Early last year, the future looked bleak for dream pop duo Keep Shelly in Athens. Vocalist Sarah P announced her departure from the group, leaving producer/composer RΠЯ all alone with no voice to lead the band he’d started four years earlier. But not long after Sarah P launched her career as Fina Fisken, RΠЯ found Myrtha, a mysterious vocalist who was a perfect match for KSIA’s aesthetic. She was quickly brought into the fold, and just like that, the band was back.
Revitalized and renewed, KSIA are set to release their second album, Now I’m Ready, on October 16th via Friends of Friends. Despite the lineup change, the new material is remarkably consistent with the band’s previous work. Myrtha’s ethereal voice flows brilliantly over RΠЯ’s lush production on tracks like “Fractals” and the title-track, with each song flowing effortlessly into the next. Though the team behind it may be slightly different, Now I’m Ready proves that Keep Shelly in Athens haven’t lost a step and is still at the forefront of the dream pop genre.
Stream the new LP in full below.
Now I’m Ready Tracklist:
02. Silent Rain
03. Now I’m Ready (feat. Ocean Hope)
04. Line 4 (Orange)
06. Hollow Man
To find out more about Now I’m Ready and the future of Keep Shelly in Athens, we chatted with RΠЯ himself. He talked about the addition of Myrtha, the loss of Sarah P, and what exactly keeps Shelly in Athens.
CoS: After Sarah P announced her departure from Keep Shelly in Athens, was there ever any talk about continuing on under a different name? Why did you decide to keep going with KSIA?
RΠЯ: Keep Shelly in Athens were active before Sarah P joined the band (when I uploaded the first tracks like “Cremona Memories” and “Fokionos Negri Street” back in 2010), so there wasn’t ever any thought of going with another name.
The band’s new singer Myrtha has a magnetic voice that suits the hazy, moody production well. Aside from a new set of pipes, what else would you say she brings to the table — not just for the band in general, but for Now I’m Ready?
Indeed. When I first listened to her voice, I was immediately captured by her seductive way of doing her vocals. She is also a nice person and has the ability to adapt to a wide spectrum of genres. To our new album, Now I’m Ready, she brought her freshness, her passion for music and her unique way of singing.
How exactly was Myrtha brought into the fold? Where was she discovered, and how did the decision to bring her on come about?
When we searched for a new singer a common friend introduced me to Myrtha. We had a little conversation and a short audition. When she sang some of our older stuff, I knew that my search was over.
At Home, which was released back in 2013, marked Keep Shelly in Athens’ official debut album. What would you say sets Now I’m Ready apart from its predecessor? Any lessons learned during the recording process for At Home that you then took into the studio this time around?
Well, this time we tried to deliver a more “compact” album. In retrospect, I think At Home had more tracks than it should have. My opinion is that Now I’m Ready has all the elements I wanted to include, but at the same time I feel that it gives also the sense of a complete album despite its shorter length.
Oftentimes, after a number of years in the business, it’s not uncommon to see acts relocate from its hometown to places like London, New York, or Los Angeles. Keep Shelly in Athens is still based in Athens, though. Pun fully intended, but what keeps the band in Athens? How much does the city influence your music?
We were born and raised in Athens and we definitely love our city. Our intention from the beginning was to have our base in Athens, but to also have an audience outside Greece and to try to communicate with them via our live shows around the world. We knew, though, that this kind of music never had a chance of wider acceptance in our homeland.
Also, the fact that we are from working class families made our will to stay here a really difficult task. The support for a band like ours is really weak in Greece and the whole economic crisis just made things even worse. So to be honest we really don’t know how long we will manage to stay here. But even if we don’t, we’re still going to make some tunes for ourselves and of course for the fans as well.