Atlanta natives the Shadowboxers have developed quite a following over the past few years. With their R&B soaked music and energetic shows, the band will perform three Beatles songs at the Beatles vs. Stones benefit, this Friday at the Loft. The band, consisting of Adam Hoffman, Matt Lipkins, and Scott Schwartz, talked with Alex May about the event.
How did you become involved in the Beatles vs. Stones project?
Adam: we got an email from marketing asking if we would like to be involved. We do a lot of shows with a group in Atlanta called the ATL collective and we cover famous records every month, so turning down a Beatles/Stones things was something we weren’t willing to do.
The Rolling Stones are still writing music and playing shows even today. What do you think are some important factors in creating music with the same group of people night after night?
Matt: I don’t know how those guys do it. Especially Mick and Keith after everything they’ve been through. It’s impressive to say the least. The three of us have been together five years granted I still think we’ve got a lot left in the tank, but to think about doing that for decades and decades is daunting, I think we’ll just try to take it a year at a time. the fact that they have been able to do it and still come out with great music is encouraging. There’s always someone thats been doing it longer I guess.
You took to Kickstarter and Youtube to get funding for the recording of your first full-length, Red Room. Can you tell us a little about the process and inspiration behind using these two services together?
Adam: We spent the past couple of years on the road opening for the Indigo Girls as well as doing a number of tours on our own and really building a following in Atlanta, and over the course of those three years, we had a really solid batch of songs that were pretty heavily road tested. Kickstarter was something we had been considering for quite a while, just given the fan base that we had been able to gather over the years of playing across the country.
We started the campaign with sort of a high goal we thought, of $18,000. We were all sort of thinking “man, maybe we shot too high,” and we met our goal within two days of the campaign, and ended up doubling it, which was super encouraging for us as we went in the studio knowing that there was a lot of people who wanted to hear what we produced. We went down to Shreveport, LA and worked with Brady Blade and we recorded most of the record live in four or five days.
You have done several covers of songs on YouTube, which were requested by fans. For the Beatles vs. Stones show, how did you go about choosing which songs to play?
Matt: It was a long van ride because we first had to decide whether we wanted to do Beatles or Stones. We’ve covered Beatles in the past and we love them. It made more sense, so we went with the Beatles, and that was really, really hard.
Adam: What I realized with these three songs, is that we’re pretty much an Abbey Road band. I don’t know that we had ever talked about it, but I think every rock band in some way or another has a foundation in one specific Beatles album.
Scott: I think that what it came down to for us, the thing that really was the deciding factor for us in which band to choose, and then which song to choose, was deciding first which song to choose. We started by saying “what do we want to do, the Beatles or the Stones,” and as we thought about more and more songs, we decided we really wanted to do this one and that one, and they happened to be Beatles songs, so I think that the songs preceded the choice of the artists.
Matt: Then it was really weighing what would be impressive, what would we want to do, and finding a balance between those two factors.
Scott: Honestly, the way we actually decided these three songs , there are three of us, and three songs, and we each decided at this point, we trust each others’ taste enough to say, each of us picks a song, and as long as no one has any real problems with it, that’s the way it will be. So we each picked one of the songs of the Beatles, and that’s our three.
The Beatles developed much of their musicianship while performing covers of popular songs. How has performing all of the covers that you have done helped you as musicians?
Adam: Tremendously. One of the things that we’ve learned the most, A. from being a backing band and B. from learning a lot of covers is that, a lot of times, less is more in terms of overplaying. Especially being a vocal band, we really want the vocals to sit up top and the vocals to be the feature. We did a Haim cover last month, and there’s hardly any instrumentation going on, and that was a wake up call to me that sometimes the more you leave out is better.
Matt: About a year and a half ago we covered Pet Sounds, and I remember that was the first time that we really covered a song with intricate parts, and it was a real experience for us to break down a song to it’s parts and then reassemble it our own way. I think since then, I think personally, and I know that we all have a deeper appreciation for covering music I think its a very valuable tool for a lot of new bands who are also writing songs and want to play and develop their sound, because I don’t think it at all detracts from our original music, I think it enhances our original music, because we are learning more and more how to take existing songs and make them our own, which is huge.
The bands of the British Invasion have heavily influenced the way music has progressed over the past several decades. Who are some bands today that you feel are influential towards future generations of musicians?
Adam: That’s a tough question. …which bands are going to have staying power. I think it’s hard, because you could say that Mumford and Sons have influenced this whole sort of “put a banjo in every song” type of thing, but that seems to be a little bit more of a fad than the sound of a generation like the British invasion was. I do think that if you go back maybe five years ago, I think Coldplay sort of ushered in a new sort or ambient soundscape that even bands like My Morning Jacket draw from. U2 kind of brought that in as well.
Matt: You’re right Adam, you hear it in bands like OneRepublic and Imagine Dragons
Lastly, Beatles or Stones?
Adam: I think we’ve gotta go Beatles. We’ve got to stick to our guns here, with our performance.
Matt: Really, no one’s going to quote I Love You Man here? “Alright guys on 3- 1..2..3..”
Scott: Yea, so when we were first deciding which songs to pick and which band to pick, that’s the Youtube clip of the scene in that movie that I sent Matt and Adam to remind them that we needed to start picking some songs.
Make sure to catch the Shadowboxers this Friday, December 13th at the Loft!