Josh Shaw of Blvck Hippie Talks “If You Feel Lonely at Parties,”
Josh Shaw logged in to our Zoom interview from a scenic space. At first glance, outfitted with drums and a microphone, the space appears to be a rehearsal space / studio for indie rock band Blvck Hippie. At second glance, stuffed animals, toys and a mattress become clearer: it is also the bedroom of her 3-year-old daughter. It is this do-it-yourself ingenuity that propelled the leader of the group.
Josh Shaw, 26, is the frontman of the self-proclaimed “Sad Boy Indie Rock Band”.
Blvck Hippie’s music is a serious letter with a post-punk twist. Formed in 2018, the group brings a new combination with nods to rock’s past.
Growing up near the University of Memphis and in Hickory Hill, Shaw says the city has given him even more advantage as an artist.
“I feel like that makes me a serious urban artist,” said Shaw, who is also a tour guide at Sun Studios. “Memphis, I feel like, is still the underdog. I feel like an artist, it made me work twice as hard and kind of pushed me harder because I have to put Memphis on. on the map to some extent, and I feel like we’re getting a lot overlooked. ”
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After returning to Memphis from Jackson, Tennessee, after college, Shaw said he found himself navigating an extremely white DIY space.
“It wasn’t a very welcoming environment,” Shaw said of the shows he would attend at popular craft venues. “I think I’m at the point where I’m trying to create a space, but not just here but like everywhere.”
Now, as a rising force in the Memphis indie scene, Shaw is deliberately making room for black-fronted groups.
“There has to be more representation. And you will only dilute and ruin your genre if you don’t allow other voices to be heard, because then everything else is good evidence is going to sound the same because it’s written from the same point of view, so there’s no change. It’ll just be the same, the same subjects, the same instrumentation, the same everything. “
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“It’s sort of my main focus since like last year. I started trying to find as many black-fronted bands as I could and started putting together a playlist on Spotify just to do it. spread the word about all these black artists, so we can basically just like bum rush over to the whole genre and take it for our own. So 10 years from now when there’s a bunch of other weird black kids out there who want to create groups, they actually have a safe space for them and a welcoming space to enter.
Blvck Hippie reappropriates the punk sensibility and the alternative genres of the pioneers of people of color, often excluded from their history.
Continuing to appear in unconventional ways, Shaw’s lyricism presents a necessary and timely investigation into social anxiety and what it means to be vulnerable – the two themes in which Shaw says we can expect on the band’s debut LP, ” If You Feel Alone at Parties. “
Additionally, Shaw says we can expect to hear guitar writing influenced by The Smiths, The Strokes, and Julien Baker from Germantown.
“Everyone does like everything you do is write sad music, but what I’m really trying to do is write about everything that I go through and experience,” Shaw said. . “I’m really thankful that I had this push to be more open and honest because now I don’t really regret it at all.”
Like the Heartfelt and Anxiety, Blvck Hippie’s music ultimately reminds people that they are not alone in feeling lonely.
Blvck Hippie exhibits a necessary and timely desire to be heard and understood.
“They are not alone. Mental health issues, especially when the community is very taboo and they have like someone to look like, who says, ‘My life has been really difficult, but I have not given up, and I am creating a world that shows you that you don’t have to give up either. And you can have a place somewhere. Even if you are weird and different, you will always have a place because I have a place, and as long as I have a place, then you have a place. ‘”
Blvck Hippie’s debut LP “If You Feel Alone At Parties” is now available to stream on Friday, September 17th, and you can find them on tour.
Astrid Kayembe covers southern Memphis, Whitehaven and Westwood. She can be reached at [email protected], (901) 304-7929 or on Twitter @astridkayembe_.