It’s been less than two years since SHAED’S release of their six-track Just Wanna See EP, but word has spread like wildfire about them. SHAED, a three-piece band from D.C., comprised of frontwoman Chelsea Lee, and twins Max and Spencer Ernst, marries complimentary talents that blend soulfulness and production-savviness for a genre-defying sound all their own.
They’re now in the midst of their North American JOYFUL tour with headliners X Ambassadors, and will make a stop at The Depot on May 4. In anticipation for their show, I spoke to the band about their upcoming releases, longstanding relationship, and how their music has spoken to our fraught political times.
Charissa: What have you guys been up to lately?
Spencer: We moved into a house together in September and since then we’ve been writing and recording new material for our upcoming EP. We turned our family room into a studio so we’ve been working on music a lot in between touring.
Charissa: Did knowing each other since high school shape how you play and make music together? How have you seen your relationship with one another evolve as your respective music careers progressed?
Chelsea: Honestly we are an incredibly close group—we spend pretty much every waking moment together. It has always been our dream to play music so being able to do that together is indescribable. I think sometimes people have a hard time understanding our dynamic because it is very unique—We’ve been best friends since we we’re 15, we live together, Spencer and I are engaged, we make music all day long. The closeness has only grown over time. It’s hard to picture our lives any differently.
Charissa: Your cover of “Starboy” is amazing; specifically, the harmonies in the chorus and synths throughout. How did you guys plan what it would sound like?
Spencer: Thank you! We were staying at a beach house in North Carolina when Spotify asked us to start working on a cover for their singles session. The Weekend had just released “Starboy” and we fell in love with it. The beach vibes definitely played a role in the song—we recorded the sound of crickets at night and layered them in the track.
Charissa: Why did you decide to do a studio as well as an acoustic version of “Perfume”?
Chelsea: We like doing acoustic versions of our tracks because it gives them new life and shows the dynamics of each song. It’s also fun for us to take a song and reinvent it.
Charissa: I read that you’d written “Thunder” at the time that Bernie Sanders was going strong in the election. What weight and meaning do you think the song now carries, amid our current political climate? How has it been received by your fans?
Max: The lyrics for “Thunder” were a call of action to stand up to our current political system that promotes income and wealth inequality and allows for corrupt campaign financing. The lyrics of Thunder are even more meaningful with Trump as our president – who has proven his favoritism towards the extremely wealthy on top of discrediting climate change and trans rights. Our fans really supported the song when it came out and we featured a bunch of DC artists in the music video who were feeling the same way we were.
Charissa: What can listeners expect from your next releases?
Chelsea: We have a bunch of songs that will be coming out starting in late May. We’ll be featuring another artist on one of our tracks for the first time which we’re excited about too.
To get tickets to see SHAED at the Depot next week, go here.