Shade Structure – Sacramento, California

This talented fellow is one of the artists that really exemplify the good things about Soundcloud. Not only is he a prolific songwriter but his Soundcloud feed is an almost constant source of cool music. Whenever I jump on to Soundcloud, Shade Structure is one of the first feeds I check out – both in hope of hearing some new music from him, but also to hear what he’s been listening to and reposting lately.

Musically Shade Structure creates a cool brew of bluesy R & B and urban flavoured sounds and he sings with a husky world weary voice that always makes me think of Robbie Robertson. His lyrics are always smart and often have a tinge of wry humour to them. His mixes and production style is always spot on too.

How did you get into music?

As a very strange child I would always create my own silly songs about subjects in my life, from TV shows to vicious neighborhood dogs. Then I picked up instruments throughout my school years. I found I could play any instrument and make some kind of noise with it. When I started joining bands after school in High School and College, that’s where the real musical damage begins! I mostly played bass and vocals. I was in some terrible bands, from cover bands to playing originals. I was a co-conspirator in many ruined company picnics and college quad concerts!

Your musical influences?

Musically, I’ve have always been a man out of time. I never listened too deeply to the popular music of the moment. I lived in Los Angeles during my 20’s, and they had a great radio station KPFK, which played huge amounts of classic blues and jazz. That was my musical diet for at least a couple years. I loved listening to Son House, Chet Baker, Bill Evans. My most treasured musical moment was working in a bookstore in Toluca Lake California, and meeting blues legend Willie Dixon. Such a nice and generous man to a poser like me! He sent me a signed harmonica case, which is in a prominent position in my home studio.

I love observational and sarcastic point of view songs, often written from a characters perspective. Randy Newman, Tom Waits and Warren Zevon are big influences for me.

A criminally under rated songwriter and huge influence is Mark Eitzel, Both with his 90s band American Music Club or his later solo stuff, it is always great listening . He can make you laugh with a lyric, then rip your heart out with the next. Check out his track “ I Love You But You’re Dead” for a taste.

I also love Indie Rock, with my favorites having great lyrical ideas. The short list includes Destroyer, Mountain Goats, Neko Case, and Silver Jews.

Your favourite song that you’ve written?

“Sleepwalking”. It combines my love of beatnik style lyric writing and a slow groove. I can still hear a lot of mystery in that song, and it came together very quickly. It’s one I can still stand to listen to. My philosophy on a successful song is how close I come to meeting the original idea that I had for it, without having to labor over it for weeks.

Your favourite Soundcloud artist and song?

Too many, talent overflows on SoundCloud! 
A quick example of the range of talent on SoundCloud is with 2 unique and different guitar player/songwriters.
N.o.b.S: He can play so technical brilliantly, but can also rock out hard in so many different styles.
TexMex Shaman: Psychedelic blues guitar playing with lots of sonic invention.

Your thoughts on the Soundcloud community?

What strike me most about SoundCloud is the overall support and positive spirit shown to other musicians on the platform. Lots of positive and constructive comments, which definitely isn’t the norm on the internet. On SoundCloud you also have many artists collaborating and making some brilliant things by combining their creativity and styles.

Soundcloud Tips?

You’re not going to put your music and have thousand of new fans by the end of the week. That old adage of ‘what you put into it is what you get out” really is true. You have to be an active participant and listen to the music of others, leave constructive comments, and listen to styles of music other than what you think you like. I never thought I would like deep house music, but it turns out I do! Also, putting out new music on a regular basis is important to build your listens. Even if you put out something experimental or still in demo stage, you’ll find support among the SoundCloud community.

My favourite song from Shade Structure…

It’s hard to pick a favourite because he is just so very prolific! But this song is one I return to probably most of all – a beautifully wry tale of lost love. This is pretty close to perfect in my opinion.

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