November 2013 “Band of the Month” – SHANTIH SHANTIH
When we started the “Band of the Month” feature last year, we had no idea we would be introduced to all the amazing artists that we’ve wound up working with. From a feature with now-indie-giants, Of Monsters and Men, to the beautiful bedroom tunes of Faye Webster, the site found community and excitement in this feature. We look forward to continuing to share these incredibly talented artists with you.
Shantih Shantih is a four-piece band from Atlanta, Georgia playing fuzzed out, desert dusted rock n’ roll. Now an Atlantian by way of Italy, Anna Barattin’s (Vermillion Sands / Trouble in Mind, Fat Possum) distinctive vocals and English-language lyrics play out in narrative vignettes over three-fold backing vocal harmonies and Anna Kramer’s (Anna Kramer and the Lost Cause, Ocha La Rocha) hypnotic, layered solos. The band made their debut at SXSW this year, followed by a short string of dates with Gringo Star.
I’ll be honest, I don’t know very much about the band. One of our writers clued me in on what you all are doing and I managed to dig up a few things on the net, but I didn’t find much. Do you mind filling me in on the details.. How the four of you met each other and how that led to the emergence of the band etc..
Anna B: Since I moved to Atlanta from Italy two years ago, I always wanted to play music. Me and Julia talked about it for a while and decided to start doing something together. She didn’t have drums, I didn’t bring my guitar from Italy, but in no more than a couple of months we had everything. When I met Valentina, we talked a lot about music and I realized we had similar taste in very many things. She had been in a band before, but she never played bass. Something told me that she could do it (and damn, I was right!) and so we started playing together and have a lot of fun. We all loved Anna K and knew how such an amazing musician she is, so when she agreed on playing with us, Shantih Shantih was born.
What does the band name mean to you all? Was it something you were made aware of through T.S. Eliot’s work or something that you discovered in various religious texts?
Anna B: Shanti means peace in Indi, but yes, it is also the ending line of The Waste Land of T. S. Eliot. We kept Eliot’s spelling for the meaning of that particular statement. It was a way to close a circle and open up a new one, start again.
I read that the band played their first few shows ever together at SXSW this year. Was that slightly intimidating to have as a debut, or was the chaotic environment exactly what you needed?
Julia: I think we (Anna, myself, and Valentina) thought it would be terrifying. We were short a member that couldn’t make the dates and were inexperienced playing live shows together. Personally, for me, it got me ready for anything. Our SXSW show with Gringo Star, with a built in crowd, was radical. Energy was there, atmosphere, people really enjoyed us, and I was sick all day with food poisoning. I had already got through a day show, sick as a dog, trying to find places to be still and not throw up everywhere, and I made it though two shows in one day, under extreme circumstances.
From what I can tell, the past year has been a busy one for the four of you. What stories stand out from the time you’ve spent together in 2013?
Julia: We’ve had great opportunities to play in Atlanta, everything from freezing our asses off playing the ATL film fest at the Goat Farm, to playing a Halloween parade float, dresses as rejected beauty queens!
“Something Else to Drink” is available on your SoundCloud.. I’ve had it on repeat the past week. Where can our readers find more music from the band and is a full-length or EP expected out sometime this year?
Anna B: Our first single is coming out in vinyl in January. It will also be released digitally by ShitMusic for ShitPeople. Now we are currently recording a full length that will be ready next summer!
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/93194739″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
I sense a strong Velvet Underground influence…any thoughts on the recent passing of Lou Reed, and his artistic contributions?
Anna B: Velvet Underground has probably been the greatest influence I ever had. It’s weird to grieve for the death of a person you don’t know personally, but I really felt bad when I found out Lou Reed died. I am happy I got to see him live, though. A part from a couple of albums, his music after Velvet Underground never really appealed to me. Despite this, I don’t care if people say he was a jerk and that recently he sucked, his first albums were so good that I totally overlook that crap he did with Metallica and still consider him the only idol I will ever have.
We’ve had more younger Atlanta-based bands passed our way the past few months than from nearly anywhere else..What’s it like to be a younger band in Atlanta right now? Have people embraced you all as expected or has the influx of music saturated the market and made it more difficult to get recognition?
Julia: Being from ATL, knowing musicians, and hanging around Atlanta’s music world for over a decade ,I’ve seen it change, but I’m also older now. I’ve always felt it to have a kickass scene. Tons of bands, a lot with solid talent. I feel my friends are all super talented with lots of beauty to offer. We’ve been lucky, so far, with offers for shows, but being in an all girl band has its drawbacks too, we want to be taken seriously and not passed off as complete amateurs.
Upcoming dates include Gringo Star’s album release at Star Bar on November 23rd and a weekend run with the guys in mid-December. Are there any plans for a longer run of dates in early 2014?
Anna B: After their release show at Star Bar and our shows in December, we’re gonna take a little break. We’ll start playing shows again mid January and promote our new single and we’ll hopefully tour Europe soon, too!
“Shantih Shantih does Atlanta – Questions from Around the City”
When it’s time for a few beers away from the music scene, where do you go?
Anna B: Argosy! Valentina DJs there every Wednesday. The food is delicious and the drinks are too. We also like to go see the Braves.
This Atlanta business/restaurant deserves way more attention (why?):
Julia: The film industry has had a huge economic impact on ATL for several years. Personally, I’ve made a few bucks doing extra work in between jobs, small businesses get support too. For a fact, The Walking Dead cast is definitely representing our local clothing stores and coffee shops.
What new records out of Atlanta are a “must listen”?
Gringo Star’s Floating out to See!
Mood Rings’ VPI Harmony
Carnivores’ Second Impulse
and excited for Hollow Stars’ new album
What’s the biggest improvement Atlanta could use?
Valentina: An Ocean
Julia : Traffic, we know where the arteries get clogged, we just need to make it work. Also violent crimes for petty theft. Just a lot of robberies everywhere.
Best ethnic eatery?
El Torero for good Mexican food and Harmony for Chinese.
Atlanta’s most unique local personality?
Julia: There are sooooo many! Bicycle shorts man on the corner of St. Augustine and Briarcliff Rd showing off his testicles, Baton Bob at every festival in a tutu and Felix doing caricatures at the Star Bar are definitely the street charters that stand out in Atlanta.