Interview with Brett Hellings of The Soul Shakers as they keep the rock spirit alive


We all know that you have been craving some straight up rock n roll and The Soul Shakers are serving it up! The The Soul Shakers is Elias Paul Reidy (formerly of The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus) and Brett Hellings formed The Soul Shakers.  Their sound carries a deep passion for their music and is fueled by the bands that have inspired them; The Rolling Stones, Black Crowes, Aerosmith, Doors, etc. All bands that were highlighted by their honest feel good rock that would touch you deep in your soul. Get yourself ready for their new album which is set to release in 2017. We had the chance to chat with Brett and are pleased to bring that interview to you here:

Interview with Brett Hellings

MJP: Thank you Brett for taking the time to talk with us here at Music Junkie Press.

Brett: Thank you guys for talking to us!

MJP: We have to tell you Brett, you guys have been a very exciting band for all of us as we feel you are bringing the life and spirit back into ROCK.

Brett: Yeah! That is definitely what we are trying to do, is to keep that good ‘ole rock n roll thing alive. I don’t know if we are bringing back, I don’t think it ever died but it is definitely not that prominent out there. That is for sure. So we are trying to keep that spirit alive, there is no question about that.

MJP: With the video, the title is perfect. You guys are “Here to Have  Good Time”, debut single out there. Everybody has been jumping on that and loving the energy that you guys give. Fun video to make, I’m sure as well?

Brett: Oh it was very, very fun. We made it out in Los Angeles, we actually made it at the club that me and E really started hanging out together. When I went down to kind of ask him to start a band together, that was the place that we went. It was called The Overpass and we wrote a lot of great songs, lot of late nights there and most of the people in the video were the people that you would hang out with every night at that place. So the video is very real, and what was really going on. We didn’t cast anybody or anything. It was all girlfriends of ours and friends of ours and Shane Drake got in there and just made it a fun day of us having a good time. It was very, very fun to make.

MJP: It is funny you say that it is “real” because your music also captures that “real” raw, honest, organic natural vibe. Even how you made your video, it’s the same way; true to form. What about with the recording of the music?

Brett: Recording of the album was a very, very incredible experience. We went up to Pennsylvania, where I am right outside of Philadelphia originally, that is where I grew up. There was a studio that was about two hours North of me in the Poconos, It is called SoundMine Recordings and Dan Malsch (Motionless in White, Tantric, Framing Hanley) is the one who had a major part in producing the record. We had a couple, or several different producers but he was the main producer, mixer. His studio was like on top of a mountain, I mean really  hard to get anywhere which is kind of good for us because sometimes we like to get into trouble. We are like stuck up in the mountains so we are, “alright we are going to have do an awesome record, you can’t get in that much trouble, and let’s do it”, and we were just completely focused on the record. Dan made it so much fun for us. Our sound does have a very fun vibey “shake your booty around”, sing the hooks kind of vibe so we wanted to really bring that into the recording studio. So we had our fun in the recording studio but It was time to work and we really had a great time with him. He really didn’t get that involved in the recording process, except for us kind of doing what we needed to do if we needed him, he had his two cents but we kind of knew what we wanted going in to recording the record and it came out just the way we wanted it to.

MJP: That is great. It has this kind of nostalgic vintage vibe. Did you do anything special with your recording gear to capture that vintage sound?

Brett: As much as we could possibly do. Nowadays, you have Pro Tools, you have all that but we really tried to keep it to the “one taker” “two taker”, keeping everything really honest, a little editing, stuff like that. Old Hammond V-3s, we put a lot of organ on that thing, all vintage amps, Dan had everything. We actually recorded some of the recording over at a studio called, “Welcome to 1979” here in Nashville, where we are now located and we actually did that to tape first. Which was really cool, we did that to tape and then kind of threw into Pro Tools. We try to keep it as vintage as possible, but we still wanted to keep it modern. We are the new type, or kind of rock n roll that we are doing, I know that it reminds everybody of the old stuff but you still have to compete to what is going on nowadays, so we try to bring a little bit of modern flair to the sound.

MJP: That is the neat part of it too. You have that nostalgic vibe that attracts seasoned rockers and then you have the modern flair that the youth is searching for today. Your audience must range in age to reflect that as well.

