While his roots are in guitar, 27-year-old Shreddward’s keyboard and programming chops have landed him tours with dance artists Andain and psychedelic pop upstarts Bright Light Social Hour. This month, he’s one of our two Talent Scout artists to watch. Keep up with him on Twitter at @shreddward.
HOMETOWN: Austin, Texas.
MUSICAL TRANING: In high school, I played trumpet, French horn, guitar, and bass in various bands. Like many young musicians, winning a few regional scholastic awards really helped with my confidence. From there, I went to school in Los Angele and got a lot of deep knowledge about guitar, but more than that, I learned that it was really important to go beyond a single instrument, so I ended up getting a lot more involved in synths and technology.
FIRST GIGS: Every musician starts off playing a garage somewhere. It may sound cliché, but playing guitar in a few high school metal bands got me my first stage experience in parks and clubs, and since it was Texas, even a barn or two. Fast-forward a couple of years, and I’m playing on the Andain album and ultimately, touring Asia and Eastern Europe as musical director and programmer for the band. Things happened really fast at that point.
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Hibernation, Animals As Leaders, Deadmau5, Guthrie Govan, and a ton of Chopin—who’s probably the main reason I got into piano and keyboards in the first place.
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: The biggest influence as of late would be the John Hopkins album Immunity. It achieves the perfect combination of intelligent sound design and melody, in a way that really evokes an emotional response—without being masturbatory at all.
SYNTHS PLAYED: Roland Juno-60, Minimoog Voyager, Nord Stage 2, Elektron Analog 4, and Korg MS-20 Mini.
MY BIG BREAK: While they were recording in Austin, I was asked to play on Andain’s album You Once Told Me, and that opened up so many doors. When Mavie [Marcos, the group’s lead singer and songwriter] started touring, she needed someone to arrange and program the live sets while also holding down guitar duties. Being associated with Andain gave me a lot of credibility. About a year later, Bright Light Social Hour asked me if I’d be down to be their touring keyboardist. With them, I’ve done a ton of major festivals including Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Wakarusa, and Sasquatch.
FAVORITE KEYBOARD GEAR: I love the Juno-60, especially the chorus. The Korg MS20 Mini is just amazing. Its filters don’t sound like anything else, and I use them a lot to process other instruments, like bass.
WHAT’S NEXT: Touring with Bright Light Social Hour takes up the majority of my time, but I’ve got some new original electronic tracks that I’m finishing up, specifically “Tahoe” and “Eve”. There’s already some interest from a few dance labels, so I’m hoping to get material out later this year or early 2015. I also placed a track in a TV/web pilot called “The Plastic Mermaid Adventure Show,” in which I’m playing a character called DJ Jellyfish. It’s funny and cool and obviously a first for me. Finally, I’m also working on a soundtrack for an independent film called Overcome that should be showing at festivals sometime next year.