16 Sep INDIAN RUN TALKS “HOLLOWBODY MAN”, GETS REAL ABOUT THE PAST, AND REVEALS WHAT’S NEXT
Shane Becker is Indian Run, an indie alternative band you NEED to know about. (Trust me.) A singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, Shane has been making music since the early age of four. Now in his twenties, the artistic fire inside him blazes brighter than ever. His newest single, “Hollowbody Man” has firmly cemented itself in several of my most listened to playlists. (I bet I’ve already listened to the track a hundred times since its recent release.) While I appreciate a wide spectrum of indie, I tend to gravitate toward more rushing, aggressive sounds. This song, however, had me running in the OTHER direction to embrace it. I couldn’t quite pin it down, which made me love it even more. And I found myself playing it over and over, both dissecting the heavy lyrics and feeling an ache for something I have yet to know. (Listening and lyric video links appear below.)
Given my growing fascination for “Hollowbody Man” as well as the rest of Indian Run’s discography, I jumped at the opportunity to interview the master behind the music. Shane graced MMM with a refreshingly candid account of his artistic journey to date and teased us with a glimpse of what’s to come. (I think you’re really going to dig it.)
In this interview, you’ll learn: all about Indian Run’s newest single, “Hollowbody Man”; how a toolset was upgraded to a drum set; why Shane feels more connected to Nashville than New Jersey; who named the band; what led to Indian Run’s performance at Vimeo in New York City; which song he last listened to on repeat; how he came to purchase a 1984 Mercedes at midnight; what other artists he thinks we should listen to; how he manifests his vision in studio; when we can expect new music; and how that new music will compare to his previous albums, Roaring Twenties and Reflections. (Also, be sure to check out Indian Run’s Spotify playlist: Jams. It’s the last link in this post and I’m listening to it right now.)
The conversation from our interview is chronicled below in a pure Q & A format.
Q & A:
How did you choose the name Indian Run?
Shane: I think putting my own name on something is super big-headed or rockstar-ish. I felt by using a band name I didn’t have to live up to an image. I mean, I’m a drummer, because I like to hide behind things. A friend of mine, Pete, once told me a great name for a band would be Indian Run. I liked it, and that’s why I named my band Indian Run. It’s as simple as that. Pete’s actually one of my biggest supporters. He’s a musician, too.
Tell us about your newest single, “Hollowbody Man” – It’s a passionate track!
Shane: It’s actually a really old song – it’s older than the Roaring Twenties album. It’s basically about a time in my life when I felt like I was alone. I was right out of high school. I’m twenty-five now, so that gives you an idea of how old that song is. I was at a point where I really needed to just write something. That’s why it’s called “Hollowbody Man” – not just because I wrote it on a hollowbody guitar, but also because I felt kind of empty. I just went with it. The biggest part of my music is that I record and write everything.
Why are you releasing “Hollowbody Man” now?
Shane: I wanted to release some music, because I hadn’t in a while. Actually, there is more of a reason. I live in New Jersey. (I’m about an hour and fifty-five minutes away from Philly, and fifteen minutes away from Ocean City.) There’s a pretty big college that’s forty minutes away. One of my close friends is studying music there. He reached out to me because he needed to record a song for one of his projects. He asked if we could re-record “Hollowbody Man”, because he’s heard the track before and he liked it. I was like, “Yeah. Why not?!”
How did you manifest your vision in studio for both versions of “Hollowbody Man”?
Shane: I write as I go. I never write before I record. I’ll have a part ready, and then I’ll instantly know what I want to do with the next part. For me, “Hollowbody Man” started with the first riff that you hear in the beginning. I always start with the music – that’s how I am. Music creates emotion, and I love to feel emotion. That’s how I think. Whenever I hear a song, I memorize the song before I memorize the lyrics. I was feeling the way I felt, and the melody came so quick. I start with the vision – the guitar or the keyboard. I recorded the first version of my song in my home studio.
