Silent Radio’s Jon-Paul Berry conducts a socially distanced interview with Shallow Waters’ Martyn Abbott and Chris Pearson.

It all began in a seedy Amsterdam hostel located on the cusp of the bustling red-light district in 2017. I found myself under the influence of substances I would rather not discuss; sat gawking out of the cobwebbed casement-style windows pondering when my stupor would end. In the background of my pandemonium, thanks to a Spotify algorithm, a psychotropic tsunami of face-melting hippie-grunge engulfed the room. I was submerged in a synesthetic experience I can’t rationally explain.  It was Shallow Waters, and I’ll always remember them as the band that made me feel the colour red.

Since my alarmingly uncultured visit to the city of sin Shallow Waters have only got better. Self-proclaimed as ‘raw-dogging’ the music scene, they’ve toured the north and released a handful of singles and EPs. Since their formation in 2015, the three-piece have become an elusive group. There’s a chance you might see them ambling around Manchester’s hip Northern Quarter. They’re regular performers at venues such as The Peer Hat and Night & Day Café. I’ve been lucky enough to catch a few of their better gigs and even score an interview.

Shallow Waters are fronted by 26-year-old Martyn Abbott. Tall in stature, he sits before me with his arms spread over the backrest. He is dangerously laid back – his unkempt beard, medium-length hair, and dress sense all scream maverick. I’m sensing a Kurt Cobain vibe, artistic, reticent, and often engrossed in other thoughts. Arrayed like a contemporary bohemian, Martyn likes to be esoteric in his words – one of his many personality traits. Perched next to him is bassist Chris Pearson. Chris is leant forward with his long hair drooped in front of his face. He is reserved and happy to let Martyn handle the interview while casually nodding along. The two of them together unleash a calmness on the room, akin to a summer breeze whispering its way through tall oak trees. Friends since their early teenage years, Martyn and Chris are both situated on the same zen wavelength; the outcome? Shallow Waters.

Ambition lies within the heart of the trio. “We care about being recognised for what we do. We want people to realise how unique our music is”, Martyn asserts in a brooding tone. When it comes to future achievements Martyn likes to mix that ambition with a hint of pragmatism. He nonchalantly states “Our goal right now is getting to the level where we travel and take our sound to new places”.

Believe it or not, coincidentally, the band and I hail from the same drab underfunded northern town – Wigan. Now, I know what you’re thinking. A Wigan writer, hyping up a Wigan band. This could be perceived by many as biased. In defiance of this, I, like Martyn and the rest of his band, don’t really cater to scene theory. “I think people get too hung up on where bands come from. It’s great to romanticise the 90s Manchester scene or the grunge scene in Seattle. Today’s music scene is so broad because of the internet, so it has become irrelevant. Any fucking idiot with a laptop can make music now”. He says in his thick northern brogue.

Shallow Waters truly are a vibrant mixture of genres. Psychedelia, grunge, nu-metal, the list is continuous depending on your opinion. By this fact you can imagine that the musical inspirations behind the band are vast. However, Martyn likes to pinpoint one inspiration, “The Verve are the biggest inspiration for me. Not only musically but they showed that it doesn’t matter where you’re from. As long as you make banging music people will take notice”.

Spirituality is a driving force behind Shallow Waters. “We’re all into mindfulness and meditation. Consciousness-expanding experiences help us with the music. We like imagery and seeing the music as well as hearing the music. It’s more than just what it makes you feel”. Martyn states with a secluded glare in his eyes. Shallow Waters are undoubtedly kaleidoscopic. Their music is like a sea of polychrome syrup, capable of inducing tarantism without warning.

Inherently inspired by Mother Nature, Martyn finds himself spending a lot of time surrounded by trees and greenery. “In my free time, I like to be out in nature. Walking through forests and taking it all in, grabbing inspiration from the environment”. The band have previously been outspoken when it comes to environmentalism and vegetarianism. “It started about three years ago. We decided to educate ourselves on the meat industry and the poor treatment of animals. They’re destined for a life of suffering in the conditions imposed on them. Since then, we’ve made the decision not to be a benefactor to such a cruel industry”. Chris astutely adds.

If the boredom of the Covid-19 crisis has become too much and you’re looking for something unique and exciting, expand your palate and try Shallow Waters. The powerful infusion of grunge and psychedelia soaked with globules of metal will tickle the fancy of any hard rocker (or trip taker). We need to support our small local bands trying to make their way in the capitalist hellhole in which we call the music industry. Now is the time to pay attention to the little fish.

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Shallow Waters’ music is available on all good (and bad) streaming platforms.