#24/7 VALENCIA: Can you tell us about ‘The Shag Sharks’ and your musical influences?
THE SHAG SHARKS: The Shag Sharks is a swing band, which combines music and dancing. Collegiate Shag is a style of dancing we practice, teach and perform on stage. We are specialised in hot jazz but our music is versatile in style and tempo.
We offer an energetic show playing standards of Jazz, Dixieland and covers of contemporary songs at a swinging rhythm in our live concerts. We are six musicians at the moment but we are always inviting more colleagues to play with us.
Our musical influences include jazz and swing music from the 20s, 30s, even 1940s…which is played for dancers mostly in concerts and festivals. We are also inspired by contemporary bands such as The Schwings, Caravan Gypsy Swing Ensemble or Hot Sugar Band.
Describe a bit about what each musician brings to the band?
Guillermo is the manager, leader and arrangement maker of the band. Also, he plays the trumpet and the washbord and sings. He gives a drive and inspiration to the band. He is one of the dancers and founder as well.
Verónica plays the ukelele and sings. She is a dancer and in the live shows she is very organic and energetic. She is also in charge of the outfit of all the members because she thinks the image is really important. She is one of the founders of the band.
Vicent is the drummer and he gives the band some serenity and good ideas that we all put together when rehearsing. He is a hard-working musician with his own style. He gives us the beat.
Toni plays the guitar and the banjo and his technique is splendid. He is also into other styles of music and, as he is the youngest one, he gives fresh air to the performance.
Tonón is the double bass player. He has been a musician all his life in different styles and he works hard to give a personal sound to the band. He also drives us to the concerts in his van and these are awesome moments.
Máxim is a very complete musician since he plays not just the saxophone and clarinet wonderfully but also other instruments quite well. He is also a very good organizer and makes the arrangements. Although he happens to be the last member to join the band, he is an inspiration to get to our aim which would be to create our personal sound.
Piff (pianist) and Óscar (double bass player) have been former members of the band and now they cannot be here because of geographical and pandemic issues but they still collaborate with us and they give us joy and light with their souls.
How do you find Valencia as a place to live?
As a person who moved to live here for good, I would say that Valencia is a beautiful, multi-cultural and bright place to live. It is well-connected and the people embrace you kindly as you open up to them. And you also have plenty of things to do every day and lots of opportunities to develop your skills, if you wish.
Is the Swing & Jazz scene here quite vibrant?
Obviously talking about Valencia without the pandemic situation, I would say that Valencia is a promising land for the world of jazz and swing. There are many great musicians and dancers and many festivals devoted to this specific style. The community of swing is quite a big one and it is increasing each year. We have always felt fairly supported by our friends and partners from this crazy world.
Please tell us in detail about the new album…
The Shag Sharks album is called ‘Coral Riff’ and is out now and is our most beloved objective. We have been performing on stage for more than two years and we have been playing hundreds of different songs so the worst task has been having to choose among lots of incredible songs for the album. Making this decision has given us lots to think about.
Eventually, the ones that have been selected were chosen because of some emotional or artistic value so we are in love with each and all of them. We wanted to have something that will remain forever and will showcase our work and eagerness…
It is an exciting project but we needed some support to make it true. So, we launched a crowdfunding so people could make a donation and also receive our album and other special gifts. We have achieved our goals, thanks to our friends and followers.
Interview by ’24/7 Valencia’ team
Article copyright ’24/7 Valencia’
More info: https://www.facebook.com/theshagsharks/