The recording process for the second version (the one recently released on Spotify) was very different for me. I’m used to going in studio by myself and recording it with my own ideas. I put my heart and soul into it. My close friend, who is an artist and producer himself, contributed lots of ideas, like, “You should do this here. You should add these things here. You should use these vocals.” And, because of that, “Hollowbody Man” really reached another level. This new version has his heart and my heart in it. I’m at a place now, where I can sing the song remembering that hollow part of my life, but I no longer feel the hollowness. And I actually had to change some of the lyrics in this new version. So, the “Hollowbody Man” you will hear is a tiny bit different than the original version I created years ago.
I can see lots of instruments behind you in your studio! Can you tell us about them as well as which instrument you started with?
Shane: You actually can’t see everything. On my left side, I have a whole wall of amps and guitars. I started on drums, though. I’m a drummer. My parents bought me a drum set when I was four, and that’s when I started playing. I’ve lived in this house my entire life. My room actually used to be below me. I’m in my loft right now, which is the upper floor. When I was younger, I would be in my room below playing drums with a hammer – well, it wasn’t actually a drum set, it was a toolset, but I was constantly banging the hammer on the set to create a beat. My mom and dad grew tired of hearing me hit this hammer, so they bought me a tiny little drum set no bigger than my desk. I started on that. Then, I would practice songs.
From there, I had so many friends that I would play music with. My best friend and I would write, and I always give him credit for my learning guitar – not that he physically taught me, but I just saw what he did and learned to play myself.
I was inspired by big drummers who sing, like Phil Collins, and if you are into Underoath – Aaron Gillespie. And I thought, Well, I wanna do that. It started with drums and then everything from that point on just came with it, too, like guitar and bass guitar. I can also play keys, but everything I do is by ear.
Vocals was the last thing. I was making instrumental music for three years, and then all of the sudden for one song after, like twenty instrumental songs, I put some vocals on it. Everyone said, “Yo! That’s awesome!” And I thought, Sweet. Alright. Let’s do this.
You never sung before that?! Did you know you could actually sing?
Shane: I don’t know. I think I did. I think I had a good low voice, but then I didn’t know anyone who could sing low. When I started recording my vocals, that’s the first time I went an octave higher and it worked. It sounded super raw and people liked it.
What drives you to create music?
Shane: I always played music and was in a band. I was never in a cover band, though. I hated covers. I’ve finally reached the point that I can listen to a cover and respect it when it’s a good cover, but covers don’t make me go wild. I respect creativity. What drives me to make music is that I actually get to create something. When I sit at my computer, I think, I made something. This is mine. Also, there’s just something about putting your heart and soul into something and knowing you’ve put as much time and effort into making it. I write my music for me. I listen to my own music. Not to sound big-headed, but I love to listen to it. It’s part of me. It’s for me.
How would you describe your current sound?
Shane: The best way to describe it is to compare it to my last album, Roaring Twenties, since that’s already out. I also have an album, Reflections, on SoundCloud that isn’t available anywhere else. If you ask me, it’s is probably more like Reflections. People always told me that album could be the soundtrack to a movie. My new music is definitely like that.
My biggest influences for the new music are: Bon Iver (my favorite artist), Phil Collins, Bleachers, and Radiohead. All spectrums. I want to make the music as chaotic as possible but still create emotion. It’s going to be very eighties and very weird.
Going back to my roots, I’m now creating stuff that I want to make. I get discouraged sometimes, because I wonder if people will actually like the new stuff, but, at the same time, I know that I really love it. Yesterday, I was talking to a friend and I told him I was going to send him some of the new music. He listens to east coast music, which is more like progressive rock sounds. I worried that he was going to think I was this little nerd kid playing soft music; but, I’ve realized that’s how I felt about “Hollowbody Man” and the album Reflections and those were the best songs I created. They did the best. People loved them the most. They loved them more than Roaring Twenties.
I came to the conclusion that everything you do in life – if you do what you love and if you put your emotion and heart into it – that is all people want. It’s all about authenticity. Do you want someone to pick up your book, record, podcast, etc. and feel like they’ve experienced it before; OR, to experience it, maybe not like it, but be inspired by it? What I’m getting into with my new stuff is creating what I want and not overthinking it. Stylistically, I would put it at just doing what feels right: Indie alternative.
