St. Louis' Shady Bug released their debut album, 'tbh idk', back in 2017. As soon as you listen to the album you realize that there is something genuinely captivating about the pairing of the band's sound and Hannah Rainey's shrewd songwriting. We recently had the opportunity to talk to Shady Bug's frontwoman Hannah Rainey about music, the future, and kissing muppets. Check it out!
Rapid Fire Questions
1.What has been your favorite album of the year so far?
That’s really hard!! I’ve been listening to rock records like Options, Ovlov, Spirit of the Beehive, and then blasting albums and singing all the words to Mitski, Soccer Mommy, Noname, Blood Orange… recently though I’ve been really enjoying the new Ian Sweet.
2. What did you grow up listening to?
My parents are the biggest Bob Dylan fans I know, they travel to see him in concert at least twice a year. So a lot of folk music like Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon and then classic bands like the Kinks, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. My dad’s record collection is really cool and I’m always so grateful he played all these albums for us when we were growing up.
3. Do you think Ray Romano would be into your music?
I never watched that show but I think he would bob his head :)
4. When was the last time you called your grandmother?
I saw her the other day and she was complaining to me about her friends that are going to vote republican lol !!
5. You know what I’ve been thinking of since the 4th grade? How come we never find out who Charlotte’s baby daddy is in Charlotte’s Web? Why does Wilbur have to raise all those spider babies on his own when Charlotte dies?? Where is their no good father at?? Is Wilbur the Father?
I love spiders, I let them live in my house sometimes if they are small. I think you need to chill!! Leave Charlotte alone, I love her, she taught me about death.
6. We’ve been trying to come up with a slogan for the site for a while now. So far we haven’t come up with any good ideas.
Looney Tunes for Losers
7. Which Muppet do you think is the best kisser?
Ms. Piggy seems the most flirty so
8. Should I watch Mama Mia 2 if I haven’t seen the first one?
I’m lame af and haven’t seen either, but I love ABBA, those songs are soooo goood. I think you could risk it.
9. Who would win in a rap battle? Meryl Streep or Shaq?
I bet shaq has some nice rhymes.
10. What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t making music?
Definitely art. I used to draw all the time and make collages. I’m a creative person and I love to make things that are completely my own.
Isaac Gutierrez for BLM: To start things off can you introduce yourself and give us a little background on the band?
(I worked to long on this drawing for it to just be a one time tweet, so here it is again)
Hannah for Shady Bug: My name is Hannah, I’m 26 yrs old, I live in St. Louis MO where I also grew up. Shady Bug was formed after I found my roommates chorus pedal and wrote some groovy licks early December 2016. I asked my friend Aaron to play drums with me and then we asked our two other friends Tom and Todd to join on bass and lead guitar. We had our first show almost three weeks later lol!
BLM: I didn’t realize this until I started to do more research on your band for this interview, but you’re Hannah from Dubb Nubb! I love that band. How difficult is it to balance out being in two bands?
Shady Bug: That’s so cool that you know Dubb Nubb! Right now Dubb Nubb is on hiatus because Delia moved to Chicago but we were active for almost 10 years straight. For a while this year I was in four bands total! It sucked coordinating practices and shows but I really enjoyed the challenge. I play bass in Ronnie Rogers and Toaster, both local STL bands.
BLM: What are the inspirations behind your sound?
SB: During the time I started Shady Bug I was listening a lot to Warehouse, Hoops, Emily Yacina, Blue Smiley, and Girlpool. Even though I’m constantly listening to playlists and albums on Spotify I’ve also been very influenced by going to shows and seeing live music. Watching other female guitarists and singers has been very inspiring to me, such as Speedy Ortiz, Screaming Females, and also always inspired and amazed by songwriting from the femme perspective from artists like Mitski, Lala Lala, and Ian Sweet.
BLM: I read in an interview that you grew up in a musically inclined household. What was that like? How did it help mold you into the musician that you are today?
