Interviewed by Kai Slater
Shrimpy is a national treasure. This Philadelphia kid makes blown-out noise folk that is equally woozy as it is harsh and captures the bizarre singer-songwriter golden eras from the likes of Daniel Johnston, Half Japanese, and Jandek.
1. You’ve been making pretty insane music for a while now, at such a young age. It’s very cool to find someone making such individual music at a time where people tend to be very predisposed by other artists; you seem very confident in your song writing, what originally got you to that place of confidence? Writing songs, at least lyrically, is a weird thing for me. I really don’t have an idea for phrases of what the song is about and I kinda do it live while recording. This is not me saying lyrics are background to me, no way; I have lyrics that have emotion, and a meaning or story, but I tell that story and make it up, in a way, as the song moves on. I say things that relate to my theme of the song.
2. What were some of your first memories recording/how does that compare to your setup now? My first memories of recording was on a little shoebox tape recorder that we had laying around my house and kinda like screaming into it and singing. This was around the time I was 6 or so. Later on when I was 10ish, I got a Chromebook and found some old drums and basically was banging on those and singing into a rock band microphone. Then I got into analog later on and that brings me to where I am now, being 14 and still banging on drums and guitars. I have a lot of gear and a lot of tape machines, mainly 4 track and 8 track recorders. I have been using a Yamaha 4 track cassette recorder and a 2 track DAT recorder recently. It’s lo-fi but it’s just easy for me to pick up and play.
3. The pandemic has obviously halted a lot of things for artists, but it’s also perhaps allowed for us to meet online - how do you feel in general about the way it’s impacted the way you work? The pandemic has been rough for a lot of people and I really sympathize for some people who are in hard times. Luckily we are going on the right track with the vaccines coming out, and with places like Australia reopening it’s looking good. But in the ways the pandemic has affected me, it has kind of been a blessing. I’ve gotten to spend much more time recording. Also, people have been getting bored and have been seeking out new artists like me to listen to after they listened to In The Aeroplane Over the Sea for the 50th time. I have really grown and people have been enjoying my music. I’ve also been getting payed a little and then spending that money on records. It’s been nice for me in a way.
4. Anything new you have in the pipeline? Yeah, a lot. I have a new album coming out with a possible cassette release that’s going to happen, as well as a possible compilation album of really old stuff and alternate versions of songs, and a live album of when I occasionally play at house parties and other places. But most importantly, that new album. It’s going to be more distorted, more synths and samples, and more tape loops, while still having the acoustic stuff seeped into everything. It’s going to be the Mount Eerie to my Glow Pt. 2* of Mountain Sounds** in a way. I’m really excited for it, and I hope people won’t get bored with its, like, hour runtime. So yeah, those are my future plans.
* Two albums by the Microphones, Mount Eerie being a more of an epic.
* Mountain Sounds was Shrimpy’s second album, which released in September of last year.
All of Shrimpy’s music can be found on shrimpy0.bandcamp.com