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‘Pretty unbelievable’ – Sooke rockers Shale breaking out with debut single

To The Ground has been streamed more than 4,000 times in five days
Sooke alternative rock band Shale has released its first single – To The Ground – which saw more than 4,000 streams in five days. (Contributed - Serena Haley Photography)

A Sooke alternative rock band is shooting for the stars, and if the release of their first single is any indication, they may make it.

On Jan. 14, Shale released its first single – To The Ground – and five days later, it has more than 4,000 streams across various music platforms.

“It’s pretty unbelievable. It’s been more successful than we could have imagined,” said frontwoman Kiarra O’Connor. “I would say out of all of our music. It is the most mainstream. It follows a pretty normal pattern, and it is a little more pop sounding.”

Shale got its start in 2019 when drummer Michael Voytash and keyboardist Rowan Hensley served as theatre technicians at Edward Milne Community School for a production of Grease and were impressed by O’Connor’s leading lady performance of Sandy.

”They reached out to me, and we got together and jammed,” O’Connor said. “I knew our guitarist Adam Baines since we have been friends since middle school and grew up in East Sooke together, so I invited him to the band. Then, later on, we brought on Breanna Montague as our bassist. She was our only fan at one point. She got to know our music, then she ended up joining the band, so it was a perfect combination.”

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Just months after they started playing together, O’Connor said they recorded their first EP – Wither – and spent the summer and fall producing lyric and music videos for each of the record’s three songs.

Every two weeks, O’Connor said the band plans on releasing a part of the EP’s content, whether that will be a new song for streaming or a video. They plan to publish behind-the-scenes content on their social media platforms in between releases.

As a band based in a small, somewhat isolated community, O’Connor said they are paying close attention to their social media pages and the content they post on them. She said that’s key for any band looking to make it big. They have taken inspiration from the teachings of Vancouver Island podcast Your Band Sucks (At Business) and the social media-driven rise of Victoria’s heavy metal band Spiritbox.

Describing the band’s sound as “polished alternative rock with a vintage twist,” O’Connor said in many ways they don’t fit in with the “messy” expectations many people have when they think of alt-rock. She said this likely stems from each members’ academic and classical leanings.

The band spends a significant amount of time obsessing over every lyric and note, right down to the most trivial of details, such as how to capitalize each song title.

“We all have very individual tastes in music, which I find makes us super unique in our sound,” O’Connor said. “I am really into grunge and kind of old-school heavier stuff. Our guitarist is like the biggest John Mayer fan ever. Our keyboardist is classically trained and only listens to live music, our drummer loves Taylor Swift and anything popular, and our bassist is super into everything. You can play a song for five seconds, and she will be able to tell you its name.

With their first single out and proving popular, Shale is gearing up for live shows in the summer – COVID permitting – and has already started working on their next EP.

To check out their new single and watch their upcoming music, visit Shale’s Instagram @Shale_Music or Facebook @WeAreShale.

READ MORE: Vancouver Island singer Lauren Spencer-Smith tops iTunes chart with new single


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Justin Samanski-Langille

About the Author: Justin Samanski-Langille

I moved coast-to-coast to discover and share the stories of the West Shore, joining Black Press in 2021 after four years as a reporter in New Brunswick.
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