A chat with the feisty South London five-piece that always kicks up a storm.
Shame are a wild five-piece rock band from South London. With their biting lyrics, crunchy guitars, and hard-as-knuckles songwriting, they kick up quite the storm. Songs like “Concrete” are anthems full of intense emotion, paranoia, anger, and absurdity. Other songs, such as “Theresa May,” are quieter, purposeful jabs at the Prime Minister and Tories in England. Known for their high-energy shows, Shame will be playing in New York for the first this Friday, November 10 at Baby’s All Right, with support from Honey and Language. Ahead of the gig, we caught up with frontman Charlie Steen. They will
AdHoc: “Shame” is quite a name. You guys often seem pretty self-assured in your music and performance, so where does the name come from?
Charlie Steen: The name “Shame” is something of a gift we recieved from our technical advisor and saviour, Lenin, our drummer Forbes’ dad. After sitting at our practice space—The Queens Head in Brixton—for weeks, churning out the worst band names imaginable, “Shame” was the only one we didn’t quite hate and eventually learned to accept.
How did you guys end up playing together?
I think we all started playing together more out of pure boredom than anything else. The group’s ties run deep, as we all went to various schools together through our childhood and teens, and it just came to be that one day we decided to play music.
Let’s talk about “Concrete,” your new song and video. It’s a pretty paranoid song. What was on your mind while writing it?
Lyrically, the song is about someone in a trapped relationship. We all know someone in this situation or have been in this situation ourselves, [and] I wanted to speculate on the emotional and psychological damage this might cause to the person involved.
The video is very disorienting, in the way that you use the background to simulate walking down the street, when you’re really walking in a film studio. Where’d that idea come from?
This was the first time that the creative input for a video of ours was put into the directors hand’s. I guess it was used to reflect on the paranoia of the song, as well as breaking down the fourth wall.
Your live performances have often been considered explosive compared to other indie groups. What do you think makes them so different?
Our good looks and boyish charm have helped us stand out against your average, run-of-the-mill indie pop group. No one ever made it without a hot aesthetic.
How is Shame helping shape the “four-chord future,” to borrow a lyric from one of your songs?
Hopefully by having our next single reach number 1 in the pop charts in Barbados.
You guys often speak about your community in south London. What’s the community like, and what was it like growing up there? Who were the big influences on the band?
The community in South London for bands, young and old, is growing every day. It’s such an interesting scene, because every band is so different and has such an original sound. We’re lucky to have met bands like Sorry, Goat Girl, Monk, and countless others so early in our career, and to have made so many friends with [whom] we’ve helped build this community.