why am i obsessed with shanghai baby? | music
Prior to her debut EP release of EP01, I touched base with the coolest cat, Ade Martín, to talk more about her solo venture.
Whilst she continues to play in Madrid-based band, Hinds, Ade’s new direction masterfully explores an alternative, hypnotic sound. Under the pseudonym, Shanghai Baby, we hear Martín getting gritty – her sound is infectiously rough and ragged. Ade has injected EP01 with adrenaline; she leaves little room for you to be bored. In many ways, Shanghai Baby is Hinds’ brooding, dark, and cool sister.
She kicks off EP01 with Horse, a song that can only be described as a transcendent experience. With its punchy set of raunchy chords, raw vocals and piercing drums, Ade starts her EP off with gusto. It is truly nothing short of a euphoric – I am desperate to hear this live one day! It then rushes into Congratulations, an infectious and liberating piece. Ade should also be lauded for her ability to make solemn lyrics, sound comforting. For fans of The Strokes and Julian Casablancas, this is the artist for you. Ade says that her parents are music enthusiasts, so Shanghai grew up on a rich diet of The Kinks, The Beatles, Jonathan Richman, and much more. She originally started recording her solo project in the South of Spain with Paco Loco, who clearly understood the assignment. His production matched the vision she had in her head.
KIMBERLEY: Is the creative process different when you're solo?
SB: Normally, I just get the guitar and like write some shitty thing with drum kit on logic and start working on it. My boyfriend also helps with the drum parts and he’s a really good song writer as well. But this is something I do in Hinds, as well. I like to lead with the melody or the guitar part, and then do the baseline at the end.... The lyrics are really important to me. I’ll be walking around or something, then I’ll come up with a lyric and suddenly it becomes a song!
From discussing the woes of being an only child, to her fervent love of making playlists and occasionally DJing at bars, Ade spoke candidly of the experiences that have shaped EP01. Indeed, the formation of the band, had a poignant role. Ade met her fellow bandmates at university, as they were searching for a bass player. Before that, she had never played bass before in her life, having only dabbled in singing and a guitar-playing.
She was a girl from Madrid, studying architecture and then later, quit. After starting a music production course during quarantine, her passion for song-writing and lyricism flourished. One day, her boyfriend said, ‘I feel like this is really good… You should have an EP.’
SB: Wanting a solo career never came up in my mind. It was more, like, what would I do if I was on my own? What would I do if I were by myself, and I had to do a cover for something? I was just very curious. In Hinds, it’s not just me making the decisions, there’s four people - all with their own input and ideas. Sometimes I don’t agree with them, but that’s teamwork and part of being in a band. But yeah, I was just very curious about it. And I’m loving it! I’m loving discovering myself in that way. Initially, I was very scared, but it’s so fucking good, and I love it so much. But I do miss the companionship a little bit, for sure, ha-ha...
...In regard to EP01, I think it sounds the way it does because of Hinds’ second album. The Club, for example, is the first song from that album and a song that I still love. Of course, I love the sound Direction Hinds is going in now, but if I were the boss, I would have explored the sounds of the second album a lot more. We were writing it during the tours for the first album and in that period of my life, I grew up a lot and matured. I think musically, too, that’s when I was like, okay, this is what I like etc... Also, I was listening to a lot more 70s/ 80s rock and roll, The Strokes. That’s why this EP sounds like that.
KIMBERLEY: What is the overarching message/ vibe? Or is it more a reflection of a time in your life?
SB: I think so, to be honest. I mean, I also wrote these songs like 2 years ago. I still relate to those feelings when I listen to it, but it kind of scares me a little bit because it’s from a dark time. Writing those songs really helped deal with what I was going through. Yeah, deep shit... It does bring me back. I thought it wouldn’t that much because the lyrics aren’t super straightforward. You wouldn’t even know what I’m talking about. Maybe you can guess, but to me, I know exactly what I’m referring to in these lyrics. So now, when I listen to them, as it has been so long, I do cringe a little haha... I don't cringe because of the song, but because of the moment and how I felt at that time. I don’t wanna remember, ha-ha!
KIMBERLEY: You are Spanish, but all your songs are sung in English. I’m not saying that you are obligated to sing in your mother tongue, but is this a stylistic choice?
SB: To be honest, I don’t have an answer for this. Maybe it’s because I don’t see myself singing in Spanish. Do I even know how to write in Spanish? I’m not a big Spanish music listener, so I don’t even know what I should sound like, I don’t have the references to go, ‘yeah I wanna sing or sound like this...’ However, I’m starting to like it more. My boyfriend sings in Spanish, so, yeah, maybe I can do it. Maybe one day I’ll write a song in Spanish.
Click here to watch her new music video, 'Checkmate'.
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