Shortie frontman Pogus talks with Earache
|Coming straight out of Sacramento, California, with a fistful of irresistible hook lines and an unfeasible amount of energy, Shortie are genuinely impossible to categorise. Is it emo-core, pop-metal, nu-punk or all three at the same time? However you define their ridiculously catchy and powerful sound, the bands third album and debut for Earache, Worthless Smiles, looks set to propel the band into the spotlight. We spoke to frontman Pogus about being part of the rock worlds brightest new hopes.
Q: First Deftones, then Will Haven, now Shortie - is Sacramento a good place to be for top quality rock music?
|Pogus: Its okay, but the scene in Sacramento is very fashionable. Whatevers hot is hot here too. A few years ago it was the nu-metal thing and now its the screamo thing and we've never really been part of any of it. Were just doing our own thing. We got together about five years ago because we wanted to do something different and we wanted to change what was going on here in town. Everyone was doing the same thing and we had some cool new ideas to try out.
Q: How did you arrive at your current sound?
Pogus: Well, we actually started out being a lot heavier. I think when youre younger you always think that to be really heavy you have to be as fast and as aggressive as possible. But I guess that as we grew up we realised that you can have strong melodies and still be real heavy. Thats when we decided we wanted to really work hard at this and started taking the band really seriously.
Q: How would you describe Shorties music?
Pogus: I came up with something a couple of days ago. I think that Shortie are the missing link between heavy metal and pop music. My whole thing is that Ive always loved heavy music, but Ive always loved melodic music. Ive always wanted to do something melodic. Its so cool to have that mixture of the two going on. Theres so much energy going on. If you come to our show youll be blown away by the energy and the vibe we have.
Q: Presumably you have a wide variety of musical influences?
Pogus: Yeah, sure. Our bass player is into everything from funk and rap to death metal. The other guys all listen to different stuff, from more indie kinda stuff through to metal and punk rock and trip hop.
Q: That explains why theres a version of Portisheads Sour Times on the album!
Pogus: Exactly. The trip hop thing was big here for a while, but I guess its kind of petered out now. For a while people thought it would be the next big thing but it kind of died out. People are into the whole screamo thing at the moment. But yeah, Portishead is a big favourite with the band. We all really like them and its a really cool song. I think we put our own touch on the song. It was kind of a strange one to sing, too. Its a difficult song, but I think I did a good job. We played it live for a while and then it got dropped for a while. Its more of an encore now.
Q: With such a distinctive sound, where do you think Shortie sits in the grand scheme of things?
Pogus: Its hard to say, man. We could play with so many different kinds of bands. Wed love to tour with Cave In or Handsome. Not Hanson, though! We could play with punk bands or metal bands or whatever. I think thats one of the best things about Shortie. I guess with being on Earache we might end up playing with some pretty heavy bands!
Q: So how did you end up signing to Earache?
Pogus: I think Digby saw a video of us playing live that was doing the rounds and he just had to sign us! Its flattering to know that the people at Earache like our music enough to put it out. Were definitely different to other things theyve got going on. Were definitely not a heavy, heavy band, if you know what I mean! But our live show is intense, and theres a lot of energy and emotion and contact with the crowd. Youll have to come and see us. Its hard to describe.
Q: Where did the name Shortie come from?
Pogus: Ah, the name of the band! It was a name that I was called. Im five foot six and thats the name Ive been called all my life. It represents the every day underdog. Its like Hey, fatty! or Whats up, shorty? ... you know what I mean? People dont think about that stuff but it automatically marks you out as an underdog or an underachiever and thats how we see the band. Were underdogs, man.
Q: Is everyone in the band vertically challenged?
Pogus: Fortunately theyre not! Our guitarist is shorter than me, but the rest of the band arent short at all.
Q: What kind of things are Shortie singing about?
Pogus: I write all the lyrics and I sing about personal stuff. Its everything from love to hate. I dont want people to know exactly what Im singing about because I like everyone to be able to take what they want from the songs. I didnt want the lyrics on the CD for that reason. If people know that a song is about someone I know, this guy or that guy, it just becomes about one thing. We write for ourselves, so theyre our songs, but we want the songs to belong to the fans too and its cool that every song means something different to everyone.
Q: You've got a tattoo of the Shortie logo on your arm. Where did you get that done?
Pogus: I got that done at a shop in Sacramento called Heaven Sent. I guess weve all got a bunch of tattoos. I have my wifes name on my other arm and I have a daughter and Im going to get her name tattooed on my back. Family is totally important to me. Its kind of my shield, you know?
Q: What would you do if the band changed their name? Would you lose the tattoo?
Pogus: This bands name will never change! And once this band is done, Im done with music. Ill always be proud of this band, so Im keeping the tattoo forever, man.