Photography by Kendall George
Brooklyn-based Shybaby made their debut last year with the hilariously titled PBR Tallbetch. The four-song EP married lyrics about skipping school and botched Tinder dates with the band’s carefree, pop-punk sound. Today, we're excited to debut Shybaby's pop-punk inspired cover of Mandy Moore’s 1999 pop hit, “Candy.” We also talked with singer and guitarist Grace Eire about the music scene in Brooklyn, the group's upcoming debut album, and finding inspiration in Maggie Nelson and Third Eye Blind. You can catch them live at Baby’s All Right on May 9.
AdHoc: Your lyrics take a lot of inspiration from your experiences as a young person in your early twenties. Is it difficult to write from a personal lens?
Grace Eire: Well, I’m leaning more towards 30 than 20, but I appreciate the mix-up. It’s never been difficult for me to write from a personal lens, because what can I possibly know better than my own self? I’ve also always been pretty introspective/introverted, so I spend a lot of time tossing over events and interactions with people. In fact, in school, my thesis was a 70-page first-person body narrative. What’s interesting to me about the switch to songwriting is that I’m more used to going on and on with long, painstakingly over-thought sentences. These songs, on the other hand, come to me quickly, and I tend to go with my first instinct rather than editing them incessantly. I like to think that keeps them honest and fun.
How does the Brooklyn scene influence your music?
I love Brooklyn. There are so many people to know and awesome places to play at. But when it comes to a social or dating life, most people are incredibly busy and thinking of themselves first, myself included—at least in a small way. Aside from my really good friends, connections can seem shallow and are often fleeting. Since starting Shybaby, though, I’ve personally felt so much better and [more] grounded in Brooklyn, with the people I’ve met through shows and how I can pour my creative energy into [music] just as everyone else seems to be pouring themselves into whatever they’re doing. To me, a person’s experience is entirely influenced and guided by place, so the music is 100% a product of living in Brooklyn.
How is your new album different than your first EP?
The songs on our debut EP, PBR Tallbetch, were pretty much the first four songs that we wrote as a band, or that I wrote, ever. Over the past year, our sound, songwriting, and chemistry as a band have all evolved, or even improved. I’m so eager to release our newer music, because it’s louder, wilder, more honest, and a bit more mature than the songs on PBR Tallbetch.
Why did you decide to cover Mandy Moore? Are you big fans?
I wasn’t really a big fan [of Mandy Moore]; Tess [Leavay who plays guitar/vocals] brought the song to the table. I was too preoccupied with Third Eye Blind at that point! I like “Candy” for us, though, because it's kind of uncharacteristically innocuous and lighthearted. It's fun to do something different—to lean into a quieter, laid-back version of who we are normally, and to be playful with that and add in our energy. But also, why the hell not? For some reason, it felt like a perfectly odd bridge from our EP to what's coming up ahead.
What inspired the new album?
I’ve been listening to a ton of FIDLAR and Hinds. I love FIDLAR’s West Coast sound, and how unabashedly true to themselves they are. They aren’t afraid to write what some would consider clichés into their lyrics, because sometimes being cliché is as honest as you can be. Zac Carper’s voice is also just so good. Hinds have really come into their own with their most recent album, and I love their drive to smash industry norms as an all-female rock & roll band—[though] I’m also mad that a sentence like that is still relevant. Most recently I’ve re-read some of Maggie Nelson’s work. Bluets will influence everything I ever write, as far as I’m concerned.
What’s next for you?
Hopefully something awesome! We are working hard on our debut album, and we’re playing Baby’s All Right on May 9, which we are really excited about. We have a lot of plans; Shybaby’s all I can think about.