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Shy Child - Go Go Stop

Author: Carlisle Rogers
Friday, 10 August 2007
Carlisle Rogers talks to Pete Cafarella, of New York duo Shy Child, about being spontaneous.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, talking to one of New York’s premier keytarists, Pete Cafarella, one half of noisepop outfit Shy Child. With a kind of dry apathy, Pete delivered the kind of interview about the band’s third album, Noise Won’t Stop that you might have expected from Sonny Bono at 4am from a sex-trashed Aspen lodge

Living in Europe for the summer, playing a plethora of festivals and summer gigs, the pair (Cafarella is joined by Nate Smith) has been together since 2000 as Shy Child, and is heading to Australia this August to push the new, poppier sound. “Shy Child has been on and off, with varying degrees of activity, for seven years. We went to university together in Connecticut and we were in a bunch of bands. We both moved to New York around the same time. We moved to the same neighbourhood and ended up playing together, and we just kept going. We’ve learned a lot over the years. We’ve learned how to create an album, how to record one. There’s no trick to learning it though, you just go day to day.”

Pete says that when he and Nate come together to write these simple but hypnotising songs, they don’t overdo it, staying up all night working out harmonies or anything. “We usually just get in a room and play, record it and listen to the recording. Parts that we like we hold onto and it grows from there.  It’s pretty collaborative. It’s easy because there are only two people. If there’s an idea that we like we can just go with it. We don’t have to go figure it out amongst a bunch of people. We go through them pretty quickly in the practice room.”

The new album is easily their most accessible yet, with proper pop sensibility couched in a bed of experimental vestiges. “Our first LP and EP came out on a Canadian label. We sounded pretty different back then. We were more experimental. This is our first release in Europe, though. The new stuff is more song-oriented, three and a half minute pop structures. It’s all more verse/chorus/verse stuff. We don’t really have a lot of guitar or piano on the tracks. We still try to keep it edgy, you know.”

Recorded at Gigantic Studios (Phillip Glass’ old studio) in Manhattan with Chris Zane, Pete says they basically squeezed as many keyboards as possible onto the album. “The drums are all live. We do the basic skeleton of the track, then overdub with a bunch of keyboards and vocals. That was it. Lyrics are important – I think that’s the most important thing, lyrics are tricky in that I like them to be simple and direct, common and colloquial but at the same time not moronic. I think there’s an intricate balance, not that I achieve it frequently, but that’s the goal, to have it be evocative but not too specific; to keep the metaphors not too difficult.”

WHO: Shy Child
WHAT: Noise Won’t Stop out through Liberator / Shock
WHEN: Out now