABOUT US.

Do you have a favourite song to play live?

My favourite has got to be a new one called Money Maker – we’d been trying it out live in different ways and it hadn’t quite clicked for me. So we gave it a shot the other night in Leicester and it felt really good to play and the crowd were dancing and it was just magical – yeah baby.

What are your ambitions as a band for the future?

We’re planning on releasing three new singles next year, probably along with an EP towards the end. We just want to show people we’re not this one trick pony and reveal every inch of our creative capability. I’ve seen some write-ups about us just being a general indie or a loud punk band etc but we have an incredible jazz guitarist as the bass player: Josh is one of best rock and roll guitarists I’ve ever laid my ears on and Joe is the tightest backbone of a band I’ve ever had the pleasure to play with. So I’m really looking forward to releasing these new songs and starting the process of showing what we’re actually about. It takes a long time but I think we’re getting there.

And finally.. if you could have written one song in history yourself, what would you have preferred it to be?

At this very moment, I would have loved to have written God Only Knows by The Beach Boys, because it’s a beautiful song and I’d probably be rich as fuck by now.

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