Brett: I know! It is very funny, we get people that are in their 50’s and coming up to us and saying, “Oh My Goodness, this kind of music still exists in some sort of form, this is awesome”. Then we have young girls in the 20’s that are like “Wow, this music makes me want to dance and have fun”.  So our audience definitely is all over the place and  has the demographics spread wide, which I think is a really nice thing. I think good music will do that anyway. If it is true, honest and it is pure, good music will do that. Especially with that type of sound, I mean who doesn’t like Rock n Roll, right? That is what we went for.

MJP: Exactly! Now about the album, when is the planned release?

Brett: It will be next year, getting in to the Holiday Season right now, the industry kind of shuts down a little bit. We are still also going through the process of finding the right team around us to kind of release it through. So we are playing that game right now. So, you can definitely think about the record coming out early next year or if not, very early Spring. Something around that time.

MJP: Are we going to be able to get it on Vinyl?

Brett: I would LOVE to have it on VINYL! I am going to make sure whoever is working on it, is going to do it. Because I think a record like this deserves to be on vinyl because it has such an old school kind of feel. I think it would just sound so good with the needle spinning on it.

MJP: I know you guys are in Nashville. Do you guys have any shows planned ahead of the release out there?

Brett: We do. We are doing kind of a showcasing sort of thing right now, all in early next year. Our big date is we are playing The High Watt on January 7th, which is a Saturday night, so it should be a really good spot. We played that venue before and it’s a great venue, lots of fun. Then we are going to out NAMM and playing over on the Sunset Strip, where I kind of grew up cutting my teeth. We are going to be playing at The Viper Room on the 18th of January and another couple gigs out there for the conference. Then we are coming back and playing, things getting booked. So just keep up to date on our website The and Facebook so you can keep up to date on our shows and when we are going to play.

MJP: So excited to hear you will be at NAMM! We will be covering the conference and will definitely catch your shows. We would love to catch up with you guys and get a new interview!

MJP: As we talk about NAMM and music education, did you have a good music program in your school growing up or is that something that you reached for outside of school?

Brett: Not as much. My Mom kind of really got me in to the piano lesson thing first. I remember hating it because it was a private tutor thing and I had to go to it before school, so all the other kids got to sleep in like an hour later. I was like “Oh My God, what am I doing this for, I just want to sleep”. Now I thank her everyday now that she got my ears so trained through the piano. And then my school, kind of had it but I would always go to guitar teachers, vocal teachers and kind of took on like a “self-trained” mentality to the whole thing. I just went through my own Rock n Roll 101, a lot of the times, getting the fundamentals is very important but finding your own way and your own voice, you know they can’t really teach Rock n Roll, you kind of got to study it.

MJP: Yes, with NAMM they are really working on keeping the music education alive in the school system and making it more versatile, getting the youth to try different music in the school system.
Brett: Exactly. The music programs are so tight still, on you know classical, jazz, Band, and not really open it up. When I went to Berklee School of Music that was a really good example of them taking modern day music, “whether it be blues, rock n roll, or  R&B, and kind of teaching you that. I think that is just as important as anything else, that style of music. I hope that NAMM becomes really successful with that and bring that into the schools. We need more music ALWAYS.

MJP: Yes, I know that Matt Sorum and his work with Adopt The Arts are doing just that. They have done amazing work. I mean “music” could be that one subject that keeps a kid in school.

Brett: Matt is a great guy. I would love to get involved with that as well. You are going to have to send me some information.

MJP: Definitely, would love to see you involved with it. How about yourself, if you could go back and talk to your 14 year old self, what advice would you give to yourself?

Brett: Oh My Goodness! It would be to Keep on Going, Don’t Give up. Stay True to your heart, stay true to what you like. Sometimes what you like is not all that popular but it is still very important and you will figure it out eventually. You think you are good at the moment you are at, but you haven’t seen anything yet. You will get a lot of better, that is what I would say to him.

MJP: Great advice and great for anyone. I really appreciate your time. We look forward to seeing you at NAMM 2017 and catching your shows!

We will make sure to keep you up to date and bring you our coverage of their January shows at NAMM. Make sure to visit their social media sites and follow all their latest news.

Check out their video for the track that got us all hooked, Here To Have a Good Time which is off their upcoming LP.  They comment on the song,

“Here to Have a Good Time” is our definition of straight up rock n’ roll and a short story of where we come from and how we met. We hope this song makes you want to get up, shake what you got, grab a shot and have a good time.

You can pick up the new single by heading over to iTunes here.

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