Keith Zarriello tends to keep his listeners guessing, whether he's performing as his rapping alter ego in a Scream mask, or singing a gut-wrenching ballad of heartache. Although sticking to their naturalistic lo-fi garage sound, The Shivers' latest album, More, is speckled with the eerie loveliness of Zariello's band mates, specifically, Jo Schorikow's church organ. With a stillness in his vocals, Zariello manages to spill all of his emotions, oscillating between tenderness and grave anger. Even with such refreshing honesty in his lyrics, Queens native Zariello often remains a mystery, constantly threatening that The Shivers are on the verge on breaking up and using short and succinct answers in an interview with us. But then again, perhaps minimalism isn't the best way to describe The Shivers.
Who are your biggest musical inspirations? Who are some your favorite bands out there now? Beyonce, Races, Washington, Aloe Blacc, R. Kelly.
What goals do you set to achieve with your music? To make things we want to listen to and to survive from those things.
What's your process? How does it differ when the two of you play together rather than Keith alone? We provide counterpoint and different strengths. This results in songs, structure, and balance.
Do your styles differ and if they do how do you balance them? We are different people. Balance happens naturally. Or maybe it was the three years of only seeing the other person and knowing, hating and loving them fully.
You often say that you might leave the music business, what is it that keeps you coming back? Greed.
John McCauley of Deer Tick covered "L.I.E" for The Voice Project. After touring with them, it must feel great to have them cover your music. John's music is great. We are thankful to have friends we admire.
Can you talk a little about your rap alter ego—the idea of you rapping is vastly different from your albums. It all fits together. It's part of the picture.
Does practicing in churches have any effect on your music style or song writing? Jo has been a church organist since age sixteen. Your life experiences shape you. There is no swearing allowed in the church, which is different from other rehearsal spaces we had. It is quiet, and beautiful.
It seems that the majority of your songs are inspired by either falling in love or heartbreak; is there a person you have in mind when you write your music? Yes and no.
How long did More take you to record? We spent five days in a cottage outside of Manchester England recording
all the basic tracks at Analogue Catalogue. A little was recorded in the church we practice use in Flushing, and one track recorded in our friend Alex P's basement in Brooklyn (The Floods). So total recording time was not long at all. We wanted a live, natural sound for the record.
More is about half the length of Charades, did you feel like you had to cut anything out of this album? As you get older, it's nice to think that maybe you become more succinct. An old teacher of mine said he realized that as he got older, when he revises pieces he writes, he just takes things out. I like the idea of reducing things to their essence.
It seems that even though Shivers has gone through many changes both stylistically and at times has even been reduced to a one man show, the message of the band's lyrics have remained. Which style do you think translates your message the most accurately for listeners? All that matters is that people find something they connect to.
What are your plans for the upcoming months? Same old.