There is no real escape once the talent of creating music gets inside you. You can step away for years but when the opportunity returns music will pop up and demand your attention. This has happened again with our recent find Tash Hagz.
The Birmingham UK based multi-instrumentalist musician, aka Mike Shields, spent his teens and early 20s learning his skills throughout a stream of bands. This gave him the opportunity to explore folk, blues and progressive rock. Life got in the way and the 9 to 5 grind became his daily life pushing music to the side.
The death of his always supportive father inspired the birth of Tash Hagz and a resurgence in songwriting. This past Friday, September 4th he released a debut single to show for it in ‘Images Of Imogen’. The dark yet sweet tune is accompanied by a matching music video. The harrowing vocals of Tash Hagz are sung with such emotion that any listener can share in the feelings. The melancholy vibe takes over the speakers as sounds seem to come from all angles to fill the sonic landscape.
We had a chance to chat with the newly invigorated artist and learn more about his journey. Enjoy the interview here:
First off, what is the story behind the name Tash Hagz?
I was on a beach in Ibiza and it just came to me. It’s a unique word so I figured people interested could find me on the internet easily. It’s obviously a play on the word ‘HashTags’ which is something said all the time too! I grew a tash, and with the passage of time the more I’m starting to look like an old hag! A marriage made in heaven!
How would you describe your sound?
It’s primarily guitar-driven alt-rock, supported with keyboards and sometimes strings. ‘Chamber Pop’ is a label sometimes given to that sound. I like working with melodies, harmonies and interesting soundscapes too.
Which artists have had the biggest influence on you?
The Beatles, Dylan and Bowie are my biggest inspirations. As a teenager I discovered artists like Joni Mitchell, fell in love with Prog-Rock then found more underground bands like The Velvet Underground, Gang Of Four, Television. In the 90s, I was well into Brit-Pop and the alternative music scene.
After quite a while away, what drew you back to creating music?
After several years in various local bands in the late 80s and early 90s, I became disillusioned with the scene and put my energy into my career. But before long my yearnings for songwriting came back. In a way I never really went away – it’s just taken quite some time to get my production and arrangement skills up to par that I felt willing to share my music again finally!
How does a song come together for you? What is your songwriting process?
Most ideas formulate in my mind – often when asleep – and I have to record the melody or lyrics into my phone as soon as I wake up. I’ll then work with the idea on the piano or guitar until I get more definition and vision for the track. Some are songs, some are little classical pieces, some are jazz ballads. I’ve never set parameters as to style, although I’ve kept to an alt-rock style with the ten recordings I’ve completed professionally for my debut album with Idan Altman, a fantastic producer based in Holland.
Tell us about your brand new single (and music video) for ‘Images Of Imogen”.
Of the ten tracks, this one consistently got the biggest thumbs up from those that I played the tracks to – though it’s not my favourite! Inspired by a famous footballer in the UK and his secret affair with a glamour model, I developed it over a number of years and it crystalised into a finished piece once I started collaborating with Idan. I filmed and directed the video myself and tried to keep a low-fi dark vibe to it, to complement the haunting dark nature of the song.
How do you hope to connect with the listener through your music?
I hope that each song creates an emotional connection with those that dig this type of stuff. It’s real, authentic music, written by one person who has played most of the instruments too. It’s personal and real and I hope some people can see themselves in the tracks.
Give us a look at the future for Tash Hagz?
We’ll have the full album drop next year after we’ve released a bunch more singles, built up more social media following and then finish work on the 2nd album which is probably 50% in the can already!
Keep up with more from Tash Hagz HERE.