SB: I was awesome. I remember wanting to learn guitar and just going to the basement where my dad practices guitar and asking him to show me how to play. My parents always encouraged me to pursue music, go to shows, and they even let us have house shows in their basement in high school. Also having music playing in the house was really important for my musical ear and songwriting because even though I hated listening to Bob Dylan and Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen all the time as a kid, hearing this music so young gave me a great foundation for when my sister and I decided we wanted to write our own songs.
BLM: Can you talk to us about your latest release ‘ Tbh Idk’ ?
SB: This album was recorded in Tom’s basement which also serves as the house venue ‘The Nest.’ We did all songs in one day with the help of Zach Schimpf. Half of the songs were written for Shady Bug and the other half I had written when I played solo in college in Columbia, MO. I rearranged my solo songs a little bit for full band and we incorporated heavy dynamics. I write the main form and lyrics of the songs and then everyone else in Shady Bug write their own parts. These songs are written by me and about my life experiences but the music and arrangements are completely collaborative.
BLM: When you imagined the songs for this album, how much did your imagination of them resemble the final recording version?
SB: I always wished I could play in a rock band so having my solo songs come to life with a full band was a dream come true. My bandmates helped form our ‘loud-quiet-loud’ sound (thanks Sonic Youth) and the dynamics and textures came together even more incredible than I thought was possible! When I first heard the recordings I couldn’t believe that was me.
BLM: I watched your music video for ‘Walk Me Home’ and absolutely loved it. Can you talk to us a bit about that? Any funny or interesting stories about shooting that vid?
SB: We knew we wanted to make a music video with our friend Dylan Schnitker. ‘Walk Me Home’ is not about walking dogs but we had the idea because we wanted something simple and it just so happened that we knew four white little doggies. The video was really fun and easy to make, we just strolled around my neighborhood and filmed in my backyard. My roommate Jesse’s parents let us use their bichon frise dog memorabilia for the vid, which was so funny. My favorite part of filming was when we decided not to bring the whole drum set to the backyard and Aaron just stood there with his bass drum lol.
BLM: Do you have a dream city or venue that you’d like to play at?
SB: I would love to go on a European tour someday. I took German in school and I have always wanted to go to Berlin.
BLM: What has been your favorite show so far?
SB: It’s always wild for me to open for some of my fav bands. One of my favorite shows recently was with Spirit of the Beehive and Pile at the Blueberry Hill Duck Room in St. Louis.
What has been your worst show?
SB: We played a dumb bar in Pittsburgh last year to barely anyone. We had to haul our gear up really steep stairs. It was dangerous and we almost had to pay to play, it was sad.
BLM: Are there any bands that you’d like to go on tour with?
SB: Melkbelly, Cherry Glazer, Lala Lala, idk any badass band with a femme lead.
BLM: What would you say is the hardest part of being on tour?
SB: Eating healthy and trying to go with the flow! It’s way easier to just eat taco bell or something but that’s so bad for your body when you’re in a car all day. It’s also easier to just blame all the things that go wrong on your bandmates or whatever but you’ll have a better time if you just roll with it.
BLM: I think lately I’ve seen a divide on whether or not bands should talk about political issues. Do you think that bands should talk about political issues?
SB: Definitely. White silence is violence! When my new record comes out try and see if you can hear my frustrations on global warming, reading the news and wanting to stay in bed forever, and my friends getting gassed by St. Louis police during the Stockley protests.
BLM: Do you have a craziest concert experience, one you’ve played or one you’ve gone to?
SB: One time Dubb Nubb was on tour and we played an empty sports bar in Amarillo TX. We knew nobody there, had booked the show through this website do-DIY (RIP). There was a guy at the bar wearing a huge cowboy hat, he looked like he was from a western. While we were playing he threw some money at us and left the building. After our set we picked up the money and it was a one hundred dollar bill! We felt lucky and were screaming.
BLM: What can we expect to see from Shady Bug in the near future?
SB: Please look out for our new record coming out early Spring late Winter ;) And of course more touring in the Spring!
Listen To Shady Bug Here
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