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Shihad - Newsletter Interview: Shihad

25 Nov 2014 // An interview by Kerry Monaghan


Shihad recorded their first album Churn almost 21 years ago and ever since then, they have proven time and time again that they are one of New Zealand's leading Rock bands. They describe their new album FVEY as "total brutality from start to finish". Heavy music is the foundation of Shihad's sound - a sound they came up with in Wellington in the late 80s and early 90s as a band who were just as influenced by Metallica as thye were by New Zealand's own Skeptics. Thanks to Jon for answering these questions:

Jon, What are your top three bands and era of music - why?

Era of music - 

1. Post Punk - 1977-1980. Why? Because it was a great time of experimentation and fearlessness in Rock and Roll - From Britain you had Public Image Ltd, Wire, Joy Division, Gang of Four, Siouxie and the Banshees, The Psychedelic Furs, Killing Joke etc. and in the US, Devo, Talking Heads, Suicide, Television, Bad Brains etc.

2. Alternative - late 80’s-early 90’s. Why? Because it was another period of reinvention and rule breaking. Bands that I like from that time are - Fugazi, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Jane’s Addiction, Nine Inch Nails, Pixies, Big Black, The Jesus Lizard, PJ Harvey, Massive Attack, Tricky, The Cure, Cocteau Twins, Spiritualized, Aphex Twin.

3. Rock Late 60’s-Early 70’s. Why? Because these bands were writing the rule book before there were rules. Bands from this era I like are The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, Bob Dylan.

What is your earliest memory of music and is it what fuelled your passion to become a musician?

Watching records go around on my parents turntable for hours on end when I was 4 or 5. I thought it was magic (I still do). What fuelled my passion to become a musician was seeing my Uncle Charlie play acoustic guitar on a trip to the UK in his living room when I was 7. I couldn’t believe ‘real people’ could make music (I thought musicians were like super heroes!) and I asked my parents for a guitar and lessons which I was lucky enough to get! 

What are Shihad's plans after the FVEY tour and xmas? Do you split your time between here and Melbourne?

I’m off to Sudan for a month to catch up with family and hopefully do some recording with some Sudanese musicians for the start of the next Adults album. Then the plan is to go to UK/Europe around March next year with Shihad which will be festival season. We all live in Melbourne now days but come back every now and then to see family and do other things.

FVEY is a very political offering for you guys, why now and what has influenced this?

What has influenced this album is the current state of affairs, both politically and socially, in NZ and Australia and the West in general where Free Market Capitalism seems to have been decided to be the only way possible to live yet seems to be fostering massive inequality - making a few people extremely wealthy while the majority go poor and hungry, encouraging selfishness over selflessness, the destruction of the public sector (you know, important things like schools, hospitals, the arts etc.) and the destruction of the very environment all of us rely on to live. In our opinion our leaders have sold us out to big business interests over the interests of the people who voted them in and do their bidding whether or not it is in the public interest. Each of us feel passionately that the world should and can be a more equitable, fair and compassionate place for everyone on this planet and that that change is coming whether or not the powers that be try and stop it.

Would Shihad ever consider a double disc acoustic vs live set (much like Foo's In Your Honour, or Mellon Collie, Smashing Pumpkins)?

That’s a very specific question. Nothing like that planned atm but you never know!


About Shihad

Shihad has been blasting our airwaves with incredible songs since 1998, and ever since those early days in Wellington they have proven time and time again that they are one of the best and most loved Rock bands to ever come out of New Zealand.

Their boundary-pushing debut album Churn was released in 1993, produced by the outstanding Jaz Coleman and recorded in the legendary York Street Studios in Parnell. Churn was the first album to be recorded at the iconic studios, and so it was fitting that Shihad's 2014 album FVEY was also recorded there, again with Jaz at the helm.

Fast forward to 2018 and Shihad have released nine studio albums (five of which went to #1 in NZ), 3 EPs and countless memorable singles, survived a name change, personal triumphs and tragedies, travelled allover the world with endless tours, sold out headline shows and shared stages at major local and international festivals and toured with musical heroes such as Motorhead, Metallica, Faith No More and AC/DC.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Shihad


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Other Interviews By Kerry Monaghan

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