This week we welcome Perth based alt rock four piece Shangrila, into the spotlight. A big discovery from this year for myself, their 2018 EP Love and Leaving captured my heart from the very first listen, prompting me to give it a 10/10 rating in my review. Their meaningful lyrics touching on themes of love, mental illness, and heartbreak, and rocky atmospheric instrumental use, ensures that Love and Leaving is still a regular inclusion in my weekly listening. As such I was dying to learn more about them as a band, so what better excuse is there than to get them into Saturday Spotlight? Shangrila are: Devyn Jupp (vocals), Jackson Macleod (guitar), Jarryd Buckland (bass), and Bodhi Carter-Tulk (drums).
Shangrila began with Devyn, Jackson, and Bodhi, as they started playing music together in Karratha, a mining town in Western Australia. Amongst the only people in town who liked listening to and playing heavy/alternative music they naturally flocked together, and formed their first band called Common Bond. After several 15 hour trips into Perth to play shows they were incredibly driven, and made the choice to move into the city, where Jarryd wound up joining the band. They pushed Common Bond as hard as they could, but it came to the point where they simply couldn’t continue. Multiple vocalists fell through and it became too difficult, mentally and physically, to be able to continue the band with any sort of enthusiasm.
After Common Bond was finished Devyn recalls they were all feeling quite dejected. After this, they started Shangrila, and pushed through in writing their debut EP, Wither. With the unsuccessful search for a new vocalist continuing, Devyn moved from guitar to vocals to fill the void. “I think the Wither EP was more of a statement that we weren’t giving up on music than anything, but our direction was clouded by our previous music and the pure desperation to be playing music again. It wasn’t really a true reflection of how we had grown as musicians or an honest reflection on who we are as people.” After a rough year of grinding they took a step back to decide what they really wanted to do with their lives and with music. Shangrila went on hold, and they agreed they were only going to pursue it again if the enjoyment factor came back. Not long after that, Jackson and Devyn both began writing again, and as Devyn sent Jackson a demo for “Stay” they knew that they had found their new beginning.
Their music comes together through a healthy writing process of collaboration, with Devyn or Jackson typically writing the bones of each song. They will then send it back and forth, until they are happy with the general feel of it. “Then we will send it Bodhi and Jarryd to re-write the bass and drums with their personal flare, while I work on the vocals. Then we bring it all together and rip it apart a thousand more times until we are happy.”
As a band Shangrila takes inspiration from other Perth bands like Karnivool, Make Them Suffer, and Tired Lion, who they believe paved the way for them, taking inspiration from them that they too can achieve what these bands have. Specifically with Love and Leaving, Devyn says he listened to a lot of Alexisonfire, Kisschasy, and Luca Brasi during the making of it.
More pumped than they have ever been about music, Shangrila promise to release loads more music in 2019, as well as a stack of live shows to back it all up. “We are immersing ourselves fully into music at the moment and taking it as far as we can!” Hopefully one of those live shows takes place in Victoria soon, as I’m dying to see what they can pull off in a live setting.
“I would say our live experience mixes the energy of a hardcore show with the sincerity and emotion of a rock show. We’ve worked really hard over the last couple of months to create a 30 minute set around the ‘Love and Leaving’ tracks and concept, designed to take people on a journey through to the end.”
Treating their new sound as a resurgence and a new beginning, Shangrila have already achieved some really cool things. Supporting Movements was huge for them, but it seems like nothing could beat their EP launch show at Amplifier Bar a few months ago. “There is something special about playing a headline show to a crowd who specifically made the effort to come out to see you play. It was such a beautiful moment looking out and seeing people genuinely enjoying themselves, singing and getting involved. I think it was everyone in the band’s favorite show to date, after everything we have been through together it was really nice to share that moment.”
Shangrila’s Love and Leaving delivers stunning aspects of breathtaking instrumentation, emotional storytelling lyricism, and an alternative sound that is one of the better things to come out of 2018 so far. They’re putting their all into Shangrila, and are going to make this something special. Make sure to support this band.