Artist Spotlight: SHØWGUN

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If you’re looking for a new local alternative band characterized by strong vocals and unforgettable guitar riffs, I have some good news. Originating from Temecula, SHØWGUN debuted their musical pursuit on September 17th, 2022, with their powerful single “Playing With Fire.” Since then, the band has released seven other dynamic singles, including their most recent release, “Sex Appeal,” which came out on December 2nd, 2023. Composed of four skilled musicians, Aris leads with his versatile singing, Ray controls the guitar, Jax pounds the drums, and Olive lays the basslines.

Written By Madi Coe  for Amplified SD (READ HERE)

LISTEN TO “SEX APPEAL” BY CLICKING BELOW!

As Ray describes their origin, “It started when I went to a really s****y website… [Aris] posted a five-year-old advert saying he was looking for a guitarist… I reached out to him, and I was like, ‘Are you still looking for a guitarist after five years?’ and he said, ‘Yes.'”

Following that interaction, Ray invited Jax and Olive to the jam sessions, though the bassist didn’t have much time to prepare before recording. Olive recalls her last-minute addition to the band, stating, “The day before we recorded Playing With Fire, I had to learn it.”

Regarding the alternative music scene in Temecula, the band agrees there doesn’t seem to be much activity, likely because of the lack of opportunities to perform in the area, causing local artists to travel farther than ideal. Olive notes, “Everything’s in San Diego… In San Diego specifically, hardcore and punk is popping off, like, even more than L.A.” Jax was quick to clarify, “Don’t be fooled; we are not hardcore.”

When it comes to their musical inspirations, SHØWGUN agrees on their admiration of heavy metal and classic rock, which is clearly shown through their music style. “Most of the songs I really play [are] Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Guns N’ Roses… I draw a lot of [inspiration] from that,” Olive expresses. Ray later reiterates this statement, saying his dream collaboration would be with Metallica. On the other hand, Aris proudly suggests a “SHØWGUN x Taylor Swift” collab.

When it comes to their musical inspirations, SHØWGUN agrees on their admiration of heavy metal and classic rock, which is clearly shown through their music style. “Most of the songs I really play [are] Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Guns N’ Roses… I draw a lot of [inspiration] from that,” Olive expresses. Ray later reiterates this statement, saying his dream collaboration would be with Metallica. On the other hand, Aris proudly suggests a “SHØWGUN x Taylor Swift” collab.

Describing the song-making process, Ray says, “Most of the time, I think of a riff in my head, and then I play it and show it to [the rest of the band]… Usually, we do the guitar part first. It lays the structure for the song. Then we do the bass over it, and then drums, and then finally, the hardest part is thinking of vocal melodies for it… Writing vocal melodies over the instrumentals we write seems to be the most unnatural part.”

“It varies from song to song,” Olive says, explaining the meaning behind their lyrics. “We all collaborate together on the lyrics, but lyrics have been more individualized to certain band members… We just all have experiences we want to share through our music that are individual to us.”

Regarding the comprehensive message the band wants to send their listeners, Jax states, “Overall, just be yourself, be happy, and have a good time.” “Live, laugh, love, that’s the message,” Ray expands.

Asking what their favorite song to perform live is, Ray says, “I really like Playing With Fire live, I think mainly because you get the most crowd interaction with the ‘hey’s’ at the beginning of the song… For me, playing live is all about the interaction of the crowd, and it’s the most fun part about playing music. Recording a song and thinking of the song is nowhere near as fun as actually being able to play in front of a crowd who’s super receptive.”

Olive adds, “It’s fun actually going out there and being able to show people our music… We’re actually playing directly to them; they’re getting to watch us in the moment.”

Furthermore, Aris expresses, “I’m a very introverted person, but every time we play shows, [specifically] every time we play Balls, I can just be myself and dance with everybody.”

In asking about pre-stage rituals, the band says they don’t have any, other than the hated and time-consuming process of setting up their gear. “Maybe my ritual is telling them to hurry the f*** up,” Olive jokes. As for pre-stage nerves, the bassist states, “For me, I get more nervous playing in front of small groups… I guess I feel more invisible when I’m in front of a crowd.” Ray adds, “Looking out in a crowd of people, like at The Che Cafe, it’s a lot easier to drown out the crowd and focus on the music.”

Regarding their newly released single “Sex Appeal,” Ray says it’s about “Throwing away morals and stuff that you would normally do because you want to get close to a person and be with them, despite them being a bad influence on you.” Basically, putting your values and overall moral compass to the side in order to connect with another person more; a commonly experienced, yet unspoken concept the band brings light to.

“Money is a challenge,” says Olive, referring to the most significant challenges they face in the band. “People don’t realize how much of an issue [it is]. If you want high-quality songs, then either you have to know how to mix and produce s***, but even then you need all the equipment, which is already expensive. Or, if you don’t have the training, the knowledge, or the equipment, then you have to go out and find someone who’ll mix, master, and produce songs for you, which costs a s***load.” As a small band without much profit, the members have to contribute their own hard-earned cash to pro

Regarding their overall goals, SHØWGUN agrees they want to prioritize making more music. Ray expands on the challenge, “It’s really difficult because our four schedules are very different; we’re all going to school right now. It makes it very difficult to get anything done because our schedules don’t align that well. We really only get to do stuff on the weekends.” Jax adds, “A long-term goal is… maybe we can get our profit higher than what we’ve spent, whenever that comes around.” The band agrees it’s important to them to eventually make a living off of making music so they can continue their passion without worry.

Recalling the wise words he’s heard from professionals in the music industry, Ray says, “There’s no ladder in music; it’s always one event that just changes your life forever; it’s never a gradual build-up. One day, you’re nobody; the next week, the right person noticed you and now you got thousands and thousands of people ready to listen to your stuff.” In the direction the band is going, I think it’s fair to say that day is definitely coming soon.

As for upcoming projects, SHØWGUN hopes to release an album as soon as possible without losing the high-quality sound they are known for. Although there are no official dates, the band hopes to do more live shows in the coming future, especially at The Che Cafe in La Jolla. In the near future, the band is definitely looking forward to expanding their audience and showing off their skills, and I’d say their fans are equally excited about what’s to come.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SHØWGUN, CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW.




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