The Shakamoto Investigation

Let’s be serious for a minute, try telling that to Leeds DIY punk sucka’s The Shakamoto Investigation.

Starting a band with your best mates can go two ways, you either piss around getting lashed on cheap German beer from Lidl, arguing about bread and end up naming your band after a Reeves and Mortimer sketch or you dedicate a lot of energy and time into creating a solid body of work with hooks that would make Blackbeard take note. They’ve done both and towed a loyal and respected following with them.

On the outside it can seem chaotic and unbalanced but that’s what they want you to think, never taking themselves too seriously, because if they did and it all went wrong they’d lose the casual attitude of what the band is about.

Loud, fast & fucked. That’s Shaka PR.

The trio is actually made up of unbelievable musicians with inner crafts that could fit into any established outfit, Ellis Smith (Lead guitar/vocals) who was an integral part of the sound of Barnsley’s anti austerity/anti establishment collective The Hurriers.

Sam Horton (bass/vocals) is one of the true spirits of creativity and a righteous soul who has his fingers in more pies than a Percy Turner filler on match days in S74, check out Regional Creeps & [retreat]. Jake Sainty (Drums) who is part of Black Pudding, one of the loudest and unforgettable live bands to come out of Leeds in recent years.

The main point we’re getting at here is to realise that if they wanted to, they have all the minerals to get serious and follow suit of PR laden, ego driven, superficial ‘punk’ bands that keep getting spewed out with no meaning or purpose. Why the fuck would you want more of that?

‘We’re living in a re-issue world, filching from the past like magpies with a tardis’Mark E Smith: Renegade

The band recently delivered one of the truest and fast records of this year in Existential Bread (released through EEasy Records, also pioneers of a DIY righteous spirit) selling out batches of vinyl bundles that included their own brew of hot sauce via the Chilli-Shop situated outside Leeds Merrion Centre.

Now working on their second record collaborating with Phil Booth (JT SOAR), another essential DIY art space dedicated to going against the grain.

The Shakamoto Investigation recently started back up their live stamp with mad raucous shows at Mabgate Bleach W/ Belk & other carnage blasting at Headrow House W/ Fuzz Lightyear. You certainly know when you’ve been hit with The Shakamoto stick if you’ve ever seen them live, fucking bonkers is too loose of a description.

Counterfeit Mag caught up with them to discuss bread, gigs and the Leeds DIY scene.

What musical influences contribute to the sound of the band?

Ellis: ‘We try to pull in as many influences as we can from all over the place. Our core sound is undoubtedly punk, while throwing in bits and bats from other genres like country, funk and riffy post-punk.

Bands like Meat Puppets, Gang of Four and Minutemen were absolute masters of blending punk with any other genre you can imagine, so I think for us it’s those kinds of bands that we draw the most influence from while keeping it a bit heavier and aggressive.’

How did it feel to finally get the record ‘existential bread’ released, and why did you choose ‘Easy Records’ as the output?

Sam: ‘Well we never expected it to make its way onto a record anyway, so it was a mint feeling for us all when Charlie asked us to do it with EEasy!

We’ve known Charlie and Thee MVPs for a good while now through gigging around Leeds, and Ed (bassist) mixed and produced two of our earlier singles!’

‘Punk’ has become a mainstream source for commercialised outfits in recent years; How do you feel about that? And what is your idea of punk?

Jake: ‘I don’t really care about the ‘mainstream’ to be honest. I don’t really class us as ‘punks’. We sound more punk than anything but I don’t like labels. I like everything, I like music. These mainstream post-punk bands at the minute will do well for now but when the trend changes they are going to be irrelevant. I want to be free of any ties, I want to be able to bring out a techno record and people still think, “Yeah that’s Shakamoto”.

To me that’s what punk is.

A freedom of choice and expression with no boundaries. we want to bring out a country record at some point and let me tell you, it’s going to be punk as fuck.’

There seems to be a real sense of community in the Leeds DIY scene, how important is that for you as a band?

Jake: ‘Yeah it’s definitely important to us. Most of our opportunities have come from the community. All our friends are a part of it as well. It’s a nice feeling. And I’m very proud of a lot of our friends that are doing really well. The north is taking over.’

With all the uncertainty in today’s world, it’s only right we get down to brass tacks. What’s your favourite bread?

Sam: ‘Warburtons Orange.’What’s next on the agenda for The Shakamoto Investigation?

Ellis: ‘First and foremost getting back gigging! After 18 months of doing jack shit it’s absolutely great to be back on stage shouting and sweating our arses off.

The silver lining of the pandemic was that we had so much time that we managed to write and record our second album which is just in the mixing process. It’s a real rager and we’re dead pleased with how it’s sounding.’