California twins Fletcher and Wyatt Shears are all about looking inward for inspiration.
This article appears in AdHoc 30. To subscribe to our quarterly zine—and receive other AdHoc-related goodies—become a member.
In #adhoclifeadvice, we ask artists we love to answer questions from you, our readers. This time around, we asked Fletcher and Wyatt Shears, the brothers behind glammy California punk duo The Garden, to wax philosophical on overcoming self-doubt, making a living doing what you love, and finding your own unique voice as an artist.
The Garden’s new record, Kiss My Super Bowl Ring, is out now via Epitaph Records. Catch them at Brooklyn’s Warsaw on April 17, with George Clanton.
@bryceypoo22: I just wanted to know how to become confident in the art you create and what [you] did to conquer [your] fear of expression.
Fletcher: I don’t think I’ve conquered anything, so to speak, but I think as time goes on and you create for years and years, you will start to naturally develop confidence in what you’re doing. I’ve found that the more honest I am while creating something, the more confidence I have in it. If something genuinely came from within me and reflects who I am as a person, it becomes untouchable. Nobody’s opinion can affect how I feel about my work, because they are not me.
@genzzies: What do I do to develop my own music style?
Fletcher: Everyone is different, but being honest with yourself helps. Take from your own experiences and what you feel going on inside of you, even if you feel like they can be boring or uneventful. A lot of the time, I try to avoid looking outward for inspiration in order to achieve some sort of originality. No one can be you if you’re being you.
@metro_maximilian: How do you keep a relationship from getting boring? I’ve been with my partner for almost four years and it’s been getting very boring.
Wyatt: If things are boring, then I guess you have to ask yourself why they’re boring. I find that communication can heal almost any day if things are feeling stale. Staying engaged and active with your partner is something that can help a relationship as well, to ensure that on slow days you both aren’t just sitting around. Reflecting on the past can be extremely romantic in a relationship—but also detrimental, if that’s all that goes on. I usually focus on making the present day just as exciting as the past was. I’ve been in a relationship for seven years, and it still feels fresh.
@nickbrljak: What mainly inspired the sound of the new record? Clench To Stay Awake was a really unexpected sound and i love it a lot
Wyatt: When writing the songs that I did on the record, I felt it was important to take my personal experiences and put them at the front of the songs, instead of hiding them in the music. That tends to lead the listener astray and make them think that there is no meaning in the words.
This album is meant to be a statement, and the statement is Kiss My Super Bowl Ring. The abrasive sound is how we are both feeling, and I think it’s necessary for me to be putting that kinda sound out into the world. I hear a lot of people complain about how “rock-based” music is “dead.” It’s not, but it definitely needs a facelift, and I want to be one of the surgeons.
@goodnighttown: I work 6am to 6:30 pm i have no life and im always tired should i quit my job?
Fletcher: It depends if you love your job or not; I think it comes down to a question of happiness. If you’re not happy with life, change it to suit your needs. Anything is possible with a solid plan. But as they say, you never know what tomorrow will bring, so make today count.
@bimbo.limbojerry: How do I make it through the rest of my high school years without trying to punch anyone
Wyatt: Maybe you can use that anger and frustration and put it into art. You could start a band and write about those feelings, or be creative in other ways and funnel those feelings into your art. That always helped me. Or try boxing?
@ladyvengeance: Do you guys ever feel intense self doubt and anxiety? How do you combat it?
Fletcher: Yes, all the time. I practice grounding myself in the present moment. It’s not always easy and takes practice, but if you feel the dreadful rush of anxiety coming on, focus your attention on what is directly in front of you at that moment. Ask yourself what is hurting you right this second. More often than not, anxiety stems from the unknown; all you can really be sure of is what is directly in front of you. More often than not, it deserves your full attention.
@marla34567: What was It like getting through high school And transitioning into being an Adult ? also Favorite modern artists now
Wyatt: I was lucky because I always had my brother no matter what, and that was nothing but a blessing. That alone helped build my confidence and aided in my general disinterest with school’s social dynamics. It also sheltered me a bit, because I felt less of a need to be a part of new friendships. Finding independence in personal transportation, like having a car and having a job, helped as well. Some artists that I enjoy are Wharf-whit, Denzel Curry, Cowgirl Clue, Mahne Frame, Yves Tumor, Communions, Aya Gloomy, Salsalino, and Slater.
@suprememozzarella: How does one make a living doing something they love?
Fletcher: Do what you love, simply for the love of doing it. I never thought about making money through music for years, and I didn’t make any real money for a long time. It’s helpful to make peace with that. We worked different jobs while still playing constantly for a long time. If you love it, you just make it work.