Manchester group Shy Luv grew out of childhood friendship and shared musical fascination.
"We've known each other forever, since we were 4 years old because we've always been at the same schools," says Sam Knowles, one half of the duo (also known as Karma Kid). "We first started making music together when we were 17 in Jake's bedroom, that's when we first started properly being mates and hanging out together. We shared our own music tastes with each other and continued to make music most weekends and after school, but when we were both 18 we decided to put a name to what we were doing. At first we were big into hip-hop so we just wanted to make hip hop beats and mix tapes, but it quickly evolved into much more than that. The music we make now is a reflection of what we've been exploring and listening to together since we became friends, and it's an amalgamation of all the different things that make us who we are now it's a bit more personal to the electronic music we've been used to playing in DJ sets in the past."
Their varied influences—disco, funk, hip-hop, house, techno—all come to a head on eclectic, sleek new EP Shock Horror, a name that tips the sense of humor behind the group's serious dedication to craft and songwriting.
"Shock horror is a typically English thing to say in a sarcastic way when you're describing something that is blindingly obvious," Knowles says. "In [the title] track we're talking about an intimidatingly hot woman who enters a party we're at and seems totally unattainable to us."
EP standout "Nightingale" shows Shy Luv at the peak of their powers, constantly morphing from one set of sounds to the next, like four hours spent in a futuristic club condensed into just under four minutes.
"We actually wrote 'Nightingale' in LA, we had a little apartment with a studio in the garden and we set up camp there," Knowles says. "We wanted to write something moody, so we just played with some vocals originally sang by JT Roach and some synths. We wanted to take the listener on a little journey with this particular track, so we made sure it's constantly swelling and evolving throughout."
Shock Horror isn't an overwrought statement piece or some sort of grand love letter to electronic music, but it is a lovingly constructed four tracks that brings a bit of the nuance and care that Shy Luv sees lacking in the landscape around them.
"It seems the case that with a lot of EDM and particularly dubstep, it has all become a bit of a boys club in America and a competition of who has the biggest drop and dirtiest sound, and that's fundamentally the problem with it," says Knowles. "The best DJ sets and sets from more electronic artist we've seen constantly progress and build over the course of a few hours and there really is an art to it. You very much miss that out with quick fire drops and bangers. This culture seems to have clouded the amazing electronic music somewhat in the states, but it doesn't mean there's not incredible music from there. House music and a lot of dance music was born in America and we all owe a lot to that! As well as that, the size and the money spent on production of a lot of the shows in the US seems through the roof and that kind of takes away from the music at a show. In the U.K. it seems dance music, electronic music and club culture is exclusively about the music and not at all about the show. That's why you find most of the best clubs are just dark, dingy places with intimate surroundings and incredible music."
Listen to Shock Horror below and keep an eye on Shy Luv.