In Session: Shane Archer Reed

ONEIDA – When the world shut down in March of 2020, the pandemic left an endless wake of destruction and uncertainty in its path. Now, as artists, and the arts’ world start slowly re-emerging under the “new normal,” songwriters such as Shane Archer Reed, are really coming forth with a renewed sense of urgency and dedication to the craft. Just wrapping up a Midwest tour in support of his record, Mirror on the Wall, which was released in July 2021, Reed is once again busy in the studio creating his follow-up effort.

I had a chance to speak with the artist this week and see not only where he finds himself, creatively speaking, but also what he has planned for the future. Continue reading to catch our discussion!

Lucas Garrett: Thank you, Shane, for talking today about your music!

Shane Reed: No problem, Luke!

LG: You put out an album, Mirror on the Wall, last July. What have you been up to since then?

SR: We’ve been pretty lucky. We put the album out through Curtain Call Records last July; we’ve garnered a lot more success than anything else put out so far. A month ago, we went on a Midwest tour with our buddies in Page 9 and Minerva – had a blast playing out in Nashville; Chicago; Indiana area. We’ve never been to most of those places before – other than Nashville.

I’m in the studio right now with the same producer who did Mirror, and we’re working on the follow-up record. And, I’m really excited about how it’s turning out already.

LG: That’s great to hear. So, you went on tour, recently. How was it now that we’re in the after-effects of COVID?

SR: Honestly, I think a lot of have been itching to see live music again since the pandemic hit. Even to people who’ve never seen or heard of us before; same with people who’ve never heard of Page 9, never heard of Minerva – which, by the way, if you haven’t, you should. Go follow both of those, they’re incredible. We had an influx of people come to these shows. All three of Nashville, Chicago, and Indiana were basically sold out. Same with New York City, too! We hit up Brooklyn near the end of that tour and, you know, the vast majority of these shows: packed!

LG: That’s awesome.

SR: People are not only supporting live music again, but you can tell people have been wanting this back for a while now.

LG: This new album you’re working on…

SR: Yeah?

LG: What can we expect from this new record?

SR: With the last record, Mirror on the Wall, I got really deep and personal with the feelings I’ve been having of not being good enough; good enough as a performer, or even as a person or a friend. Like, that’s how I’ve been portrayed as, or treated, whatever. Now, I’m touching on that in more detail with this next record. The real specifics of how I’ve been feeling since the pandemic started and all of these things that I’ve realized I’ve needed to get off my chest.

LG: What you’re talking about I think many of us – including myself – have felt. This imposter syndrome, kind of thing.

SR: It’s funny, I’ve never questioned why I’m doing what I’m doing. The second I started singing; the second I started playing, it was like, “This is what I need to be doing with my life.” It’s kind of the after-effect of “Am I doing it right? Am I still being the kind of person I want to be on and off the stage?” It’s imposter syndrome in that regard, I’d say.

LG: There’s a myriad of ways in which that syndrome affects people. But, I’d be very hard-pressed to talk to someone that does what we’re doing and doesn’t feel that at some point.

SR: For sure.

LG: Where do you think that stems from, you know? What’s going on there?

SR: You know, I think it’s different for every artist. I think… I think we as artists and singers and songwriters and musicians do what we do because it’s the best way to be able to communicate these feelings.

LG: Mhm.

SR: For some people, it’s easy to just go and be like, “Hey, I feel x, y, z, whatever.” And, go into detail about it and be able to just talk. For us, these feelings are so – for lack of a better word – extreme that the only way to get this stuff off of our chest is through our art, essentially.

LG: Do you have a problem being that vulnerable? As a songwriter, I’m still not entirely comfortable with it. I have to wrap whatever I’m talking about into a metaphor, you know? Do you find that’s the same for you, or are you fairly comfortable with saying, “OK, this is what I’m feeling and I’m going to express it musically this way?”

SR: It’s funny. I’ve always never not been completely open and completely vulnerable – it’s very hard for me to close myself off, really. Being comfortable on stage has never been a problem for me. I think it’s the fact I’m overly vulnerable. So, when I’m on stage expressing that, I don’t tend to hold back. It’s not like big, wild antics of breaking my guitars on stage, kind of thing. But, I’m not going to hold back the way I sing or the way I play just because “this happened.” I’m giving my one-hundred-and-ten percent, even if I can’t.

LG: Yeah. I think it’s important to do that. I don’t know how you feel about this, but when the pandemic hit, I realized that everything we liked about the music industry went away basically overnight. Like you said earlier, people are hungry for live music. That’s because it went from one-hundred to zero. I didn’t know what the return to live music would even be! Like, what the pandemic was going to do to the world and to the arts.

SR: Oh yeah. I think we were all concerned about where live music was going to be ever since the pandemic started, and ever since it started slowly coming back. Are we going to feel the same way we felt going to a concert before COVID than we are after? Are we still going to get that same experience?

LG: I think there’s a lot of people that are either really, really nervous about the spread of the virus and there’s people that don’t even care that it exists. I think it’s really hard to mitigate that entire spectrum. How do you have a show when a germ or virus has become so political?

SR: Yeah.

LG: It’s really… I know these venues upstate were taking a beating, verbally, for having these mandates. I’m a little nervous because I know what it’s like to lose it all, and I don’t want that to happen again. I think we all need to work together – artists and fans alike – to really figure out what the hell we’re doing, in the long run.

SR: I one-hundred percent agree. These past couple years, I think, have been a wakeup call for everyone.

LG: So, you’re in the album recording process right now. How far along are you in the creation of this album?

SR: I think after today we’ll be halfway done – at least with tracking songs. I know there’s old songs that didn’t make the last record that are going to be on this one that I need to go back and change some things on. I know there’s obviously brand-new things we started recording; we haven’t even decided on what the track order is going to be, or the name of the album, yet. I think we’re on the path now where we can say, “OK, let’s focus on getting these songs recorded and done, and then we’ll figure out how it fits.”

LG: Do you like the post-production process?

SR: I actually really like that process. I like talking to people like my producer, and my friends, and my band.

LG: Sometimes, I feel the post-production goes a lot faster than other times. I think it can be a really arduous process, sometimes.

SR: Oh yeah. I’ve come in with preconceived ideas of a song a number of times, now. Even today. For one thing, I have a fabulous producer in Ian Brown. Back-to-back, now, on this record, I’ve come in with a song and think, “This is how it’s going to go and this is how it’s going to be,” and he’ll come up with something better. Literally just recorded a new song he hadn’t heard before. He was like, “OK, can we try this?” Gave it a shot and I immediately fell in love with it.

LG: I think when we’re writing these songs, sometimes we’re too close to them.

SR: Oh yeah.

LG: If you can find a producer who’s also a really good friend, that’s a really good way to go.

SR: Thankfully, Ian and I were really good friends before we started working together, too. So, we killed two birds with one stone!

LG: Is there anything else you’d like to talk about today, Shane, as we wrap this interview up?

SR: At this point, I think we’re pretty much caught up on my life!

LG: Thanks for your time!

SR: No problem, man! Pleasure talking to you. Thanks, and I’ll talk to you soon.

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