ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Shamewave

Cactus Club hosted Milwaukee’s Shamewave and Winnepeg’s noise punk trio Tunic on Friday night.

Shamewave is fronted by Cody Ratley; Nicci Halverson plays guitar and synth, Peter Stanislawski also plays guitar, Ben Wittlinger plays bass, and Matt Weinberger plays drums. Jacob Hornak and Sahan Jayasuriya have played in the band as well. Their sound encompasses shoegaze, grunge, ambient, and alternative rock.

“There’s Shamewave rock songs and Shamewave shoegaze songs,” Ratley said. “I don’t want people to get used to what they think Shamewave sounds like. These are my longtime friends; I’ve known them forever and I’m so grateful they’re willing to play these songs with me.”

He shares how the project started.

“In 2014 I had come down from a touring band called Villians; we toured for three years straight, and I’d been listening to shoegaze-adjacent music for a while. I got in trouble for weed and quit the band…laid low…started an apprenticeship…and just started writing songs, and this was in 2015. It took like four years to really solidify these songs, and then I started recording them and finally got it done in March 2020. I released it March 13th – literally the week of quarantine. Me and Jacob played three shows as a two-piece at the time.”

Shamewave’s last solo EP “Heaven” came out in February 2021, and then they did a split with Bleached Cross last June. Ratley explained, “The “Heaven” EP had three songs; it’s two originals and a Cheap Trick cover. I had done a live performance recording of Frail Body – who’s on Deathwish Records – in my practice space. I asked them if they wanted to do the split and they said that they’re starting a new band called Bleached Cross, which is all the members of Frail Body plus two more guys who are the writers. They came up on a January weekend and we huddled together and they knocked out their two songs. I dragged my feet for so long to finish my songs while mixing their songs, but I’m a lot more efficient now and disciplined when I’m working with other bands.”

Shamewave is now working on a full-length album.

Ratley continued, “I wrote all the songs in 2020. Over the pandemic I had this crazy writing burst that I took as a way to not be depressed, so I wrote a ton of music. Honestly, I was starting and finishing songs and recording them in three to four hours. I demoed out fifteen or sixteen songs and we’ve got like thirteen in the works right now. I still might cut a couple, but we’ve got the drums tracked and now we’ve got two months until our next show so I’m going to try to get all the guitars done. I’m aiming to get the singles mixed by Brad Wood, who’s done the Pixies, “Adore” by The Smashing Pumpkins, Balance and Composure, and lots of other cool stuff.”

Shamewave are playing a stripped-down set at JJ’s on July 10th, a house show in Madison with Glowing Tide on July 22nd, and Cactus Club again on July 30th.

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