Liverpool-based The Boston Shakers have been announced this week as ‘Best of British – Unsigned Music Best Unsigned Band’ for 2016. Thousands of votes were cast in the nationwide poll, but only one group walked away with the coveted award. Have you heard of them? You should have… they’ve been making noise around here for a while, now. By Alan O’Hare.
Rock ‘n’ roll competitions are funny things. Can you place art in a glass case? That’s the question we ask ourselves when we watch the Brit Awards etc. But, for the winners, especially at a local level, they can be a lifeline. Competitions stimulate interest. Interest stimulates debate. Debate stimulates online engagement and suddenly, bullshit or no bullshit thrown at the (Facebook) wall, you can find yourself with an audience. Some singers and bands look for it from the off and decide a quick leg-up is all that matters. The Boston Shakers are not one of that lot.
This is a rock ‘n’ roll band from the old school, at least in attitude and commitment to the moment on stage. On record, the music they make will reach down your throat for a response… good or bad, The Boston Shakers make a noise that demands to be noticed. Mixing heavy beats with fuzzy guitars, white noise and raps is the band’s business – with just enough of a classic blues rock sound to keep the straights interested, of course.
Let’s find out what set them apart from the 600 or so other bands who were up for the trinket, with a word or two from Kam Wojtow…
‘Best British Unsigned Band’… how does that feel?
It feels great to win things and we’re grateful for the fans that voted for us – hopefully it’ll bring more attention to the band and other opportunities.
You never entered, though… right?
They found us, picked us and then let us know that we were nominated… and now winners!
Many people will know the name of the band… and will now want to see you. What should they expect?
Beats, bars and guitars.
The term ‘unsigned’ sounds a little archaic these days, would you agree?
There are pros and cons for both being signed and unsigned – but it still seems like signed bands get better opportunities. There’s a risk no matter what you do. We just focus on the music. Que sera, sera…
Give us a potted history of the band…
Most of us met in high school and two of the band are brothers. We all started working in bars and that’s around the time we met the rest.
… and the music?
We’ve been developing the concept of mixing beats in a rock band format for years – and we’re still developing it now. We just want to be different and keep it real.
2016 had been a great year for you. Tell us about the best bits…
It’s been good. We just wanted to get out there and test out the concept, so we did as many gigs as possible, and reactions have been great. We went down to London with a bus full of about 40 Scousers, too, and that was mental! The biggest achievement, though, was supporting Space at the Arts Club and getting recognition from BBC Introducing/Radio Merseyside – it means a lot to us to get so much love in the city we’ve been living in for the past decade.
The band is made up of émigrés. What comes to mind when someone says “Liverpool” to you, now?
Home. One of the best cities in the world. Liverpool is such a great hub for the arts – there’s something magical about it. It’s small enough to have that small town feeling and everybody gets along, but big enough to keep you on your toes.
You’re an unashamed rock ‘n’ roll band in every way. Is this a vocation?
Rock ‘n’ roll to us is the spirit of going against the grain… an attitude, an energy and standing up for what you believe in. You can be rock ‘n’ roll and make pop music or be a computer programmer, painter, bartender or whatever. Rock ‘n’ roll can’t die – it’s always going to be there.
Pic by William James