Interview: Griff Dickinson of Shvapes

We had the chance to catch up with Griffin Dickinson, front man of British Alternative Metal band SHVPES. We chatted about their new record Greater Than, their collaboration with Matt Heafy of Trivium, and the possibility of seeing them in Australia soon.

SR. Hey Griff, how are you today?

Good, it’s a bit of an early start, I was in the studio late last night in London. We’ve begun working on our third album already, we’re just writing at the moment. We want to take some time on this one and make it really awesome. It’s going to be a constant development from our previous music.

SR. Wow, that awesome! Your new record Greater Than is coming out soon, which was written in Wales. Are you going to write each record in a different city?

Well, a lot of what we wrote in Wales actually came from different places, we all wrote different parts wherever we were, and then came together in Wales to combine it all. We continued to work on stuff after that, it doesn’t matter where we are, whether were in the park or sitting in the car, it’s a constant thing for us. We keep writing until we record the track, and even after that, we go home and think “I want to change that part”. I just try to write wherever I am. I have so many shit ideas that I keep coming up with new ones.

SR. You’ve collaborated with Matt Heafy from Trivium, they’re a huge band, how did that come to be?

We toured with them on our first big European tour, we kinda became bros on the tour and at the end he said “If you ever want a feature on a song let me know”. At the time we had a lot of the album written, and I didn’t want to just throw him onto a random track for the sake of it. As time went on, we started messing around with the song ‘Rain’, and there was a big hip hop kind of section in it that gave the song some room to breathe. I thought it would be perfect to put him in that section, in a part where he’s not necessarily comfortable with the particular style. I wanted to see what he would come up with for that section of the song, out of his comfort song. We gave him a sort of rappy/screamey section, and it sounded really dope.

SR. You also worked with Jim Pinder, a well renowned sound engineer, how did that come about.

We recorded our debut album with him as well, and he really gets us, he’s really good at helping musicians develop themselves. He asks the right questions at the right time, and he doesn’t give you the answer. If you want his opinion he’ll give it to you, but he lets you question yourself. For example, when I put down some lyrics he’d say “Yeah, you can sing that if that’s really what you want to say about yourself, go for it”, and then you think “Hmm okay, maybe I’ll go back to the drawing board and change that”. He’s like the sixth member of the band, he brings a lot to the table.

SR. A good producer is very important. Do you have a favourite track from greater than?

It’s weird, because they’re all so different. ‘Hey Brother’ I like because it’s really trashy, it makes you want to fuck shit up. I love ‘Renegades’, the song completely turns itself on its head. I also really like ‘afterlife’, it makes you wanna kick your own grandma in the face, it’s insane. ‘After Dark’ would be my absolute favourite, it’s the most different track that we’ve done, it’s a bit of an interlude.

SR. Are you going to be working with Jim on your next record?

I think we’re going to wait until we have some songs happening before we choose an engineer, but I’m definitely not opposed to working with Jim again. The thing is, Jim is fucking amazing, he’s done everything we’ve ever wanted and more, but there is a part of me that thinks maybe we should try out recording with other people. He’s the only producer I’ve really properly worked with, it would be cool to do some trial tracks with somebody else and see how that works out. I feel like I’d be cheating on Jim if I worked with other people though *laughs*. I don’t think it’d upset him that much though.

SR. For sure, different producers are all good at different things, it can’t hurt to try. Do you see yourself making any songs in different styles in the future?

I mean, some of the stuff we’re working on has me a little worried *laughs*. Some of it has been purely acoustic, some of it has been rap beats with vocals over the top. I don’t know how we bring that in line with what SHVPES do. But that’s kind of the fun part, we get to be creative and bounce off of all of our ideas. I don’t know what the fuck we’re doing, but it does sound really cool.

SR. Do you think you’re going to release those more ‘different’ tracks that you’ve been working on?

It really depend how they turn out, and how they make me feel at the end of the day.

SR. You’ve released music videos for your tracks ‘Calloused Hands’, ‘Undertones’ and ‘War’, are we going to see any more music videos any time soon?

Yeah, in the coming months there will be another music video coming out for another one of tracks, I can’t say which one yet, but keep an eye out.

SR. Are all of the vocals on the record done by you, with the exception of ‘Rain’?

No, we had our guitarist’s sister record some vocals, she has an amazing voice. She featured on the track war in a bit of a duet scenario, and she also sings on ‘Two Wrongs, No Rights’, and has a little bit of her vocals in ‘Someone Else’. Our other guitarist Ryan also did some harmonies, other than that, I did the rest.

SR. Have you got any plans to visit Australia in the future?

There has been some plans to go there, but unfortunately talk can be cheap, and nothing is set in stone yet. All of us are really keen to go over there, we’d absolutely love to have the opportunity sometime soon.

SR. Where are you guys touring next?

We are touring the UK in October, and then when we finish that we’re going straight on a European tour with Bullet for My Valentine, Of Mice and Men, and Nothing More. After that tour, we’re doing another headline tour of the UK again. That’s all we’ve got booked at the moment, and we’re looking forward to it.

SR. That sounds pretty full on. I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun!

It’ll be incredible, the first UK tour we’re doing has fourteen shows in thirteen days, so that’s going to be full on. We’re playing two gigs on one of the days. We’ve had to re arrange set times to allow time for travel between each venue.

SR. As a singer, who influences you the most?

I think it’s Jason Butler from Let Live, in terms of delivery. I always make sure I’m not mimicking anyone else, because it doesn’t sound natural. Through listing to Jason Butler’s singing, I also discovered Steven Tyler and I really like how they kind of distort their higher notes. So yeah, the main one would be Jason Butler.

SR. If you could collaborate with any artists, dead or alive, who would it be?

I was talking to my guitarist last night, and I think it would be really cool to collaborate with 6ix9ine. It would be crazy, but I’d like to see how that would work.

Keep up to date with SHVPES via social media or their website. Keep an ear out for their new record Greater Than, set to be released on November ninth. Give these guys some love and we could be seeing them in Australia some time very soon.

Get the album here: