Ladies and gentlemen, today we have the pleasure of delving into the world of progressive rock with the talented trio behind Half Shell. Joining us are Jesse, Nicole, and Caitlin, the creative minds and skilled musicians who make up this dynamic band. Their musical journey began during their college years when fate brought them together as friends, and by the end of their freshman year, they had formed a band with a unique blend of progressive elements.
Their friendship, coupled with diverse musical tastes, laid the foundation for a collaborative spirit that thrives on openness to various genres. Today, we have the privilege of exploring their latest venture, the concept album “The Great Truth,” and in particular, the featured track on the “Progstravaganza: Harmony in Complexity” compilation, “Prometheus in the Flesh.”
As we embark on this interview, we’ll uncover the intricacies of Half Shell‘s creative process, influences drawn from the world of progressive rock, the challenges they’ve faced in the industry, and their reflections on the evolution of the music scene. We’ll also get a sneak peek into their future plans and discover what being part of this compilation means to them.
So, without further ado, let’s dive deep into the musical universe of Half Shell and explore the stories and inspirations that shape their innovative sound. Welcome, Jesse, Nicole, and Caitlin!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your musical journey. How did you get started in the world of progressive rock?
The three of us met in college in our Freshman year. We all became friends and by the end of the year we were in a band that incorporated progressive elements. Even though we three have pretty differing tastes in music, we’re all open to new kinds of music and appreciate the progressive elements in each of the genres that we like.
Let’s dive into the featured track on the compilation. Can you share the inspiration or story behind “Prometheus in the Flesh”?
“The Great Truth” is a concept album. It follows the story of a protagonist who discovers a great truth, an answer that can save the society that they are in. But, nobody believes them. “Prometheus in the Flesh” is the second track on the album, in which the protagonist is deciding what to do with the knowledge they’ve discovered and the indecision that they feel to take action.
Walk us through your creative process. How do you typically approach writing and composing music? What was your creative process like for your recent album “The Great Truth” in comparison to previous efforts?
Generally we start with a melodic idea on vocals or keyboards, brought in by one of the members. We then figure out the chords that go with that as a group. From there, we decide what section that will be in the song (chorus, verse, etc.) and we build off it. For “The Great Truth”, Nicole outlined the chapters in the narrative that formed the basis for the songs. What made this effort different was that as we were coming up with musical ideas, we had to decide which chapter in the narrative that music would best match up with, and which ideas could be reused and reprised at other points in the album.
Who or what are your major influences in progressive rock? How do they impact your own musical style?
Our band’s progressive influences include Leprous, Riverside, Yes, King Crimson, Genesis, and a bunch of others, but those are the main ones. We have plenty of non-progressive influences as well that help contribute to a slightly different sound. Leprous’ recent cinematic sound qualities have had an impact as well on us in recording “The Great Truth”.
The Music Industry
What challenges have you faced as an artist in the scene, and how have you overcome them?
We still face challenges that many small independent artists face: exposure to new fans, connecting with other artists, keeping up with social media and generating large turnouts to shows. We’ve managed to get the love and support that we have through dedication to making the best music we can, supporting others and just continuous striving.
How do you see the scene evolving, and what role do you believe your music plays in that evolution?
Progressive music has in some ways reached a lot of new crowds, especially with progressive music becoming heavier and djentier. New artists are combining genres a lot more now, so fans are listening to a wider variety of genres more than ever. We feel that our music can fit within a group of fans that enjoy both progressive rock and progressive pop, which has been more championed by artists like Steven Wilson and Einar Solberg.
Share with us some of the most memorable moments in your musical journey so far.
Definitely releasing our album, which came with more flattering and supportive reviews from bloggers and sites that we’ve admired for a long time. We had some really fun shows in 2023 as well, fueled by the joy of playing this new music for people!
Do you have a personal favorite among your own compositions? If so, which one and why?
Jesse’s favorite is “To Be the Bearer of Bad News”, because it hits that nice balance of classical-influenced progressive pop, and reminds him of listening to Genesis when he was a kid. Caitlin’s favorites are “Clutching to… Clinging to…” and “Too Many Wrongs to Right”. The interplay between the keyboard, bass, and vocals is some of the most interesting we’ve done, in her opinion, while still being very catchy. Nicole’s favorite is “Systemic Rejection of Factual Evidence” because we put a lot of effort into that song. It was the first song we wrote for the album, before we decided it was even going to be a concept album, and in a lot of ways it inspired our desire to write the rest of the album.
Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re working on?
Stay tuned… we don’t know what we’re going to be doing next! But, we can promise that a lot of writing will be done in 2024.
What does it mean to you to be a part of our compilation? How has the experience been for you?
It’s an absolute honor! We’re excited to be on the same compilation as so many other wonderful progressive bands. Jesse grew up reading Prog Sphere so it feels surreal in a lot of ways to be humbled with the opportunity to be a part of it.
Is there a message you’d like to convey to your fans who will be discovering your music through this compilation?
We hope you listen through the whole album, take in the music and lyrics and have a connection with it. At the end of the day, we hope it has meaning for you. Thank you for listening and tell us what you think! We’re friendly and available, we love to chat.
Dream Collaboration: If you could collaborate with any artist, living or not, who would it be?
Jesse: Mariusz Duda
Nicole: Leprous (call us!)
Instrument of Choice: If you had to pick one instrument (besides your primary one) to master, what would it be?
Favorite Prog Album: What’s your all-time favorite progressive rock album, and why? One album that you always return to.
Jesse: “A Trick of the Tail” by Genesis. Every song is so beautifully crafted, has a mix of prog, fusion, pop and straight rock elements. It’s that perfect blend of complexity and accessibility.
Nicole: Both of Fair to Midland’s albums, “Arrows & Anchors” and “Fables From a Mayfly”. I’ve listened to them since she was a kid and I always thought they were excited in the sense that they were different from all other music and had a special energy to them.
Caitlin: “Animals” by Pink Floyd. It’s the point where Pink Floyd’s sound really evolved and in a lot of ways refined and perfected itself. The sound quality and song structures are really top notch.
Non-Musical Influence: Are there non-musical influences that find their way into your music? (e.g., literature, art, science)
Nicole: I’m an artist and a writer. I love to read and find many inspirations from the studies I’ve done in literature and art!
Jesse and Caitlin will often find inspiration in music found in other media like movies, but that’s still music. [laughs]
Any final thoughts or reflections you’d like to share with our audience?
Keep supporting independent music! It means more to us than you think. Getting a kind comment on a post from a stranger makes our whole day!
Where can our audience find more about you and your music? (Include social media handles, website, etc.)
Our website is HalfShellBand.com, which will link you to all our social media pages and you can find our music on all major music platforms. We also have physical CD’s on our bandcamp: halfshellmusic.bandcamp.com