Interview: SHAED's Chelsea Lee on working with twins, Max and Spencer Ernst
Courtesy of Phono Finish Records

Electro-pop trio SHAED hail from the vibrant Washington D.C. music scene. Last year, they released their debut EP Just Wanna See on Photo Finish Records; and went on to tour with Marian Hill and VERITE. They also played the Red Bull Sound Select in L.A. with Charlie XCX. They've been rising the ranks, thanks to the soulful vocal stylings of frontwoman, Chelsea Lee, and the production savvy of her bandmates; twins, Max and Spencer Ernst.

The brothers had been playing together under a different moniker previously. Joining forces with Lee, also a regular face on the D.C. scene, have given them all a second chance at making their mark.

"Perfume" their EP's standout single which features Lee and backing vocals by the boys; offers the best of the genre with synth flourishes and catchy hook. A tight group, their acoustic version of the track is equally memorable.

Currently, on tour with Bishop Briggs, SHAED is also busy at work on their full-length. They will perform in San Francisco at the Fillmore, tomorrow, April 20. Ahead of their show, Lee shed some light on the band's inner workings with an e-mail interview. 

AXS: What were Max and Spencer looking for when they added you to their band?

Chelsea Lee: We met when we were in high school and became best friends. My transition into the band was really natural. We were always making music together - messing around on recordings and writing - but we finally were able to establish SHAED in march of last year.

AXS: Joining a band which consists of yourself and a pair of twins - did you ever feel like you were going to be an outsider? If you ever have to vote on something, do they ever gang up on you?

CL: I never felt like an outsider, more like a "devoted third wheel." It did take me a second to crack the twin code which consists of mind reading and a serious love of the cosmos, but after that we were joined at the hip. As far as voting goes, they do tend to have the same opinions and thoughts but I generally always get my way.

AXS: Do you all have quite similar musical tastes?

CL: Thankfully we all like the same music. It would be an absolute disaster if we didn't.

AXS: You guys mentioned that SHAED has given you all a second chance to come out in the DC music scene - what is this scene like in terms of strengths and weaknesses?

CL: D.C. has an incredible music scene. There's a very tight-knit community of artists who support and love each other, as well as amazing venues. One of our favorite venues in the world is the 9:30 club and whenever we play there it feels like home. As far as weaknesses go, I believe DC has a hard time connecting local artists to the radio scene.

AXS: "Thunder" is a protest song written in the lead up to the election - bands can often feel like they should stay out of politics which can be polarizing for would be fans - what do you guys think? And what prompted you to write the song?

CL: We wrote this song when Bernie Sanders was going strong, especially among the youth in DC. We have stayed away from politics in the past, but with the recent election we can't be silent anymore. This is the time to get loud like thunder. 

AXS: The EP,  I understand was written while you weren't living together - how did  distance impacted on the way you wrote?. 

CL: When we wrote the EP we weren't living together. Max and Spencer would work on a track, send it to me to work on a melody, and then we'd come together to work on lyrics. Now that we live together our creative process has evolved a bit. We sit in a room together and work organically on ideas with a drum pad and a keyboard. We work collaboratively from the inception of a song. We prefer working together throughout the whole process and living/touring as a group makes it easy to do that. 

AXS: Keeping in theme with SHAED, your band name, each song on the EP, one of you has said 'is designated a shade of color.' Presumably there would be seven shades of color for the EP. What would each be? "Running Through Fields" which is my favorite track, I think should be marigold.

CL: Each song gives us a color vibe. Max and Spencer have created a light show for when we play live that reflects that. For example, "Perfume" feels like pink while "Just Wanna See" feels more purple. And you are right on point with the marigold.

AXS: What is the best thing about working with twins? And the worst thing?

CL: These guys make my heart so happy. The greatest thing is that I have not one but two, best friends. The worst thing is trying to figure out what to make them for dinner (they have very different cravings). And yes I am the master cook in this group. 

AXS: What were your first impressions of Max and Spencer when you met them in High School, and why did it take you guys so long to get together?

CL: My thought when I met these guys was how can I convince them I'm cool. We were always in different projects and at different places in our lives. Then the stars aligned and we got together for SHAED. 

AXS: Having been in other bands - did you have a moment where you thought to yourself 'Yes, this is IT! This is going to work?'

CL: Yes. I have that moment every single time we play a show together. 

AXS: Did you make it to see The Redwoods last time you played in San Francisco?

CL: Yes we did a long hike among the redwoods and it was beautiful. We are very outdoorsy people so we hit up a lot of national parks like the White Sands in New Mexico and Crater Lake in Oregon. We tend to hit those things more than touristy things in town. I'm sure we'll check more out during this tour!!!

For tickets to see SHAED tomorrow night at The Fillmore, please click here. For ticket to the rest of the tour at select AXS venues, please click here

SHAED Tour Dates w/ Bishop Briggs

April 20 - San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
April 25 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater                                           
April 26 - Kansas City, MO - Midland Theatre                                   
April 28 - Minneapolis, MN - Go 96.3 Show                                                  
April 30 - Milwaukee, WI - Turner Hall Ballroom                                          
May 2 - Detroit, MI - Majestic Café                                                   
May 3 - Toronto, ON - The Mod Club                                                              
May 5 - Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer                                         
May 6 - Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair                                                           
May 7 - Pawtucket, RI - The Met                                                       
May 9 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom                                         
May 10 - Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg                                    
May 12 - Nashville, TN - Exit/In                                                                      
May 16 - Orlando, FL - The Social                                                      
May 17 - St. Petersburg, FL - The State Theatre                                            
May 19 - Houston, TX - Rudyards (headlining)
May 20 - Austin, TX - The Mohawk                                                    
May 21 - Dallas, TX - Cambridge Room @ House of Blues                            
May 23 - Phoenix, AZ - The Crescent Ballroom                                 
May 24 - Santa Ana, CA - The Observatory