Who Are You?: Shark Dentist

Shark Dentist illustration by Ryan Gillett

Formed in college classrooms, Shark Dentist channel a joyous, reckless abandon, with a twist of darkness in the musical fold. Made up of vocalist/guitarist, Grady Steele, guitarist/vocalist Campbell Baum, bassist Andrew Spiteri, and drummer Jamie Staples, the North London band boast influences as diverse as; the 90s jazz-hop of Organized Konfusion, the psychedelic folk of Pentangle, the wit and humour of Bill Murray, and share common ground over fuzzy-guitar rock of all eras – from Sonic Youth to The Strokes.

Variously describing themselves as ‘Dad Rock / Sandwich Metal & Pizza Pop’, none of the band members have yet reached the age of 21. Their songwriting process consists of garnering inspiration watching Space Jam or Groundhog Day, and letting the rest take care of itself. This style of dark – and often silly – humour runs omnipresent through Shark Dentist’s social persona. Their ‘Alternate Bio’ claims the band members grew up together harvesting jellyfish on a shark farm, went their separate ways during a 6 year interlude that saw Grady spend time in ‘The Super Evil Aquatic Asylum’, before being freed by his fellow band members during ‘The Bait Escape’, culminating in the formation of Shark Dentist.

The band have released two singles so far, with the upcoming ‘Florentine (Make Me Smile)’ to be released on June 3rd via Ra-Ra Rock Records. This will mark the band’s second release for Ra-Ra Rock – which is run from the basement of Out on The Floor Records on Inverness St, London.

First single ‘Cut Myself Shaving/Messy’ was released in June 2015 on a long sold-out, limited cassette tape. The A-side is an angst-ridden cut, thundering and flirting with a dark energy, and evoking the influence of American Punk Rock from the 1980s and all its DIY affiliations. It was also the first song the band posted to their Soundcloud. ‘Messy’ delves into arthouse inspired, noise-oriented influences, conjuring the more abstract ends of alternative guitar rock. The tempo is slower and sludgier than any of the tracks Shark Dentist have produced before or after.

Second single ‘Stranger/Bin Man’ was recorded with Sean Read – who has worked with Graham Coxon and Dexys Midnight Runners – and sees Shark Dentist step in to more optimistic sonic realms. ‘Stranger’ is a jangle-tilted, bright and life-affirming affair. Its video is a darkly comedic parody of semi-moronic guitar and drum instructional Youtube videos, and is testament to Shark Dentist’s lust-for- life disposition. B-side ‘Bin Man’ is all warm, dreamy guitars, brimming with infectious melody and untainted teenage exuberance. It is youth distilled through garage pop.

Forthcoming ‘Florentine (Make Me Smile)’ is the closest thing to an actual pop song the band have produced thus far, though it melts into wonkier spheres, and at times evokes the spirit of California’s resident slackers Pavement – a band noted as a mutual reference point for all four members of Shark Dentist. While the band admit influence from a particular style of punk and post-punk influenced guitar music of the late 80s and early 90s, they are sonically modern, and don’t feel derivative, instead morphing and moulding their own image of a jaded and fuzz-laden guitar pop. Shark Dentist are hinting at exciting prospects to come in the world of energetic guitar music.

Following weeks of stalking their Soundcloud, we had a chat with the band to get the inside scoop…

Shark Dentist, Hello and who are you?

Hello So Young Mag, we are Shark Dentist from the deep blue. We are a family friendly four piece from North London, ranging from 18-20 years old.

Can you tell us how you came together and describe the music you make?

We met at college with a mutual distaste for our courses. I’d say we’re a steady mix of sandwich metal and pizza pop: not too much of either, but just enough of each.

Is there one album/artist which mutually inspires your songs?

We’re kind of struggling to pick one between the four of us.. The only one we can seem to all decide on is The Strokes – Is This It; It was a big one for us (and many others) growing up. Now, we’ve all got slightly more diverse tastes..

If you could dispel one comparison/or description of your music so far what would it be?

We got likened once to Radiohead’s Pablo Honey, which just so happens to be their worst album, and one that provoked critics to describe them as a “lily-livered excuse for a rock band”.. So cheers for that.

Your appreciation for Danny Dyer has been documented, Do you have a favourite moment? Mine was his recent use of ‘Loop the Loop’ as rhyming slang for ‘Soup’.

Ha, yeah he likes to rewrite his scripts doesn’t he! One of our favourites is in the intro to season 2 of Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men, where he looks into the camera and says “Judging by this mob, there’s gonna be tears before bedtime..”. Unbelievable.

Could you tell us the story behind your latest song, ‘Florentine (make me smile)’?

It’s a song about never being able to call it quits with someone; a scrambled mix of emotions sprinkled on top of a three and a half minute pop song, aptly named after an eggy dish.

What can we be excited for in Shark Dentist’s future?

We’ve got a video coming out soon. We don’t wanna give too much away, except that we’re heavily rebranding.. You’ll be able to see it for yourself in a week or two. Then, in the first week of June, we’re playing some shows with our mates for the release of Florentine.. They’ll be our first London shows in almost two months, so keep your eyes peeled!

 ‘Florentine (Make Me Smile)’ is released June 3rd via Ra-Ra- Rock Records