Photo courtesy David Zand

Realizing the vision: An interview with The Sylvia Platters

By David Stewart, October 19 2018 —

On Oct. 19 the shoegazing, power-pop band The Sylvia Platters will release their new split 12-inch LP with Stephen Carl O’Shea of You Say Party. Shadow Steps, their collaboration, furthers the artistic endeavors of Abbotsford-based musicians through promotion and release by the city’s community radio station, CIVL-FM.

“The most enjoyable aspect of this album is feeling like I’m realizing the vision I’ve had since 2002,” O’Shea says. “In terms of other albums I’ve created, this one was very hands-on. The sound and feel of the music in my past work has been more influenced by a group of people, but on this one I had the opportunity to create my own personal sound.”

This personal touch is evident in O’Shea’s side of the album with songs such as “World of Tears,” an ethereal cloud of self-realization and sobering reality that gives the listener an eerie sense of calm.

O’Shea states his original inspiration came from “making others want to dance,” but now he is more focused on “creating music that interprets different complex emotions that he feels needs representation through music.”

“For us the most enjoyable aspect of this album was the different ideas and sounds we were able to create,” says Nick Ubels, guitarist for The Sylvia Platters. 

For Nick and Tim Ubels, family has always played a large part in musical creation, starting with their dad.

“He was always playing ‘60s and ‘70s pop and R&B and explaining to us how these songs work and how they were structured,” says Tim. “Not only did we hear and enjoy the music on an emotional level, he helped us see the music as a structure and how that structure was built.”

The influence of ‘60s and ‘70s pop is heard on The Sylvia Platters’ side of Shadow Steps. Songs such as “Blockhead” use a classic combination of thumping bass guitar, heavily distorted electric guitar and driving drum kit with lilting vocals that builds a sense of excited discontent.

“One of the most influential aspects of this album was the addition of our new producer, Felix Fung,” Nick says. “He was able to work with our music in ways we never even thought of and create a great sound from it.”

You can catch The Sylvia Platters and Stephen Carl O’Shea touring throughout Canada this coming November. You can Stream Shadow Steps below.

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