Come On Down, Sweet Virginia: An Interview with The Soul Shakers

Brett Hellings and Elias Reidy bumped into each other approximately around 2008. Although Los Angeles is a pretty large area, they were constantly running into each other. That’s when The Rolling Stone’s “Sweet Virginia” comes into play.

“Sweet Virginia” was the first song they played together one night, and boy was the chemistry apparent. Their first song came together that same night.

Their band, The Soul Shakers, has already gone through a small amount of name and lineup changes. However, both of those ideas are far from the top of their priority list. “It was never really about the lineup or the name; it was about our relationship and our ability to write and to get some good material out there,” Hellings said.

The band essentially formed in 2013 but if you’re searching for an EP or full-length record, you won’t find one just yet. They have been painstakingly taking care of completing a record that they are 100% proud of and ready to share with the world. Their debut record is completed, as an LP, and nearing its release date.

They recorded at Soundmine Studios with Dan Malsch and established a great working relationship that shows throughout the record. In addition to taking their time with the songwriting process, they took their time creating the sound that they wanted. “The studio is where we both thrive. It’s like knowing a totally different language,” Reidy said.

Hellings and Reidy are making executive decisions for their music that not many bands are doing. They are taking risk after risk by doing things such as releasing an LP versus an EP and releasing music on their own terms versus when it’s the “right opportunity.” Seeing musicians that are solely in it for the purpose of creating music is a hard thing to come by, let alone two musicians who grew up on a rock and roll sound that is missing from today’s top 40 radio. “We really wanted to come out with new representation of what rock and roll was supposed to be today,” Reidy said.

The chemistry between the two guys is evident, even over a phone interview. Their ideas are able to come together and create a satisfaction in their wants as musicians. “Once you find someone you click with that well that you don’t even really need to talk much, it just comes out in the music. We knew we needed to continue this thing and that’s who we are now,” Hellings said.

And with compatibility like theirs, it’s hard not to admire it.