The Shows: Facing forward

by Caitlin Cohen

photo by Tommy Calderon

It’s been quite the year for the shows. Joe and Stephanie Douglas and previous drummer, Ron Lewis, accomplished their goal of recording 30 songs, took a break from performing live to focus on creating and releasing their debut album, Signifier, and later welcomed a new drummer, Jake Farley.

All this change has placed the band on a different yet thrilling path. After releasing three EP’s—Girl Imploded, Girl Exploded, and ATRAXIA, they couldn’t be more excited to craft together an album they feel confident about unleashing into the world.

“The songs grow more, they have a path and are more developed. Each song has its own story—not to sound cheesy— the album has its peaks and valleys,” Jake said.

Last year, the band threw a curveball in announcing their plan to release 30 songs within the next year. As planned, they recorded all 30 songs. However, their direction changed once Signifier came into focus.

“We realized that it would be way more effective to pick 10 songs that go well together and put that out. We still have the rest of the songs, they’re coming out. We’ll re-record them with Jake from scratch. I’m sure the next 10 will be on the next record,” Joe said. “But recording all 30 was, to me, the only way because it became clear what were the songs for this album.”

These aren’t the only songs that will be recycled and revised for the future; the band will use songs they originally wrote while working in other bands or back in high school to revise and make their own for new projects.

“I never want to waste a song. Even if it’s from like, 2007 or something and might end up with completely different lyrics – we still end up using the song,” Joe said.

Not only is reusing a huge part in writing the lyrics but so is collaboration. Joe, Stephanie, and Ron would typically write songs separately then come together to see what they could contribute to make them complete.

“We all each kind of wrote each of our songs individually yet the centerpiece song is his instruments and my lyrics and melody,” Stephanie said. “I’ll write a song with really simple chords and give it to Joe. He’ll do some crazy guitar stuff on it and it turns into this much darker, heavier sound.”

Each agreed that all the changes have all worked out extremely well even when some of the decisions they’ve made have been risky.

However, The Shows have never been ones to shy away from taking a risk. Jake joined when all the songs for Signifier were almost recorded, giving him a challenging entryway into the band.

That experience has allowed him to really get to know The Show’s process in making music and what he could add to each song to give it that ‘just right’ sound.

“When I was learning the songs, Joe sent me a lot of songs without drum tracks so it was completely empty so I could take a blank slate,” Jake said.

“If I hit a roadblock where I couldn’t think of something that would fit well, I could listen to previous recordings and kind of get an idea of ‘the Show’s sound’,” he said. “You know, I don’t want to come in and completely change the sound. I want to stay true to that while adding my own flavor to it.”

As for the future, Jake is looking forward to working with Joe and Stephanie to combine what he describes as his “school” style of music with Joe’s style of music as well as performing with a non-jazz band for the first time.

The band as a whole is ecstatic to begin playing shows again this fall and hope to play at house shows. Joe and Stephanie plan on mixing up how the usually perform – they plan on facing the audience instead of each other. “That was extremely experimental but it was nice as a band because you are connection to each other. We’re going to be a lot more connected to the audience,” said Stephanie.

“I’m excited to be like, ‘hey our album comes out today and we’re going to play it for you right now’ and engage people’s reactions for the first time. I’ve heard it a million times; I want to see other people hearing it,” Joe said.

Live show: The Shows play at the Make.Shift on Oct. 1 and at the Shakedown on Oct. 22 for the release of Signifier. The album will be available through theshows.bandcamp.com.