How do you know when your mind is ready to create music? Does it happen naturally or do you rely on some trusted habit(s) to prepare you to craft your art?
Shane: That’s a good question. I’ve read a lot of blogs about this just to see what other people do, but I don’t even work the way I’ve read. People say you should write every day to get the bad and the good songs out. For me, I write whenever I am free. Today, I got no sleep, I have a headache, and I don’t want to write a song. I just don’t feel like it, and I feel like you shouldn’t fight those feelings. You know when you have the itch, and that’s why I feel like you should wait.
When I have the itch, I could do one of two things: I could either write something great and feel glad that I waited OR I could write crap, and feel discouraged for the entire night. That’s just how it goes sometimes. I think everything creativity-wise is okay, even a writing block. You either wait for it to go by or write through it. For me, I wait until I have time and I’m feeling it.
I work a nine to five job still – music is my job, so it’s actually not the worst thing. I don’t have to worry about the creativity dying, because I’m always doing it – maybe not for my own Indian Run music, but I’m always creating something. Music is always running through my mind, and sometimes ideas spring up there. I love it, and I think that’s almost a blessing.
Can you tell us any stories related to your journey as an artist?
Shane: The first one that comes to mind is a cool story. My album Roaring Twenties was already out. There was a mobile-video app named Cameo, which allowed you to take short videos of anything in your surroundings, and then put a song behind a video. You had the choice of either using music from your own library or music from the Cameo app (just like if you are making a movie in iMovie). It didn’t matter what song it was. Anyways, I put one of my songs that I had never released up behind a video. The song I chose was actually a song that I never released. I put it up on Cameo, and created a thirty second promo of my music coming out. No one knew who I was on the app. I had no friends on there, but I did this promo video for seemingly no reason for like zero people.
But, one of the app’s creators, who lived in New York City, hit me up and asked if he could add my music to the app. I thought, Hell yeah. Let’s do it. I signed all the forms and added three more songs onto Cameo. I had the opportunity to visit Cameo in New York City. They were right in SoHo in the same building as Foursquare. I took some friends with me, and it was legit. It wasn’t just some startup company in some apartment. You could see the city skyline from their office. I met with the two creators of the app, and I got to know them pretty well.
Shortly afterwards, the Cameo app was bought out by Vimeo. Later on, I was asked to play in Vimeo’s office. You can’t say no that! Their office is also in New York City, but more towards Manhattan. I brought my friends and my girlfriend, and played seven songs. The whole time I was thinking, Man, this is AWESOME. Who knows what’s going to come from it?!
One of the founders of Cameo has since moved on to work at Spotify. It’s a great platform, and it’s cool to think that I have a friend who works there. Regardless, that’s the craziest thing that’s happened to me music-wise. I mean, my music has been featured in documentaries, but playing at Vimeo was by far the coolest.
Was the crowd at Vimeo the biggest you’ve played for? Were you nervous?
Shane: It might have been the biggest show I have ever played for Indian Run. I actually play in front of a thousand people a weekend at my church. My church has about twelve to fifteen hundred parishioners. I’m the worship director there, and it’s become second nature for me to sing and play in front of people. I was nervous at Vimeo not because of the crowd size, but because of the scale of where I was.
I have another fun story, too, related to the early days of Apple Music. Spotify was already huge at this point. Apple is Apple, so they make Apple Music, and a great friend of mine told me that I needed to get on there and make an artist profile. So I made one, and I was accepted the day before the day of the release of Apple Music. With Apple Music, an artist can upload a song and have it appear on Apple Music just like you would post a picture or a video on Instagram. I uploaded a few songs, which were never released anywhere else to try it out, and I ended up appearing on the ‘Discovered on Connect: Audio’ page for the entirety of Apple Music. At this point, Artist Connect was small enough that no one really knew about it. I mean, you had ‘New Music’, which could have been like Miley Cyrus, you had ‘New Videos’, which could have been like Kanye West, and then you had ‘Artist Connect’, which listed me at the top above Zedd. It was pretty dope. I obviously took a screen shot, and you can see it on my Instagram. That led to me receiving some Twitter messages from someone at Apple relations, and a phone call with Apple Music talking about Indian Run. It never really panned out to be anything crazy, but the experience was pretty wild.
