20 Questions You Didn’t Know You Wanted To Ask... Shawn Lee
How would you best describe what you do to the uninitiated?
I make records! As to say I’m continuing the tradition of making music that connects the past to the present and into the future. I’m a musical magpie and I’ll mess with any style I like thru my individual perspective and process.
Where would you say you are with regard to your career right now?
I’m well in to it! Having said that, there still is a lot more stuff to do. I feel like all the seeds I’ve been planting all these years are just now starting to bare fruit. It’s been a really gradual process man.
Which song (not neccesarilly yours) best sums you/the band up and why?
What a fool believes by The Doobie Brothers is one of my all time favourite songs. I’d say it inspires me a lot with my group Young Gun Silver Fox.
Who would you say has been your biggest inspiration (musically or otherwise)?
SL-Musically thats a tough question as I admire so many different people. Here are a small list: Ennio Morricone,Shuggie Otis,The Beatles,Jeff Porcaro,Steely Dan,Stevie Wonder,The Beach Boys,The Dust Brothers,Money Mark.
Is there anyone amongst your influences that you think would surprise people and why?
SL-Good question. I’m not sure about that to be honest. I do love Andy Williams tho. He has an incredible voice. I really rate him and prefer him to Sinatra to be honest . Fight me ! Ha ha ha
What are you most proud of?
Making a living from what I love to do for the last 40 years !
In the quest to get the music ‘out there’ have you ever done or agreed to anything you’ve later regretted?
Every step a long the way has been necessary and kept me moving forward so no. I’ve always continued making my own music no matter how busy I’ve been working for others. That’s key...
What’s the most ridiculous request that’s been asked of you/the band?
Apple wanted to use one of my songs for free ie: a \"gratis license\"! Rotten Apple -get the fuck out of here.
What do you think is the secret to a good working relationship amongst musicians?
Respect,friendship and humour play an essential role. Also, loyalty is paramount and allowing people to put their own personal thing into it is important too.
If you could have played on one song (that you don’t), what would it be and why?
Tough question but maybe drums on Alabama Shakes as the drums are never as good as they should be.
How do you make the balance between music and personal responsibilities?
No sleep! Ha ha ha That’s one of life’s constant battles ya know. The struggle of the juggle! I just give it a 100% every day and know good and well there is never enough hours in the day.
In light of the internet and downloading do you feel that fans are missing out on the record buying discovery/experience?
SL- It’s never too late to buy a physical LP or CD even if you grew up with online music. I don’t stream music personally but my only problem with the Spotify &Youtube’s of the world is they don’t pay fair royalties. This must change.
Do you think that success is your motivation and do you have a preset gameplan for your music/the band?
SL- My initial motivation is always making music that I love. Doing that and learning all the while during the process is success. Finish and release and go out and play the music for live audiences. Repeat this scenario over and over!!!!
DJ’s are now as famous as a lot of the bands they play, what are your views on this and do you think it’s deserved?
I have been doing my own radio show on Soho Radio for nearly 6 years and also occasionally DJing in clubs. The DJ should never be bigger than the music that they play. I know a lot of DJ’s,some of them are quite famous. I know who is for real and who is lost in their own self importance and ego. DJ’s spread music around the globe and it’s an important part of the musical eco system.
To date, what has been your most memorable gig (either as a performer or as a fan)?
SL-Playing North Sea Jazz Festival with Young Gun Silver Fox last year was a real highlight. The crowd was incredible and it was a real moment in my musical career. I had my wife and my kids with me too and it was so special.I’ll always cherish that night
How do you overcome pre-gig nerves (if you get them)?
SL- I don’t get nervous before playing to honest. It’s only when you do a live TV that I feel a bit of nerves Live TV is a mofo!!
When did you last write something?
SL- Last week. I’m always writing, it’s a fluid thing. I love it !!!
Have you ever reached a point where you’ve thought about throwing the towel in and walking away (and if so, what persuaded you otherwise)?
SL-Honestly no. I’ve come way too far to do anything else. I don’t do music to make a living-I’m living to make music! You know what I mean?!I’ve never had a back up plan so there is no other choice than to make it work.
What are your views on electronics muscling in and replacing live instuments during recording?
SL-I think there was a point when it got too easy to do with apps,VST’s and simulations and it made people lazy. Also \"Electronic\" music wasn’t the new thing anymore and it has become so mainstream and banal. When anybody can do it on their Iphone in Garage Band dragging and dropping loops it’s pretty low brow.I’m now replacing people’s midi parts with hardware physical instruments so the tables are turning.
Lastly, thank you for your time. What made you agree to answer these questions?
SL- I’m always happy to spread my love for music. I always have time for that.