After a long exploration through the classical, progressive rock and jazz worlds, Roni Shewan has finally found herself in the trip-hop stylings of her solo project, Shiver Canyon.
The debut release almost timelines Shewan’s journey through the musical realms. Incorporating ambient and dream like electronic, pop and rock sounds, it’s the fluttering, carefree nature of Shiver Canyon that transcends genre.
“I don’t like being stuck in one formula. I always like challenging myself and trusting intuition with writing,” says the Melbourne musician, who has written music and fronted bands since the age of 17.“I’m not closed off to any other genre, and that definitely comes through in my writing.”
With the self-titled EP just released and already spinning across community radio, Shewan says it is an unsettling, yet exciting time for an artist to receive feedback and reflect on a project.
“You never know how it’s going to go when you release something,” she says.
“It’s also hard to verbalise what you’re doing when you’re so close to it. I do enjoy getting that space, getting to sit back and reflect on all the hard work as well. Fortunately, I have had a lot of good feedback.”
Having studied several different styles of music, Shewan’s explorational background of sounds and instruments are seamlessly embodied in Shiver Canyon, whereby delicate percussion and vocal layering are combined with instrumentation to create an almost theatrical music experience.
“I originally started from a classical background – piano was my first instrument,” she says.
“Then I started singing, eventually moving on to jazz, rock bands and folk projects. I was also involved with the progressive rock scene, which happens to be very male dominated, and has a very specific audience. I think my sound now is reflective of the fact I have involved myself with lots of different music.”
Co-producing the EP with Red Black, Shewan’s ambitious debut features performances by fellow local musicians Benjamin Dalton, Matthew Delaney, Daniel O’Keefe, Matthew Reid and David Robinson. Embracing the challenge of working with others, Shewan feels grateful to be pushed out of her comfort zone with her latest release.
“I’ve always found working with other artists is really great because it forces you to work differently,” she says.
“But I also like working by myself and getting into that zone.”
“As I get older I seem to have become more of an introvert. I definitely like that space you get in when you’re inspired, coming up with lots of ideas and letting your mind follow. There are good things about both approaches, and I think I’ve been really fortunate to be able to do both, because not everyone can work like that.”
Shiver Canyon’s upcoming performance will further showcase the duality of the powerful solo project, which explores thought provoking lyrical content on history, femininity, desire, mental illness and the avant-garde. Some of Shewan’s most loved local artists will take to the stage to transform the evening into a collaborative performance.
“I wanted something that was a celebration, because the EP was a lot of work, and took a lot longer than expected,” she says.
“I’m so happy to have it finished and out in the world.”
Humbly curating the set herself, including the live visuals for the show, Shewan says backing vocalists, instrumentalists and special guests will help bring the night together. The event aims to do more than simply launch the work of Shiver Canyon, but to also applaud the talent of the full-female line up that is set to perform.
“Now my work is finally finished and out for people to enjoy I want to celebrate that, as well as the musicians that I like,” she says.
“I’m a huge fan of all the acts and I want to honour them as well as promote my own EP. I’m excited about the lineup, and I’m expecting a really good night of music.”
By Julia Sansone