Guest Post + Behind the Scenes Photos: Shiffley discuss stormy nights with robots and newest single “Systems”

Shiffley
Photo by Sarah Halle Corey

It was a dark and stormy night and our robot protagonist has willingly decided to pursue its love. Normally the robot would not be affected by the winter weather, but tonight is very different. This robot has recently been upgraded to experience the full spectrum of human thought and feeling. Though this meant it could now comprehend affection, it also means that it must passively experience the frigid cold as well. Still determined, the robot ventured off into the night to search for its human soulmate.

Maybe you’re feeling a little confused—let me explain. Alex here from Shiffley, and our newest single “Systems” follows this robot on its journey for love. In the end, the robot succumbs to logic and reasons that there are too many obstacles in its way. Overloaded by the many new emotions that it is experiencing, the robot decides to give up its newfound feelings in an attempt to return to maximum efficiency. A bittersweet victory, the robot will never have to care for anyone or anything ever again.

There is significance to the use of the robot in this story. “Systems” was written shortly after the completion of our first EP, Atomic Robot Man. To me, the character of the robot man originally represented the idea that life would be easier if I did not need to feel. After my first real experience with heartbreak, I looked up to this character and at times even decided to take on its persona as my own. While this protected me for a while, I quickly started to notice the downside of being robotic. Our EP presented the robot as better off for its lack of emotion, but our upcoming album will revisit this character a few years later and will highlight some of its fatal flaws. Although the robot eventually does decide to give up on feeling, it does come at a cost.

We’ve been playing “Systems” for a few years but there has always been an understanding between the band that we would wait for the perfect moment to release the song. Early on in the life of Shiffley, we knew that this would be the centerpiece of our first full-length album. In this way, “Systems” has had a huge influence on the development of our music and establishing a Shiffley sound. With “Systems” already written, we naturally honed in on creating other tracks that would match its aesthetic. What exactly is that aesthetic? I would describe it as self-loathing funk music. At its core it’s sarcastic, intentionally-lame disco rock suited for a sleazy nightclub. This feel is especially emphasized with the tom fills in the pre-chorus and the 3/4 turnarounds in the intro and outro. Contrasting the groove of the instrumental, the vocals are nasally and all too caring. This is a juxtaposition that we have been interested in for a while and plan on channeling in a few songs on the album.

After such a long wait, releasing this song was a huge weight off of our shoulders. It wouldn’t have been possible without the fancy production work of Will Rosati and the careful mixing of Alex Almgren over in Freshly Baked Studios. Surprisingly, it’s always harder to record songs that we’ve been playing for a while versus ones written in studio—there is a higher level of expectation that we have for the older songs. Though “Systems” was difficult to capture, we were able to change sounds and bring some new life into the song that has renewed our excitement for playing it.

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Since the release of 2015’s ‘Anthem City’, Shiffley has been diligently working towards their first full-length release. If there’s any doubt that their future offerings will be anything less than extraordinary, fans need only listen to their newest slew of singles, such as the fast-paced, contagious, dance pop anthem, “Systems.”

With numerous success in TV placements (E!TruTVMTV Canada, and Travel Channel), and opening slots for acts such as Twenty One PilotsNight RiotsPlain White T’sStrange TalkPatent Pending, and Donna Missal, as well as a spot on Spotify’s “Feel Good Indie Rock” playlist, the band has seen no shortage of success since their inception, and with their full-length poised for release in early 2017, they are without a doubt a band that you’ll want to keep your eye on.

Shiffley Robot

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