Of all the music you’ve recorded to date, what is your personal favorite track and why is it your most treasured?
Shane: At this moment, my favorite track is one I’ve already recorded but has yet to be released. The song is called “Gone” – it’s just really eighties, really Phil Collins. That’s the best way to describe it. For me, it’s the most emotional and the best written song. I have to clap for it sometimes, because I listen and feel like it turned out great. I don’t know how I wrote it that well, and it moves right. I don’t know if “Gone” will be everyone else’s favorite song, but it’s mine. I have a video that I’ll be releasing soon that probably WILL be everyone else’s favorite song, because it’s upbeat, dark, and has a lot emotion in it. But, there’s just something about “Gone” that makes it my favorite.
When it comes to songs that I’ve already released, “Timelord”, which appears on Roaring Twenties, was the most fun, anthem-y song to make. Four of my friends sang and played on that track, so it was my favorite recoding experience.
What’s it like living in New Jersey as a multi-instrumentalist and producer?
Shane: I personally like New Jersey. When it comes to just living here, it’s fun. You have all four seasons. You can go to the beach one day, and go hiking the next. I love the atmosphere. In my opinion, when it comes to the music scene, you have to forget South Jersey and look at what’s happening in Philly. Nothing against the music scene New Jersey, because there are SO many talented artists, but the problem is that the artists here are stuck in their ways. In recent years, that’s what’s kept me away from it. You have different styles. The East coast style is very The Early November, Taking Back Sunday, and Brand New – I mean, I love those bands. They’re some of my biggest influences; but, they’ve been making music like that since the nineties. I feel like the music scene around here is just a little bit stale, but talent-wise it’s ridiculous.
When it comes to the Philly music scene, and I was just talking to a friend about this yesterday, there are so many talented people making different sounding music, that you think, THAT IS AWESOME. Everyone in Philly has a different sound, but it doesn’t really seem like they care if they ‘make it’. They’re just playing incredible music in the city.
As far as venues, in South Jersey, you have VFW shows, and that’s about it around here. You either go from Philly, which has lots of venues, to South Jersey, where you have to search to find a venue, or to Atlantic City, where a big ticket band like The Rolling Stones might be playing.
House shows are also a thing. I’ll describe the scene as I know it, and also explain why I stay away from it sometimes. House shows pop up every Friday or Saturday night in the area, but, in my opinion, it’s not for the right reasons. As an artist, I want to play a show, so more people can hear my music. Here in South Jersey, I’ve seen that people stick together in the same groups for the house shows. Meaning, that most likely, no new people are coming, since it’s typically the SAME people. I support music, and the idea of house shows is cool, but I want to have DIFFERENT fans, not the same twenty-five people every time I play. I do believe you should have a local following, but a few dozen people can only get you so far. That’s been my beef with the scene around here lately. I would consider myself more of an internet musician than a musician connected to this area.
One positive thing I do want to mention is a band you should check out called FV. (Follow them on Instagram: @fvisaband) They are from my area, scattered around South Jersey, and they’ll be getting signed soon. They are on Maine’s production company, which will take them places. I actually recorded their demos and mixed their new music. They’ve played in my band for shows before, and I’m great friends with them. Anything they used to do, they’d send to me, and I’d mix it.
I’ve also connected with some people in Nashville, which is pretty big for me, through Soundstripe, a music licensing website for film makers and video content creators. I make a good amount of money a month for people licensing my music for film. Licensing is actually where I get most of my money from. It’s funny, because I have a connection with about sixty people on that website, who either live in Nashville or in other parts of the country. I see people in Nashville or other places using my music, and I always get told, “Man, you gotta come to Nashville.” Regardless, at this point, I think Nashville is the closest scene of people I’m connected to.
Where do you feel most inspired and why?
