Interview
AM & Shawn Lee

WORDS and PHOTOS by TRAVIS GILLETT

AM & Shawn Lee are characters; fast-talking, curse-swearin’, and utterly awesome.  The first thing I noticed was Shawn Lee’s accent, an endearing drawl forged from his upbringing in Nashville combined with spending the last 18 years residing in Foggy-London-Town (read: “London”).  His accent is the definition of “Southern Gentleman.”   I was able to sit down with the band and prattle off random questions for the electro-soul duo while they enjoyed what I could only assume was a delicious meal (us journalistic types were relegated to complimentary coconut water only, life is hard) and played with various potted plants.  It was unforgettable.

How would you describe your music in 5 words or less?

Shawn Lee:  Some funky ass shit.  That’s five words.  Wait, that’s four.  That’s even better, less is more.

If your band was a movie, what section of Netflix would you be filed under?

AM:  Giallo.

In that movie, who would play you?

Shawn Lee:  Brad Pitt would play me, good lookin’ motherfucker.
AM:  Jack Nicholson, early ’70s version.

What is your favorite tiny thing?

SL:  That really short cute girl that I saw earlier.
AM:  Which one?  [Laughs]
SL:  The one with the short shorts!  …Hmm, my flat in London?  [Laughs]
AM:  Fingernail clippers.

And your favorite big thing?

AM:  I’m not going to answer that.
SL:  I think we’d both say our dicks…

If you had a fantasy record label and could sign any band, which bands would you sign?

SL:  I’d fuckin’ sign The Beatles straight away.  ‘Cause they’d make me a ton of money and they’re a great fuckin’ band.
AM:  I’d sign Selda [Bağcan], a Turkish artist.  She was persecuted when she was trying make music.

What is your favorite tour snack?  You just got done with tour right?

SL:  Lara bars!
AM:  Yeah, they really are.
SL:  The peanut butter cookie ones.

What is your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

SL:  My favorite thing on the weekend is not having to take my daughter to school [Laughs], I don’t have to set the alarm.
AM:  Tennis.

What was the first album you ever bought?

SL:  The first album I ever bought myself with the soundtrack to Shaft by Isaac Hayes.
AM:  I think it was Cyndi Lauper, Girl’s Just Want to Have Fun.
SL:  Great fuckin’ album!

What was the last concert you went to that really stuck with you?

AM:  Portishead.  That was in the ’90s.  It was one of the last amazing shows I’ve really seen.
SL:  The opening song from the Flaming Lips’ set was the best show I’ve seen.  The first song was more of a show than you’d see anyone else do in an entire set.  Entertaining as fuck.

What’s your power animal?

SL:  Great white tiger.  Apex predator, you know?  I’m the tiger because I’m a fuckin’ tiger.
AM:  Shark.  Because I look like a shark, check my profile.

What song would you want to play at your funeral?

SL:  I would like “Love Does Not Die” by The Free Design and “Leaving This Town” by The Beach Boys.
AM:  I really don’t know.  I can’t think of one.  Alright, you know what, fuck it, I’m picking my own song “Endings Are Beginnings.”
SL:  It’s your fuckin’ show!

What piece of musical gear would you never give up?

AM:  I would never give up this guitar.  It’s the first guitar I ever had, this Gibson.
SL:  I would never give up the bass I played with tonight.  The orange Greco, it’s Japanese.  You know, I’ve never seen one that looks like it, with the orange finish.

What’s next for Am & Shawn Lee?

AM:  Second album, next year.