Dead Shed Jokers
The enigmatic Welsh rockers who are all about creating, not recreating.
A feral howl is building in the depths of the Welsh Valleys, familiar and yet strangely distinct. “That question is the bane of my existence because it’s so difficult to answer,” laughs Hywel Davies, the frontman of enigmatic rockers Dead Shed Jokers, when asked to describe where the band sits on the sonic spectrum. “It’s the best thing about the band, but probably the hardest as well. We don’t tend to fit into simple boxes. People hear different things.”
Since they formed 11 years ago – and on their latest album, All The Seasons – the Aberdare quintet have taken the stomp and swagger of Rated R and Lullabies To Paralyze-era Queens Of The Stone Age as their sprawling baseline. Building on that with thick brush strokes, they’ve added a maze of angular edges and choppy rhythms along with the strutting heft of 70s rock giants, shades of Jane’s Addiction’s artsy grunge-noir and even a sprinkling of Muse’s buzzsaw pomp.
“It’s not our intention to be obscure but there’s no ambition to fit into a specific genre,” says Davies. “Bands like Sabbath took the tools and inspirations they’d been given and pushed it forward. We’re not trying to emulate and recreate, we’re trying to create something new. The touchstones are there but we’re not nostalgic.”
All The Seasons was recorded live, mixed and produced in five days at Sonic One Studios, in Llanelli. It was an intense process that managed to capture the spontaneity of Dead Shed Jokers’ free-form bluster, but also the rawness of their live show that seems built for filling large venues right to the corners.
“There’s quite a few jams on there. You never know how they’re going to turn out really, you’re just relying on the magic being there when you record,” says Davies. “But when I listen, it sounds like what I think the band sound like live. Our music is so big in sound, sometimes on a smaller stage it doesn’t necessarily come across, but luckily in the last few years we’ve played bigger gigs. One of our biggest complaints is how loud we are. We’ve broken decibel meters in venues before and it cuts the power to the stage. That’s happened a couple of times!”
While some people grow up with a dream of being a musician, Davies didn’t catch the bug until he was 23. “It wasn’t until university that I found it for myself,” he says. “Zeppelin, DC, all the classics. Those were the inspirations but Zeppelin was the point for me. I remember lying on the floor singing along to Babe I’m Gonna Leave You, blown away by it and thinking, ‘I could possibly do this.’ My father had a covers band at that time, we were doing Sabbath and some of the older guys were like, ‘I can’t sing that,’ so I was like, ‘I’ll have a crack,’ and the rest is history.”
All The Seasons is out on September 6 via Pity My Brain
“One of our biggest complaints is how loud we are. We’ve broken
decibel meters in venues.”