shy kids put the independent back into indie music

shy kids and their signature Plate Face trademark. (Photo by Marco Boldonado)

The Sheridan Sun sat down with Patrick Cederberg and Matt Hornick from the group to talk about their new album, and the task of being a band and production company at the same time.

BY DRAGAN MARICIC

Shy kids is a four-piece indie rock outfit based out of Toronto. Their new album, In a State, is out everywhere on Feb. 23. However, this is not just any album. In a State tackles the daunting task of captivating listeners with catchy songs while offering their audience a film accompaniment in the form of a 25-minute visual album.

At first glance shy kids seems like a standard rock band, until you learn the magnitude of work that goes into this multimedia project. “Production Company is the best way to put it,” says Patrick Cederberg. “It’s the simplest way to describe it because people don’t understand all of what we do,” adds Matt Hornick.

Matt Hornick, left, and Patrick Cederberg of shy kids. (Photo by Dragan Maricic/The Sheridan Sun)

Cederberg and Hornick make up one half of the groups four primary members. Cederberg plays guitar and sings but is also an animator and VFX guru for the group. Hornick is a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who also works as a video editor.

In a state is the band’s second album. The follow-up to to the band’s 2015 debut Lofty has been in the works for almost three years with some songs dating back to that time.

“We do a lot of work outside of the band. It’s not like all of our energy is put into this. Sometimes we have to take a few months off to focus on another project so we could keep the lights on and so we can keep working on this for free.” Says Cederberg on taking time to complete the project. “The song writing process started in mid 2015 and hasn’t stopped until very recently. The visuals started being conceived around the same time but the hard work didn’t start until about a year and a half ago.”

I was in New York is one of the first songs made for this release. The visual treatment was a collaboration between shy kids and animator Karly McCloskey.

Each song on the album is given its own visual treatment and New York stands out among the others. The visuals are unique; it is live action, but also utilizes stop motion animation with McCloskey drawing and tinkering with the live shots frame by frame. She manages to transform a dreary looking Toronto landscape into a vibrant and cartoon-like New York City.

  • Yonge and Dundas Square transformed into Times Square.

Another standout track from this record is Feel Like a FailureThe songs’ video was funded by MuchFact before the grant ceased to exist, making it one of the last video shoots funded by Bell Media.

While it is unfortunate that MuchFact will no longer offer grants to artists for their videos, Hornick believes that it won’t stop creatives from producing their own content. “I think it’s silly to assume that artists will stop making things because they won’t be funded. I think that people are going to create content regardless,” says Hornick.

“How we consume music videos has changed. They’re no longer played on T.V, and Bell sunk a lot of money into this initiative without making a return,” says Cederberg. “It’s a shame because it was awesome to see a huge corporation fund something that helped build culture and art.”

Hornick plays the role of a sad clown in this video. The clown is hired to please and entertain at a child’s birthday party where he proceeds to try and elicit some laughs. He fails and eventually pays the price for it.

  • Hornick on his way unsuccessful birthday party.

Cederberg says that storytelling plays a significant role in why shy kids continue to create their unique brand of music. “If you consider yourself a storyteller in any medium you’ll feel the same type of fulfillment in the projects you work on,” he says.

Some examples of production work they have done outside of the band include episode 1 of a Vice series called Down Time. The series is sponsored by Kit Kat, and their episode follows the drummer of the rock band July Talk and his passion for bird watching and bird photography. Singer Walter Woodman directed the video, drummer Greg Francis was cinematographer and Hornick edited the footage.

Another notable accomplishment is the short film Cederberg and Woodman created for their thesis project while studying at Ryerson. The film won various awards, including best short film at TIFF in 2013. Titled Noah, the entirety of the story is played out on a teenage boys computer screen. This unconventional perspective offers a unique look at behaviour and romance in the digital age.

“Our professors originally gave us a B-,” explains Cederberg. “They changed it to an A- after it won at TIFF.”

While in a state has yet to be released, the boys in shy kids have their sights set on the future and their next project. “We’re already working on the NEXT, next album,” says Cederberg who explains that the next project will be a more straightforward release. They plan on having that one done and out by the end of 2018.

To help tide you over until the release of In a State here is the song and video for Rockets by shy kids.

Dragan Maricic
About Dragan Maricic 4 Articles
20 something making his way in the world of arts and journalism. A true music and arts junkie.

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