| April 16, 2012
Interview: Keep Shelly in Athens


Keep Shelly in Athens is the soundtrack to your dreams. The word “balearic” comes to mind, but it doesn’t do the Greek duo complete justice. Their music is ethereal, nostalgic downtempo pop that draws you into a beautiful and wistful haze with melodies that linger for days. In the past few months, Keep Shelly in Athens have gained a lot of momentum after releasing their EP, Campus Martius, in December of last year. They’ve enjoyed the top spot on Hype Machine with their collaboration on “<3″ with MMOTHS and have also put their dream-pop touch on a few remixes. I had the chance to chat with vocalist Sarah P about Shelly and what it was about Athens that made them want to keep her there, among other things. Make sure to check out Keep Shelly In Athens on Tuesday, April 24th at DC9.

STREAM: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Hauntin’ Me”

Nancy L.: How did you two meet?
Sarah P: RPR had the whole vision of the project. He had the first tracks, he had the name but he hadn’t found the vocalist yet. A common friend introduced me to him and we totally clicked. We said “all right let’s do this.” That is how all got started.

NL: Your music to me is ethereal, nostalgic downtempo pop that’s hauntingly beautiful. Did your sound start off that way?
SP: As I said we met to make Keep Shelly in Athens music. We had the frame of how we wanted to sound like. Now it feels like we are more confident to experiment a bit more . What we wanted from the very first time that we decided to work together was that we would be able to make music we like. That was our deal. We are always the same two people who are writing and producing those tracks. We may develop but the feeling is exactly the same from the first moment. Music we love.

NL: Can you tell me about your creative process as far as songwriting and melodies?

SP: RPR is writing the music in his bedroom and then he sends me the tune to write the lyrics. Then we rehearse, we go to the studio record the vocals. The simplest way to make music. Low budget and homemade music.

NL: How do you approach your remix work compared to original material?
SP: Well, the approach there is a bit different as long as you have to deal with another artist’s or band’s track. You have to show some respect to other people work, definitely. RPR loves though to completely reconstruct the song, make another one , a brand new one inspired from the original track.

NL: Your tracks have been the subject of many remixes, my favorite being by Blackbird Blackbird of “Our Own Dream.” Do you have a favorite remix of one of your tracks?

SP: We love them all! Though one of our favorite things was our collaboration with MMOTHS for his song “<3″! It went out so good.

NL: What is it about Athens and Greece that would make you want to keep Shelly there?
SP: I don’t really know. You see we are experiencing rough times at this point in Greece. But it is always an interesting place to be. All I know is that we can definitely keep her in Athens. At least we will try hard…

NL: How did you guys get involved with the Jesus and Mary Chain Charity Cover Compilation and what was the creative process for you guys when it came to reworking such a classic song like “Just Like Honey”?
SP: I loved the idea of covering Jesus and Mary Chain. This song is one of my all time favorite ones! We did a photo shoot session for the Just Like Honey blog on our last mini tour in UK and when they came up with this idea we thought it was really special. Of course it was a challenge for us to do such a thing! Wish we will have the opportunity to rework on other songs we love, probably in the future…Let’s see!

NL: Who are some female vocalists you would cite as influences?
SP: I will definitely say Tracey Thorn and Nancy Sinatra.


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