Sounding like the small faces on an almighty sugar rush, London-based trio The Shadracks are the Gen Z children of Bam-Caruso’s Rubble compilations. Bringing their own flavour of immediate garage rock to the fore, they shake with Keef riffs, primal beats and a healthy whiff of the British countryside. Fronted by Medway-born Huddie Shadrack, The Shadracks are making music to dance and seriously lose your shit to. Here, we connect with Huddie during lockdown to discuss the band’s exciting next steps.
Alex James Taylor: You’re from Medway, Kent, which is known for a great UK garage rock scene back in the late 70s, the likes of Billy Childish, Graham Day, Thee Headcoats, The Prisoners. Did that scene inspire your own music, or knowledge of music?
Huddie Shadrack: Well my dad is Billy Childish and my mum’s from Thee Headcoatees, so I’ve sort of known about it from the beginning. I knew quite a few of those people just because they’re friends with my parents and stuff. But I don’t really know a lot about that whole time, I know about my dad’s groups and bits-and-bobs, but there isn’t really a scene here now.
AJT: Do you still live there now then?
HS: Well, not really, I’ve been living at my dad’s over lockdown, but I’m studying at Slade in London, so I live there mostly, on a boat.
AJT: Was there a moment as a child where you discovered your dad’s career or was it just always the norm for you?
HS: I guess I just always knew about it. He does his music and writes and paints and things, it’s just sort of normal for me. But it’s funny because like, we don’t really listen to music in the house much… we listen to classical music. It is a bit weird how I’m into a lot of the same music as my old man but he never really showed me music, we never really talked about it much. I talked more about music with my stepmum really. I got into stuff through listening to 60s bands. I really liked The Beatles when I was like ten or eleven, I was really interested in listening to them. I then tried to learn the guitar when I was about thirteen but I couldn’t hack it [laughs]. Then when I was sixteen, I learnt again after about fifteen or twenty guitar lessons.
AJT: Did you start the band while you were still in Kent then?
HS: Yeah, so our drummer Ellisa [Abednego] is from Medway as well, she’s a couple of years older than me. We actually just met through a friend and ended up chatting about music. We were both listening to a lot of punk stuff at the time like The Damned and Richard Hell and we both had similar interests. I think she’d just broken up with her boyfriend and his band and wanted to do some music, and I’d sort of been learning guitar for six months and knew some songs. Her parents had a garage with her drum kit set up so we just messed around in there for six months and then I split up with my girlfriend and sort of thought, “Well maybe we should form a band and write some songs out of all this.” Then a guy I work with, his missus plays bass so we asked her to play for us.
AJT: When was this?
HS: We started playing when I was seventeen, so it was three years ago.
AJT: You released your album last year so that was pretty quick work.
HS: Yeah we did, we just sort of got it all together and everything fell into place quite nicely. We’re very lucky to have the opportunity to record.
AJT: In east London there seems to be a sort of garage resurgence bubbling away with venues like Helgi’s, Cave Club, Lobotomy Room.
HS: It’s weird, I don’t really go and see a lot of bands. I do go to clubs and things… Actually, our bassist, Elle [Meshack], has left now – she has like two jobs and an insane work schedule – but we got our mate Rhys [‘Spider’ Webb] playing bass for us now and he does Cave Club [a night at Moth Club in Hackney].
AJT: Yeah, I was going to ask about Rhys, how did you form a relationship with him?
HS: I met Rhys when I was fifteen, I actually met him at one of my dad’s gigs, I think it might have actually been the first time I’d seen my old man play. My girlfriend at the time was a fan of The Horrors and she said to me, “Oh that guy over there is in this band I really like,” so I said to go over and say hello but she was really shy and didn’t want to, so I just went over and started chatting with him instead. I’d never listened to any of his music or anything but we got on and then when I moved to London I knew he ran a club and I sent him our record asking if we could play and he said yeah. Then we just became mates. We wrote some songs together and did some recording with one of our other mates which didn’t really get anywhere. Then I thought it’d be great if he played bass for The Shadracks and he agreed.
AJT: He’s a bit of a production wizard, right? I know he uses a lot of analog equipment.
HS: I don’t actually know what his production is like, we wrote some songs together which was a weird experience for me, writing them on a computer, because he does all his Horrors stuff where he plugs all his stuff in. He did that and I tried to write like that but I couldn’t hack it [laughs], I found it easier to just sit down with a guitar and write the words down. But we haven’t done any recording together yet. We’re into similar stuff and he gets the kind of sound that we like and it all works quite nicely, really.
AJT: His Cave Club playlists are great, I just leave my Shazam on all night to get the song titles.
HS: Yeah, his record collection is just bonkers, every single penny he’s ever earned has been spent on records.
AJT: Do you remember the first record you got?
HS: It might have been a Kinks compilation, or I remember an early Christmas where my mum got me The Kinks’ Controversy, and The Ramones first album and The Doors first album. But I think previously to that, I’d have had an iPod with The Beatles’ Red Album on.
AJT: What’s next for The Shadracks then?
HS: I’ve basically got an album’s worth of new songs, which I’ve done mostly during lockdown. I’ve wanted to do a new album for a while and hopefully we’re going to be able to get in the studio and release it next year. It’d be good to gig a load of songs because that makes the world of difference, but I think we’re just going to have to spend a couple of weeks in rehearsal rooms once they’re open.
AJT: Sure, how’s it been working on those songs on your own, is that something new for you or not?
HS: Me and Elisa have a running joke about her getting a writing credit for the drum parts [laughs], but yeah, I write the lyrics and the chords and everything and enjoy doing it by myself. I enjoy writing with Rhys too and might do some of that in the future, but during lockdown it’s not been any different for me really.