Image courtesy of Oops Baby Records.
Perplexing punctuation be damned. There’s no doubt that Brooklyn-based Shark? is a band to watch. They’ve mastered the balance between breezy and gritty lo-fi that so many associate with New York City these days, all while firmly sinking their teeth into the Brooklyn music scene without giving up the catchy melodies we all not-so-secretly love. In celebration of BTR’s Shark Week, we caught up with Kevin Diamond of Shark?, just before their performance at a benefit for Showpaper last week, to see what the band’s been up to since they treated BTR to an especially festive episode of Serious Business back in 2011.
BreakThru Radio: So you’ve been playing and living in Brooklyn for some time. Do you think there’s a noticeable difference between “the Brooklyn music scene,” and the general “New York City music scene?”
Kevin Diamond: I think so … For me, I’m kind of only aware of the Brooklyn scene because this is where I live. This is where everyone I know lives. This is where people let me play shows. I would love to play in Queens or the Bronx, but I just don’t know anybody there so I’ve never really been able to. As far as Manhattan goes, the only good Manhattan club is Cake Shop, and they’re in danger of shutting down. So for me, the Brooklyn scene kind of seems like it is the New York scene, but that just means I may not know about these other scenes.
BTR: Just to go back to Cake Shop … you mentioned they were in danger of closing?
KD: Yeah, they’ve got an online donation thing happening … They’ve got all these fees that have been amassed somehow from the city, and I think they need to raise like $68,000 dollars or something. So that’s why we were playing at Cake Shop the other night. That was a benefit, when we played with Surfer Blood. That was like a secret show benefit for them to raise money. So hopefully that worked. I think they’re getting close.
We didn’t take any money. We were playing for free. When I moved to New York seven years ago, that was the place I went to listen to music. It was the only place I knew and liked …
BTR: What is Showpaper so people can check it out?
KD: Showpaper is just an artist-run listing of all ages and free shows in all of the New York area. It includes Jersey and some Connecticut shows if they’re not that far away. There’s a lot going on, and if you want to know about those other scenes, that’s where you’ll see it. You’ll see that there are house parties in the Bronx listed in there and stuff in New Jersey … anything that’s all ages, DIY or free is in there. It’s a really cool paper. One side is a piece of art and the other side is a listing of all the best shows for the next two weeks. It’s such a great thing to have.
BTR: So they’re not in danger of going away too are they?
KD: No, it’s just one of those things. They have to raise money. Every once and awhile they throw a little thing to make some money. It’s not hard to find bands to support that.
BTR: So you were successful on Kickstarter. Any advice for other musicians that want to try Kickstarter?
KD: The people I know that have done it have all succeeded, but I also know that just getting that money is not everything. That money is not going to be all the money you need to do what you want to do … so it can’t be the only part of your game plan.
BTR: Cool things you do for fans … I saw the tour T-shirts. You guys make them and you give them away … that’s awesome, but how does one earn one?
KD: You just gotta be the MVP, and that’s completely up in the air. There’s no defining characteristics of what an MVP is. Usually the person appears that you just know … you feel it in your gut.
BTR: So you’ve been playing in the city a lot. When’s the last time you got out of the city?
KD: End of September – early October we’re putting together a tour with our friends Dinosaur Feathers. The last time we did a real tour was like a year and a half ago, so we’re looking forward to that. It’s always fun to get out of the city and play.
BTR: You have the tour coming up … any other news?
KD: Well, we have a new album that will probably be called Savior … that’s going to be a good album. I mean, I know, I’m biased but … it’s going to be good. I wouldn’t lie to you.
For more conversation with Kevin Diamond of Shark?, check out this week’s episode of Third Eye Weekly, airing Thursday. To check out their video for “I’ve Got Friends”, click on the YouTube video below: