Not content with plying his trade in one of the best bands in the UK punk scene Sy Shields is also on his thirds album with his other mob the X-Ray Eyes where he doubles down as vocalist and guitarist. If you’ve never heard either band now would be a good time to click some of the links and enlighten yourself and make your record collection a bazillion times better. He a Yorkshireman and he’s been busy writing, recording and playing live but can fit in five minutes to answer some daft questions from RPM so here goes… eh up, Tell us a little history of the band Whos in it and where did it all begin?
Me and Deany (drums) have been pals since we were kids and been in a band together since high school. I met Jock (guitar) when I joined the band Lorimer (which eventually became Cyanide Pills) when I was 19. I met Amir (bass) in 2002 through my college friend and former bandmate Stevie. We formed The X-Ray Eyes in 2012 (I think!)
You don’t just reside in The X-Ray eyes as singer and guitarist but you also play guitar in the awesome Cyanide Pills, what are the major differences between them that keeps you at it?
Firstly, the difference in music I guess. Most of the song ideas, music, lyrics and melodies comes from Phil when we play with Cyanide Pills. I’d like to think it’s similar to that with The X-Ray Eyes but it’s me instead of Phil. I quite like that with this band we don’t have a record label, publisher, manager, booking agent etc so it’s all pretty much DIY. We can do as little or as much as we want and do things exactly as we want them.
As for Playing the guitar, who influenced you to pick it up and how old were you when you realised it’s what you wanted to do?
I don’t think one particular person influenced me to start playing, it was just guitar based music in general. I started getting into bands such as Oasis, Blur and Supergrass at about 11 years old as I’d just started playing football for an older age group so I was easily influenced and liked what I heard. I started to teach myself to play guitar when I was about 14 and soon moved onto bands like Green Day, Rancid and The Offspring. By the time I was 16 I’d become a big fan of The Clash and Sex Pistols and got we our first band together.
I think every band says their latest album is their best! It’s my favourite one we’ve done because I think it sounds the best and it has our best songs on.
Do you enjoy singing and playing guitar? or are you more comfortable just playing guitar?
I’ve been doing it for a long time now so I feel pretty comfortable doing both. I suppose I feel a bit more pressure playing with The X-Ray Eyes as I’m the lead singer/frontman and stand in the middle. I also have much more to remember!
If you could jump on a tour who would you pick if that were an option? What about growing up who were the bands you loved?
I’d love to tour with The Hellacopters, Rancid or The Briefs but who wouldn’t?! I’d say Oasis was the first band I loved then I went through a Nirvana phase……
That’s a tough one because it changes all the time. Off the top of my head I’ll go for The Peepshows ‘Surrender My Love’, Jimi Hendrix’s version of ‘All Along The Watchtower’ and Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, ‘The Tears of a Clown’. I think they’re all perfect songs in their own way. ‘My Sharona’ by The Knack should get a mention too!
I like pretty much anything so long as it’s tuneful and got a good melody or chorus. I’m more than partial to a bit of classical music, Motown, pop, dance or reggae. I draw the line at metal or jazz though.
When you’re playing with Cyanide Pills is there a favourite track to play live? What about favourite show?
Not sure I have a favourite song to play live, I prefer the songs we never play live! We’ve played so many gigs over the years it’s hard to pick just one. My favourite gig of the last tour we did was probably the one we did for Stefan in Munich. It was a Tuesday night and it was hot, sweaty and busy. Just how we like it.
What are your plans for both bands that you can tell us about? We know Cyanide Pills have a new album recorded, what can you tell us about that?
We’re working on the next album with Cyanide Pills but it’s gonna be a while yet. All the songs are written but we’re only part way through the recording. We’ve started writing stuff for The X-Ray Eyes next album too so we’ll be working on that in between gigging. We’ve got a van so we’ll play anywhere within reason, providing we’re all available!
I love touring. Playing gigs is surely the best part of being in a band. I think we’ve only played in Wales once with either band and it was Cyanide Pills when we supported UK Subs in Cardiff a few years back. We’d definitely be up for going back. I wouldn’t rule out touring or doing a gig with both bands but it might be beneficial to have at least one band on in the middle so I can catch my breath.
We’ve been wanting to release something on vinyl for a while now but it’s difficult as it’s so expensive. Hopefully, we’ll get some gigs in the next few months and sell some merch so we can afford to put out a single or EP on vinyl in the not too distant future.