Hailing from from Poland, Shine are a power trio whose two albums so far (the Weednight EP from 2015 and their full-length entitled Moon Wedding from 2018) have been a pleasant surprise in the sometimes overcrowded and saturated modern psych / stoner / doom scene. Shine deliver a neverending flow of massive grooves and boiling riffs together with a lysergic and psychedelic atmosphere which gives them a special touch which is missing from the hundreds of retro-occult wanna-be bands that surround us. Kamil Baran (guitar / vocals) kindly answered our questions. Do yourself a favour and visit their bandcamp to listen to some quality stuff.
First, some general information about the band. When did Shine start playing? What's the current line-up? What are the main musical influences?
Kamil Baran: I don't really have a good memory for dates but it was around 2013/2014. I knew already Cichy, the bass player and we both played in some local bands: I, in Unipolar Manic Depressive Psychosis, Cichy in Moanaa. I think, that neither of us actually realized our artistic visions in these bands. In my case, UMDP was playing psychedelic music, which I liked for a long time, but what was missing was the sound of 70's bands like The Stooges, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix and of course, Black Sabbath. And besides of that, both I and Cichy just love doom. Our mutual interest in bands like Sleep or Electric Wizard caused us to do something more sounding like us.
Besides, I remember that during the times of Weednight I was playing on guitar Skippy James and I was listening to a bit to the Blues. On top of that, we all liked the album A Gilded Eternity from Loop which is a trance band, so the influences were very various.
Moon Wedding is closer to generic stoner doom with some psychedelic trips. The line-up is back to the initial trio – Me, Kamil Baran guitar and vocal, Damian Olearczyk, bass and vocal, Marcel Lekawa, drums.
In terms of equipment, I’m using mainly an old Gibson Les Paul which I’m connecting to a Fuzz Face and a "Jeff", a handbuild amp made by a local guy who specializes in this sort of equipment.
You have recorded two albums so far: the Weednight EP in 2015 and the full-length Moon Wedding in 2018. What are the main differences between them? How has your sound evolved?
K. B.: The main difference is that the EP was recorded live in our rehearsal room and therefore has this special "live" feel on the recording. For Moon Wedding, we’ve recorded all instruments separately in the studio which makes it more sterile but also allowed us to achieve a heavier sound which you can hear especially on the main riff in “Honey”.
Now some questions about your latest album, Moon Wedding. I love the sound of the album. It's heavy, dense, crushing but it also has different textures and a psychedelic touch which creates a hypnotic atmosphere. What can you tell us about the recording process? What did you try to achieve in terms of sound?
K. B.: The process of recording itself did not take too long. The bass and drums were recorded in one day. Guitars took us two days. All the solos were recorded improvised and usually, the first take was the best, which is what Jimmy Hendrix used to say. In general, the recording of instruments doesn’t take much time. In terms of the hypnotic state which psychedelic music causes, this specific mantra, I always considered this as one of the most important aspects of the music I make. Playing and listening to such music is an experience like meditation, it has something liberating, very difficult to explain but I’m sure you know what I mean. In terms of the sound of the album, I really wanted to capture the heaviness of the riffs, without losing the “degraded” fuzz, lo-fi style, which will stay with us forever… And of course, as always, no modern tech, only analog warmth.
I see there is an obsession with the moon both in the title of your last album and in your artwork. Can you tell us why?
K. B.: Besides of the fact that the moon has an influence on life itself as on the calendar, which we are using, we react with the moon also as an element of the biosphere, which we are part of on this planet. But why he is so appealing, he knows probably best. The title song, which gives the title to the whole album refers to “Pan Twardowski” who is a legendary Polish sorcerer. He sold his soul to the Devil and among other things, was traveling with him to the moon. Personally, I believe that the moon is inhabited, but it’s a secret.
Your lyrics deal with the occult, witchcraft, the dark arts but also with hallucinatory visions and the use of drugs. Can you tell us more about them?
K. B.: My lyrics are about the desire to wake up, enlightenment, astral travel and about the permanent and tantalizing feeling of unhappiness and longing, which even in moments of apparent happiness is still inside, like an unhealed wound. Damian’s lyrics are about the stuff you mentioned, but he does not do interviews.
I think the album cover is great. It's mysterious, macabre and intriguing. What's the concept which lies behind that picture?
K. B.: I’m very glad, that you like it. I was trying to capture with this graphic the atmosphere of our music. Quite often you achieve “by accident” the desired outcome while working on artwork like that. You combine various elements until it all forms a whole which you know is what it should be. I did not have any predefined concept. It’s like with riffs, if you find the right one, it’s more like the riff found you rather than you him. This was the case with the album cover. I think, that it perfectly corresponds with the content.
How is the Shine experience live in concert? I can imagine you guys must play quite a mind-blowing show.
K. B.: Hard to say. I always wanted to see a Shine gig as a spectator, but I hope, that it will not happen soon. : ) You would have to ask people in front of the stage. We do not play many gigs, maybe a few per year. You must see for yourself. We have some planned for the near future. In my opinion, each and everyone is a unique experience. I’ve been once in Spain and really liked it. You can invite us? : )
How important is the use of drugs in your creative process? Would Shine be the same without them?
K. B.: I think that my musical ideas do not have a connection to drugs, but on the other hand, they come from who I am, and without them, I would probably be someone else.
Can you recommend some interesting bands from the current Polish scene?
K. B.: I rather listen to old music than follow the scene of today, but some time ago I really liked a gig of Ave Ceasar. Bands with whom we played, especially I liked always Voidsmoker, Black Smoke, Whalesong.
Finally, is there anything else you would like to add?
K. B.: I would like to add that I’m very grateful for being interested in Shine.