Shantih Shantih was inspired by a misspelled word from a dead language that they found in a wasteland. But they’re just looking for someone, anyone to come spread the love with them.
In the closing line of the T.S. Eliot poem The Wasteland, the word Shantih repeats three times to express renewal and change. “Shanti” is the Sanskrit word meaning inner peace. The members of Shantih Shantih combined the meanings to name their band.
The Atlanta residents Barattin, Julia Furgiuele (drums) Anna Kramer (lead guitar) and Nikki Speake (bass), release their sophomore LP Someone, Anyone this Friday (9/27) on Wild Honey Records. Though the catchy quartet says the process was long and stressful, they were happy to have each other throughout it all.
Listen to “Radio Dream” off the new album, inspired by ‘50s doo-wop, ‘60s rock ‘n’ roll and strong female friendships below and catch Shantih Shantih touring the U.S. this October and November. Someone, Anyone is out this Friday, Sept. 27 (pre-order here). Also, read the entire interview with Furgiuele and Barattin below.
BTRtoday (BTR): Give me a little history rundown of Shantih Shantih.
Julia Furgiuele (JF): Anna B. and I met in 2012 when she moved to Atlanta for school and started dating my brother-in-law. We began playing Anna’s songs right away that she had written while in her previous band, Vermillion Sands [Italy]. I wrote songs on guitar but always wanted to play drums. My husband bought me my first kit for Valentine’s Day and we were on our way.
Anna K. was my longtime friend and she joined up shortly after. She played in Atlanta bands and did a solo act for years, a bit of a local legend, of course, we snagged her. Nikki joined before our first record was released. We were so happy to find her through mutual friends and she plays multiple instruments and has a beautiful voice so win-win. Although Nikki isn’t featured on the first album, she toured the states and Europe with us for that one.
BTR: Why did you guys go with this Sanskrit word as your band name?
Anna Barattin (AB): We took the word “shantih” from T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. We actually even kept his spelling instead of the Sanskrit “shanti.” We all came from different backgrounds and had different stories when we started the band and we liked the idea of beginning this project thinking about a clean slate—something that poem suggests at the very end.
We also wanted to start something positive and meaningful and Shantih Shantih is about both. I personally have a connection with India, I spent a long summer there as a child—that experience definitely influenced the choice. However, the name now represents more us as a group than anything else.
BTR: I hear a lot of ’50s doo-wop inspiration in there, am I off?
AB: We love 1950s [music]. When we first met, we bonded over our love for 1960s [bands], especially The Kinks. As we started playing together we found out that there was a lot of ‘50s music that we all listened to too. For a brief period, we covered “Dream Lover” by Bobby Darin, which was a lot of fun. I think there’s still a video of that on YouTube somewhere. Our last album is influenced by that period in music, for sure. In the studio, we thought about ‘50s-’60s era backing vocals—the song “Radio Dream” is based on a 1950s classic progression.
Shantih Shantih, “Radio Dream”
BTR: Let’s talk about that album Someone, Anyone?—why the lonesome title?
JF: We were looking at the collection of songs and trying to tie a theme to it. There was a sense of longing for someone or something that was unreachable in many of them, a calling out for help. Saying, “someone, anyone?” So, it came from that.
BTR: What was your favorite part about creating Someone, Anyone?
JF: My favorite part about making this album was doing it with these three women. I feel lucky to call them friends and that none of us want to break the other’s legs. Anyone in a touring band can say it’s never-ending work that brings lots of stress and anxiety. Luckily, we’re all great friends and enjoy the process. In the recording studio there are long days, but being in the basement, having a beer, playing songs and chatting in between, that is the fun part.
BTR: Other than playing your instruments, what role does each member play in the band?
JF: Anna K. is the tarot card reader/ spiritual healer. Nikki is our graphic designer and choreographer. Anna B. is the gourmet chef and stylist for everyone. And Julia is the driver and text thread organizer.
BTR: If someone just starting a band asked you guys for a one-sentence piece of advice, what would you say?
JF: Keep your dream in sight and don’t give up when it feels like all the pieces of the machine are coming apart.