Interview: Shady Bug Discuss Their New Album ‘Lemon Lime’

Posted: by The Editor

Photo Credit: Mabel Suen

St. Louis rockers Shady Bug are gearing up for the release of their new LP Lemon Lime, the bands first since signing to Exploding In Sound Records. The band is a natural fit for the New York based label—their fuzzy, intricate rhythms fit right in with bands like Pile and Ovlov, who just so happen to be their labelmates now. Before the release of their new album, out 3/8, Sarah Knoll had a chat with the band about Lemon Lime, tour snacks, and what’s next for the band.

The Alternative: First off, I adore Lemon Lime it’s such a great record. How’d the name Lemon Lime come about? Is it your favorite flavor?

Shady Bug: Thank you! The name comes from lyrics on the first track “Make it Up”— “Sipping on lemon lime, I share my cup with you.” I’m literally singing about drinking Sprite with my crush from the same styrofoam cup from Jack n the Box! But I think the flavor lemon lime captures the vibe of the record, sweet melodies juxtaposed with sour dissonance and loud distortion. Yummy and bubbly tunes.    

Let’s talk about the sound of Lemon Lime. What’s your writing process like?

I usually write a very simple song with personal lyrics. I bring it to practice and we play around with tons of ideas to make the song more dynamic and interesting. Besides the lyrics and chord structure, our songwriting process is completely collaborative. Our drummer Aaron is actually a jazz bassist and he is super obsessed with arrangement and creating a sense of surprise. Unlike Aaron, Tom is not trained in music but their parts are also impressive and jarring. Tom’s style is dissonant and kind of wild, which contrasts with my more tame guitar parts. Not sure how it all works out sometimes, we are just having a lot of fun!

Who are some of your music influences? Who did you grow up listening to?

I grew up listening to Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Joni Mitchell, stuff like that. I have older sisters that made me listen to Weezer, Cake, Sleater-Kinney, and The Shins. I had an intense indie folk/singer-songwriter phase and started a duo with my twin sister called Dubb Nubb. Delia and I started writing songs when we were teenagers and played shows as Dubb Nubb for almost 10 years. I was very influenced by DIY artists we discovered through being involved in the music scene. Although I played guitar most of my life and I loved garage rock and indie pop, I didn’t start playing rock music until Shady Bug. My influences around the time when we created this band two years ago were Blue Smiley, Emily Yacina, Ian Sweet, Palm, and Speedy Ortiz.

I know you hail from St. Louis, how would you say your local music scene is there, do you feel like the bands your surround yourself with effect your sound?

I never thought I would stay in St. Louis, I always dreamed of moving somewhere bigger and better. But I found a community in the music scene that is very special to me and now I don’t want to leave! Going to shows is part of my life, I get to see many local bands I admire all the time like Glued, Jr. Clooney, and Le Ponds. Lucky for me, my friends who I admired musically agreed to start a band with me! Everyone in Shady Bug were already in well-established STL bands and most of us play in multiple projects. I’m always inspired by my friends and seeing live music.

Also, congrats on getting signed to Exploding In Sound Records, how has it been working with them so far?

All of us are huge EIS fans, so gaining their attention was a dream come true. We were freaking out! So far working with them has been great, I’m so happy they decided to put out our album. Also pumped to have Lemon Lime on vinyl, wow.

The sound on Lemon Lime and your previous record tbh idk both have an analog type quality to them. What do you like about analog as an artistic medium whether in music or aesthetically speaking?

Oh no I’m so ignorant about all this stuff! I think we recorded both records to reflect how we perform live. I like how the songs sound pure and honestly, we didn’t want lots of extra stuff.

You’ve played with many bands that us at The Alternative love including Fond Han and Strange Ranger, what have been some of your favorite bands to play with?

My favs have been Pile, Spirit of the Beehive, Melkbelly, Beverly Tender, Tundrastomper, Haybaby, Wildhoney, Glued…

Going off of the theme of flavors from Lemon Lime what are some of your favorite tour snack and beverage essentials?

Last tour we had rice cakes with peanut butter and dried fruit in the car everyday!! If I see a bagel on tour I have to have it. Also we had La Croix in our cooler, although I’m a Canada Dry fan 😉

How do you think you’ve progressed as musicians and songwriters in the time since tbh idk came out in 2017?

On the last record, half of the songs were from my old solo project  and the other half were inspired by funny riffs I wrote with my roommate’s chorus pedal. On Lemon Lime all the songs were written specifically for the Shady Bug sound. We expanded our dynamic range and arranged each song with more detail to form and texture. We’ve all gotten better at our instruments, too. Shady Bug was Aaron’s first band on drums, Tom and Todd’s second band on their instrument, and my first band playing with a pick and using pedals. My lyrics have matured too, I think. The songs express personal issues, such as anxiety and relationship problems, but also reflect what it’s like living in our city, St. Louis.

Where do you see Shady Bug going in the next couple of years?

Hopefully with another full length record and more touring 🙂

What do you hope listeners take from listening to Lemon Lime?

I hope listeners find the songs relatable and exciting. Please sing along and have fun!! I would love it if this record inspires girls (or anyone who’s not a cis white male) to play guitar and make cool tunes.  

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