Keep Shelly in Athens: Bringing it All Back Home | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Keep Shelly in Athens

Bringing it All Back Home

Sep 16, 2013 Keep Shelly in Athens Bookmark and Share

“I’m a drama queen,” says Keep Shelly in Athens vocalist Sarah P. “I hail from Greece, the country that gave birth to tragedy. It runs in my veins. I’m trying not to give a hard time to other people. I’m trying my best!”

It’s a joke, one punctured by fits of nervous laughter. But given the Greek singer’s recent musical output, it’s hard not to see a grain of truth in the statement—even if it is delivered with soft-spoken charm. After three years’ worth of twelve-inches and EPs, Sarah and enigmatically named producer RΠЯ recently released their first full-length under the Keep Shelly in Athens name. Recorded in their home studio in Athens, Greece, At Home is hazy mix of electronic dreamscapes and abrasive early ’90s trip-hop production, Sarah playing the role of both the breathy ingénue and bitter goddess.

“It’s not always butterflies,” Sarah says, mulling over the release’s melancholy-laced tone. “Although I love butterflies. It’s okay to feel some rage at some point. It’s fine, it’s natural. It happens to everyone. I have embraced that side too.”

For Sarah, making At Home meant delving deeply into those conflicting emotions. The band started writing the release in early 2011 after extensively touring the United States and Europe for two months. Although she enjoyed her time abroad, she also admits it was a lonely period which took some adjusting to. She points to “Room 14 (I’m Fine)” as the most acute example of her homesickness.

“That’s about me, talking to my closest beloved ones when I’m away from home,” she recalls. “Everything is fine. But it’s those moments where you’re trying to tell your beloved ones that you’re totally fine and things are under control, even though it’s not. There’s a moment when you’re crying, but you don’t want to sound pathetic.”

Back in Athens, the pair worked on the album for over a year. Buffeted by a series of personal crises, Sarah says she can now look back at the lyrics of At Home as a personal diary of sorts, documenting the moment in her life when she finally grew up.

“You don’t grow up when you get to your eighteenth birthday,” she muses. “For some people it happens at sixteen. For other people it happens at twenty-three. That’s when it happened to me. This album, it started from somewhere, and it ends back at the start. Maybe our faces and places have changed through that journey. But it felt like a circle. I can remember every moment that I got down to write every single song. It is full of memories. Maybe some of those memories belong to the past. It’s not something that I feel is really close to me right now. I’ve been there, but I’m not at that state of mind right now.”

Preparing for another tour, Sarah says that this time, she’s actually excited to leave home. To ease the transition, she’s bringing along a few good luck charms. She toys with her jewelry; two moonstone rings that represent a link to her loved ones.

“This time, I’m going to be totally open to new experiences,” she says. “I wear all the time my lucky rings. A really good family friend gave it to me and told me that it might change my luck. It did, I think.”

Although, for all her excitement at what the future may hold, Sarah can also vividly picture what her homecoming might look like.

“Chatting with my mother,” she says, setting the scene. “Having a nice meal with her homemade food, and then just chatting about everything and anything that happened. And then I get to bed. I’m so tired. It feels like home, after it all.”


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