After a reasonably quiet 2022, Susi Pagel looks to close out the year on a high with the release of her next single, ‘Shadows‘.
Recorded and produced by George Sloan at Half Bap Studios, the single was the reward for finishing as runner up in the 2022 edition of our Kickstart competition. A huge thanks is due to Lee and Emma at Forestside for their help facilitating this recording and the competition as a whole.
Where previous single ‘Pick Me’ bristled with its in-your-face pop stylings, ‘Shadows’, takes a dalliance into the darker depths of alt pop. There is a relish and swagger as the guitar is dialled up a notch with a tasty solo thrown in for good measure. The addition of the distorted vocals and the whispering as it closes out lends a slight eeriness to proceedings and offers a nice edge to the sound.
It isn’t of course a complete move away from her roots and underneath the edgier layers, there are pop trappings to be found. Refinement rather than reinvention for Susi and it has paid off.
Thoughts From Susi
“I’ve been wanting to take my sound to a darker place for a little while and felt that a single release around Halloween would be the perfect time to do it. After we decided to add heavier guitar in my last single ‘Pick Me’, my guitarist/producer Jack McGarry and I realised it was something we definitely wanted to take further.
Jack and I typically record and mix all of our tracks from home, so going to the studio is a nerve-wracking but exciting experience! For this track, ‘Shadows’, we were given the opportunity to go to Half Bap Studios, where we recorded all the vocals. ‘Shadows’ is a song about keeping something secret- or being kept a secret- and all the feelings that come with it. Before releasing it, we’ve been playing it in our live set and I always have the most fun doing it because of how over the top it is.
We had so much fun from the moment we arrived at the studio and got stuck into the vocals quickly. I find the vocal booth to be pretty daunting sometimes because it literally feels like you can hear your own thoughts. A few warm-up takes actually ended up being really beneficial because I worked out there were some cool things I wanted to add in. After the main vocals were done, Jack and George had me do an entire take whispered so that we could take random parts of it to add spooky layers. They’ve ended up sounding really cool and creepy so I’m super happy with them! It’s real ASMR vibes with headphones.”
One of my inspirations for the track was actually “This is Halloween” from Nightmare before Christmas, so I knew I wanted to include some spooky chorus “la la la”‘s. We ended up spending sooo long working on it, (with about half an hour spent trying to work out what it reminded us of- it was Lady Sovereign 9-5 hahaha!).
We spent so long getting it right that Jack ended up finding a little toy piano, playing the melody on it and deciding it HAD to go on the track. It comes in during the very last chorus and I think it’s the perfect creepy addition.
Jack and I are so used to doing everything on our own, so hearing the finished vocals that were recorded at Half Bap on the track was such an amazing moment. The song was brought to life thanks to George and his work and we are so grateful to Chordblossom for giving us the opportunity to bring it to Half Bap. Coming runner up for Kickstart has been such a great experience, both the studio time and management advice have been a hugely significant help and I’m so thankful that I was given the opportunity.
I really love how the track has turned out I’m so glad it’s the first of my more alternative-pop songs to be released to the world. I really hope you all love it!”