The band unleashed two robust new songs this week for Local Spins on WYCE, which also debuted new tracks by Suzies, The Extra Texture, Shanf, Minor Element, JRob and more.
THE BAND: Conrad Shock + The Noise
THE MUSIC: Retro-rock with an eclectic twist
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE BAND: 4:30 p.m. Sunday May 27 outside HopCat in downtown Grand Rapids as part of the Local Spins Summer Kickoff with The Accidentals
Conrad Shock + The Noise is more of a rock band than ever before.
Emphasis on “more rock.”
The group’s bluesy, rock-hued debut album – which earned the band honors as the Local Spins Emerging Artist of the Year in early 2017 – was mostly an elaborate solo project of frontman John (Conrad) Schaak.
But the material being churned out for its sophomore recording, likely being released this fall, is definitely a full-band affair, with guitarist Michael Pierce, drummer Bailey Budnik, keyboard player Olivia Vargas and bassist Koty Schoenberg all pitching in to bring new vibrancy to Schaak’s songs.
“My perspective is not the only one and that’s the biggest thing,” Schaak conceded. “The biggest part of it was just learning there are all these other tools in the band. Everybody brings their own strengths to it and it’s really finding a way to embrace everyone’s individual strengths to bring it all together. It’s not just my thing … telling people what to play.”
The resulting multifarious musical concoctions still have a retro-rock feel but are difficult to pigeonhole, though Schaak surmised it’s “less blues, more rock ’n’ roll, a little more funk. We’ll call it ‘GR Music.’”
Armed with more than 20 effects pedals and other gear, the band jammed into Studio X for this week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE to unleash that “GR Music” in the form of two new songs, “Outside the Dream” and “Pills n’ Fruit” Watch the video for “Outside the Dream” here with the full radio show podcast below.
VIDEO: Conrad Shock + The Noise, “Outside the Dream”
Schaak conceded that he wrote 70 percent of the songs pegged for the new studio album before the group’s debut album was even released but had gotten into a rut with many of them before bringing them to the band.
“They’ve really made some of ’em come to life. More than I ever imagined,” he said, noting the new material has even been influenced by his exposure to other West Michigan bands. “The songs are taking a new path.”
Fans can expect to hear a set of this all-new material when the band launches the Local Spins Summer Kickoff taking place outside HopCat in downtown Grand Rapids on Sunday, May 27, with Traverse City’s The Accidentals headlining the free show that takes place on an outdoor stage off Ionia Avenue SW immediately after the Beer Me! HopCat 5K Race that day. Conrad Shock + The Noise will kick things off at 4:45 p.m.
Schaak said it’s the last public performance by the band – which delivers high-energy, audience-pleasing sets whereever it plays – for awhile as it rolls up its sleeves to complete work on the new studio project.
“We’ve really been teasing this stuff as much as we can,” Schaak said. “We’re really testing this stuff out as much as possible.”
In terms of wrapping up work on the new album, the band – formed among Aquinas College students – also is now benefiting from the extra time they’re enjoying since graduating (with only drummer Budnik still in school).
“I feel an immense amount of freedom already,” said Schaak, who graduated from Aquinas a couple weeks ago. “More than ever, I feel I can finally focus in and give (music) everything I want to.”
This week’s edition of Local Spins on WYCE also boasted the on-air premiere of new tracks by Suzies (this week’s “musicians’ pick” and next week’s in-studio guests), The Extra Texture (with an album-release show Saturday night at The Pyramid Scheme), Shanf, Minor Element, JRob and hi-ker, plus music from Nathan Kalish, Seth Bernard, Chain of Lakes and Jake Kershaw. Listen to the full radio show podcast here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (5/18/18)
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