- - Monday, July 10, 2017

Nothing gets people more excited than a hometown hero. It can be military personnel, a sports team or even a band who, when they return home after those victories — no matter how big or small — is met with raucous celebration. Such will be the case when SHAED, the electropop three-piece band from the District, returns Wednesday evening to play at the Rock & Roll Hotel.

Consisting of Spencer Ernst and Max Ernst on production, programming and backing vocals and powerhouse vocalist Chelsea Lee, the trio’s sound is a distinctively retro-tinged affair that would also fit right in with the stylings of Sia and Phantogram.

Ahead of their triumphant return to their hometown Wednesday, lead singer Miss Lee discusses the capital’s influence on their sound.

Question: How did the band come together?

Answer: I actually met Max and Spencer when were all in high school. We met at a show at the 9:30 Club when they were doing a different project. We became instant best friends. And we mutually knew a lot of people in the D.C. music scene. That scene definitely connected us. It’s really a supportive environment.

Q: What influence did being from D.C. have on your music?

A: Not sure about the city, but I grew up in a household that was all about ‘80s alternative music — not only in D.C. but right outside [the city] we have these great places to see show like Birchmere and Wolf Trap. Those venues feature older bands from the ‘80s and ‘70s. Growing up I was able to see bands like The B-52s at Wolf Trap. And I loved that.

There was also a lot of funk in D.C. when we were growing up. That was a big influence as well, especially for the guys.

Q: Since you grew up in a political town, is the band political at all?

A: We have actually tried to embrace the situation now. We wrote a song called “Thunder” when Bernie [Sanders] was kind of taking off in D.C., especially among our younger friends. The artist community in D.C. really sort of came together and supported Bernie. That is what “Thunder” is about: rising together and being vocal.

It can [also] be applied to now in this political climate.

Q: Since this show is a homecoming for you guys, is anything special planned?

A: We went on tour with Bishop Briggs a couple months ago, and we did not get to go through D.C., which was such a bummer. This time it is going to be amazing to be back in our hometown and be there with our friends and fans —people who have supported us through the years.

I don’t know about doing anything special. I think we’ll have to think about it. We’re defiantly so excited for that show.

Q: Besides home, where is the first place you go when you get into D.C.?

A: Probably to my favorite Mexican place, which is El Tio [Tex-Mex Grill in Northwest]. It’s the best Mexican food ever.

Q: Is there any pressure associated with working on the debut full-length album? 

A: Right now we are constantly writing. To be honest, I’m not sure if it will be an album or a bunch of singles and then an album. We’re still trying to figure that out.

No pressure — we’re just kind of writing. [There is] no planned release date. We do have a single called “Too Much” coming out in the middle of July that we just wrapped up.

Q: How has the band evolved since the EP?

A: We are becoming better musicians and becoming more creative. That leads to a natural evolution in our music. It’s still the same vibe.

Q: Why did you decide to cover The Weeknd’s “Starboy”?

A: We were doing a Spotify session, and they required one original and one cover. We kind of racked our brains as to what song to cover. We all love “Starboy.” We love The Weeknd’s whole new album. So it seemed natural to do a spin off that.

Q: Are there any artists out there you’re dying to work with?

A: The Weeknd would be incredible. We love Anderson .Paak. We love Active Child. There are lots of bands we would like to collaborate with.  

Q: How has the touring been going?

A: It’s been great. We’ve been out there doing a bunch of festivals, and it’s been fun.

Q: What is the one thing you need with you on the road?

A: A good book, I guess. Right now I am reading “All the Breaking Waves.” We love to read as a group as well.

It is nice to get in the routine of winding down after shows — or on off-days with a good book.

SHAED plays the Rock & Roll Hotel Wednesday. Tickets are $20 by going to Ticketfly.com.


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