Shortstraw has grown in leaps and bounds over the years, from the album ‘You’re Underfed, I’m Wonderful’ in 2011 to ‘Youthless’ in 2015, and now with their 2016 project ‘Those Meddling Kids’ they have become a South African household name. Once you have seen Shortstraw live it is incredibly hard to return to normal as their sets are full of life and in all reality there’s a lot of Tom’s hair (that can make anyone envious).
I caught up with frontman Alastair Thomas to chat about all things Shortstraw:
Those Meddling Kids:
The concept came from us not having finished an album yet and from wanting to release some new material. We wanted to start putting out new music and we could’ve put out a EP but we aren’t the biggest fans of EPs, we prefer the concept of a full album. We often felt that with albums, with any band really, you get songs that fall by the weigh side because they aren’t singles. So, we figured that if we release one a month we can almost force people to give the non singles the time of day.
The art of TMK:
We wanted to work with different artists and designers around the world, and we are always keen to meet new people and discover new stuff. We figured by releasing a single every month we could do an artwork feature which would force us to work with new people each time. It’s a refreshing way to do something we haven’t done before. It’s keeping us on our toes and keeping things fresh.
Production Process of TMK:
‘Those Meddling Kids’ eliminates the faffing that comes with making an album – we literally write a song, record it a few weeks later, in some cases a couple days later and figure it out as we go. We don’t have the luxury of time to mix and match and then make changes, so it goes on first opinions and a trust of your gut.
We write the music together so we get together once a week with ideas that we’ve had over the last year and see if we can figure out a song. We will rework like four ideas on that Wednesday at the beginning of the month.
We got to go on a Euro Tour for the first time this year, playing two sold out shows in London was pretty special, we were playing to mostly South African people but it was really nice to give them a taste of home.
We have unplugged guitars a couple of times and dropped them. Tom, I don’t know if he’d want me to mention this, but he almost wee’d in his pants once. Tom’s got like a really … okay, lets target Tom here, he’s got like a really small bladder, regardless of the show, he will need to pee in the middle of it, which is a little ridiculous. So, we were playing at The Smoking Dragon Festival last year and he needed to go so badly that he just went off to the side of the stage without telling any of us. We started playing the next song which was ‘Couch Potato’ and he is lead guitar for it, he kept playing mid-urination and we only found this out afterwards.
The next eight months will be creating content for TMK, and we are planning on doing another Euro Tour which is quite exciting.
I’m from PE so it’s always nice to play there. It should be fun and hopefully not too windy. The good ol’ friendly crowd because it is the Friendly City, riiiiight?
Future Musician Inspiration:
Never give up, don’t be a dick and practice. Be open to criticism, don’t take it to heart and try and take it objectively. Have fun, if you stop having fun making music then it isn’t worth it anymore.
Shortstraw will be playing at the most picturesque venue in Port Elizabeth: Deep Brew Sundaze.
Address: 33 Chapel Street, Central
Tickets are available at RVCA in Walmer Park
100 bucks pre-sold (and they are limited)