February/March 2017

by Ally Su'a

Shoutin’ Preachin’: Survival of the Hippest

by Ally Su'a

Shoutin’ Preachin’: Survival of the Hippest

The name’s genius right? Adding a sixth member to the group, Auckland brass-heavy hip hop act Shoutin’ Preachin’ announce the upcoming release of their EP ‘From The Echo Chamber’. Ally Su’a talked with hard working vocalist Andrew McCormack and bassist Yves Yang.

While their lyrics subtly encompass concepts of impending doom through party-starting anthems and socially conscious rap, Shoutin’ Preachin’s sound stems from various elements; hip hop, punk and brass. It’s a fused sound of New Orleans’ jazz parade horns, punk energy and hip hop beats blending to what the band describe as “…music from and for the millennial generation, and a rallying cry for the 99%.”

“It’s a punk influenced anti-establishment energy – but the music itself really stems in different directions,” vocalist Drew McCormack explains in person. “There are soul influences, there’s New Orleans second line stuff… but recently we’re trying to keep it more modern.”

The band’s first release, a five track EP which they badged ‘New Low Humans’ came in early 2014. The catchy single of the same name will be remembered by student radio listeners with an ear for brass hooks, scathing lyrics and profanities.

“We’ve creatively developed since, our sound is always developing and one thing that’s changed – that I’ve noticed – is the sense of ourselves and the sound that we’re making has matured.”

“I definitely saw that our sound isn’t as simple as it was before,” agrees bassist Yves Yang. “Our stylistic choice changed and our band just figured out what path we wanted to be on…”

Drew cites fellow Auckland bands Mason Clinic and Black Science as among their main influences.

“Mason Clinic went through what we are going through right now, and not only them but also Black Science. They’re one of the bands that have influenced us specifically with our values.”

In regard to their hip hop influences, he prefers the band keep moving forwards.

“We’re trying to avoid sounding like one thing… I don’t like the idea of becoming a mimic.”

With the addition of Hayden Walsh on trumpet, Scott Thomas on saxophone, Christopher Chatwin-Ward’s trombone and drummer Jared Taylor, Screachin’ Preachin’ have no real problem sounding like themselves and no on else.

When we talk the band is in the final steps of preparing their debut album ‘From The Echo Chamber’ for mid-March release. Talking about the musical process involved in making the tracks the pair agree it’s a variation between starting with a beat, casual jams and improvisation.

“Recently, we found ourselves starting with the beat… but there have been times we have a jam. We find that sometimes directionless because your intuition can only provide you so many avenues. And also the band tries to meet each other halfway with the sounds that we individually create,” Yves reflects.

“We’re trying to get it to sound like what’s in our head. There’s six of us in the band and trying to reflect that it’s difficult.. but a few of the tracks on the new album have been initially created by some of our improvisational jams,” elaborates Drew.

One of the key challenges in making the album was the act of recording itself.

“We are quite disadvantaged in recording situation because we sound so much better and different live,” admits Yves. “Just so much fuller and more energetic, and with studio recording it needs to be adjusted.”

“It’s hard to have the same energy in our recordings,” chimes in Drew. “The horns are clipped out in recordings sometimes – but we always find a way to do it.”

‘From The Echo Chamber’ has many elements in the sounds and concepts it can create. Primary lyricist Drew explains its darkness by pointing to the current state of the world.

“I find that a lot of what I write has a sense of impending doom… I somehow find myself always including it for some reason, but it’s more in the sense of righteous indignation. Three good words to describe it are ‘bankrupt political establishment’, I’d definitely say this album has really refined that, which to a point that would be the main focus, but we try to lighten it up with energetic beats.”

The new album is not only a combination of the band’s individual sounds but also their process of development since the last release.

“Expect six tracks on the album but more importantly expect equal parts cynicism and equal parts righteous indignation. Expect just that,” advises Drew.