SHINY is a new singer, songwriter and producer from the city of Hamilton in Ontario, Canada. On January 1, 2021 he released his debut record, a 7 song EP titled “Keep the Spirit.” The project presents to us a talented young artist who is piecing adulthood together after being knocked around by life a bit.
“Keep The Spirit” opens with the groovy 1:28 instrumental,”Casino Intro.” Tremolo chords of a lounge-style electric piano jab their way into the spaces between a Jazz trumpet solo and a hard Trap beat. The short track does indeed turn out to be an excellent introduction of what is to come.
Over the course of the next six songs, SHINY weaves old-school Be-bop jazz recordings with Reggaeton bass, Hip-hop beats and Indie-Pop sensibilities. His music comes from a place where Lo-fi Jazz-Hop grooves meet freestyle slacker rhymes. It’s a place of wild genre mash-ups and a quirky funk. The sound has a cool beatnik vibe to it with smart and cynical lyrics like, “Either things have never looked this bleak, or I’ve just had a bad week.”
From the freestyle rhymes and Cobain-worthy chorus of “Love/Kill ” to the brilliant “Conversations,” SHINY flips the bird to all of the ex-girlfriends, cops and bad decisions of his past. This is the sound of a smart guy with cool toys, free time and very few fucks to give. It is a sound born of the disillusionment inherent to the experience of a young man growing to his early twenties only to realize that being an adult is just as ridiculous as being a kid.
We had the opportunity to sit down (virtually) with SHINY to discuss methods, history and cathartic freestyle rap. Read the conversation below and check out the video for “Bad Week.” You can also hear the song on the Deep Indie Dive playlist. Follow the links below the video to connect with the artist. Get in the loop on all of his current and future projects.
7 Questions with SHINY
The Static Dive: “Keeping Time” has such a great Jazz vibe. How much is live instrumentation and how much is sampled?
SHINY: Pretty much all of the instrumentation is sampled, including the sax, but there is some live bass guitar I peppered in as sort of a call-back to when I first started making music however its barely audible.
SD: How long have you been making music?
S: I started making music when I was 13, so about 7 years now. I traded a playstation portable I stole from a kid I went to school with for my first bass guitar.
SD: Who are your biggest musical influences?
S: My musical influences are truly all over the place. When I was younger I listened to a lot of hair metal, punk rock, and eventually cloud rap. My city’s local scene however has probably captivated me more than anything else in recent years. If I had to name a few artists off the top of my head I’d say Kanye West, Yung Lean, Smashing Pumpkins and The Dirty Nil. There’s so much more though.
SD: What is your greatest non-musical influence?
S: My mom, god rest her soul, who I lost to addiction at the age of 13 always pushed me to create and stood behind me no matter what. And my grandfather who taught me to fight hard, and probably also sparked my interest in classic cars.
SD: What inspired you to create this project?
S: What inspired “Keep The Spirit” most was probably my own vulnerability. I really felt like I needed an outlet for a share of loneliness, lust, heartbreak and sadness I was feeling, and music was the most sharp form of expression. There really wasn’t a formula to it though, and I wasn’t pressured to conform to any sound or genre. I just had to get those feelings off my chest.
It was composed solely by channeling manic episodes into lyrics and instrumentals. The jazz thing wasn’t planned at all. I just happened to be listening to a Sinatra record the night the first song was written, and it set the mood. When I started making the rest of the album I just sort of stuck with it, and let emotion take the wheel.
SD: What are your plans for the future (musically)?
S: Keep The Spirit was just the first step into music and I had a lot of fun making it. Whatever comes next is gonna be a charge head first, and it’s gonna be heavy. It’ll also have a much larger emphasis on guitar.
SD: Is there anything else you would like to say?
S: Shout out The Static Dive for helping keep the scene alive, shout out Ryan Fitz for recording/engineering the vocals, and shout out life in Hamilton Ontario for making me like this.