Shane: I get inspired while I’m driving, but I don’t drive much, strangely. My work is eight minutes away, and my girlfriend’s place is only about five minutes away from where I work. I love the mountains, and the beach isn’t a bad place to be inspired, either. Most times, I usually come up with ideas when I’m not thinking about it: either when I’m about to go to sleep or when I’m in the car not trying to think of anything.
What was the last song you listened to on repeat? What artists have been in heavy rotation for you lately?
Shane: It’s funny, I don’t listen to music a lot. I’m LIVING music. I wake up and I go to a place where I’m constantly thinking about music, even if it’s not the genre that I care about all the time. I’ve been loving: the new self-titled Harry Styles album; the new Bleachers album, Gone Now; and the new Lorde album, Melodrama. There’s also this one song, by band I never thought I would give a chance to, that I’m really digging. It’s HAIM’s “Want You Back” – my friend sent it to me and told me it was a jam. This was before their new album Something To Tell You came out. Now, I always listen to “Want You Back” and “Right Now” on repeat. When I want to get inspired, I listen to Bon Iver’s “Beth/Rest” – it’s a ballad / eighties type song. I listened to that one three times today, so that’s the most recent on repeat. But, the HAIM one has really been my JAM.
Any other artists you want to shout-out that we should listen to?
Shane: Day Wave is a great band that you should check out. They’re dope. Another artist you should check out is HalfNoise, the drummer of Paramore. It’s like Day Wave, but mixed with The Beatles. Zac Farro from HalfNoise is actually one of my biggest influences in my day-to-day life. He’s a Nashville-based, super nerdy and quirky dude that’s hilarious. You should follow him on Instagram. If I could hang out with that dude every day, I would. He and Justin Vernon from Bon Iver.
Share three things you want your fans to know about you.
Shane: 1. I bought a 1984 Mercedes from a guy in Philly the other day at midnight. I had a friend go there with me who knows cars. I want this car bad enough that I would have gone without my friend, but I’m thankful he came. The seller told me he already had people interested in purchasing the car. Those people were supposed to show up in the morning. I wanted the car so badly that I offered to drive over that night. He was a super cool guy, and he agreed to it. Now, I have 1984 Mercedes, which I’m restoring. If you want to know what I like, that’s a great example. Look at that car.
2. I do like sports. It’s funny, I’ve had a lot of musicians tell me they LOVE sports, but a lot of people who are die-hard music fans HATE sports. I was super stoked about The NBA Finals. I’m a Chicago Cubs fan and loved that they won The 2016 World Series. My dad is from Chicago, so that really hit home with me. I love to watch sports whenever I can. Ironically, when I watch TV, I either watch “Impractical Jokers”, “Family Feud”, or ESPN.
3. I watch “Arrested Development” religiously every night. My girlfriend hated it at first, but then she started watching it herself. We watch it together when I see her at night, and she loves it now. We’re to the point where we are re-watching the same five episodes, but it’s good for my mind. It’s a part of my life.
Is there an EP or full-length on the horizon, which “Hollowbody Man” will be a part of? If so, is there an estimated release date?
Shane: “Hollowbody Man” will not be part of the next EP release. In my opinion, it’s just so different and so far away. Danny and I are looking to release a video I have for a song called “Been Alright” – we did a super suburbian thing with me riding a bike in a neighborhood the entire time. We’re hoping to release that soon. It will not be a simultaneous release. Either the song will come first, and the video shortly afterwards; or, the other way around. All the releases will start to kick-off in the fall. Follow me on social media, and you’ll see all the updates.
Shout-outs: Are there any people you would like to thank and / or draw our attention to?
Shane: I definitely need to shout-out Danny Allebach for believing in the music. He is a DOPE manager.
I’d also like to shout-out my super talented friends, Jonathon Chambers and Zach Ferdman, for helping to make such an awesome music video for “Been Alright”. That video is just as much mine as it is theirs.
Connect with Indian Run:
Watch the “Hollowbody Man” Lyric Video:
Listen to “Hollowbody Man”:
Listen to Indian Run’s Roaring Twenties album:
Listen to Indian Run’s Reflections album:
Listen to Indian Run’s Spotify Playlist: Jams: