In the year 2004, the British have finally discovered a sound
that speaks to American audiences. Bands are now aiming for melody
rather than guitar riffs and the result is some of the best
songwriting the U.K. has produced since the Brit-Pop years. The
London-based trio South, however, has managed to establish a name
for itself in this thriving music scene.

Mira Levitan

Comprised of Joel Cadbury (lead vocals, bass and guitar), Jamie
McDonald (lead guitar, vocals and drums) and Brett Shaw (drums),
South is focused on creating great music regardless of its
commercial potential. When asked about the ultimate goal of his
band, Shaw seemed hesitant to look beyond the group’s current
situation. “We don’t want world domination or anything
like that, we just enjoy entertaining ourselves and
others.”

The band was discovered in 1999 by James Lavelle of the band
U.N.K.L.E.; who signed the boys to his record label, MoWax
Recordings. Lavelle was taking a chance by signing a rock band to
his mainly electronic label, but South proved to be a versatile and
unique talent that contributed greatly to the MoWax roster. With
Lavelle signed on as co-producer, the band recorded their first
studio album, From Here On In. Shaw describes the album as a
“sprawling 70 minutes of songs” and despite its length,
he is proud of the versatility that was displayed in the
group’s first release.

In 2000, South was given the honor of composing the soundtrack
for Jonathan Glazer’s Oscar- nominated film debut,
“Sexy Beast.” Shaw felt that the band always had a
visual quality to its music and the score seemed to be a perfect
fit for its sound. “It was great fun actually, something we
all really enjoyed,” he said. “It was a different way
of thinking about music and song structures … not just
verse/chorus verse/chorus … you get more of a free range to
do what you like when you involve visuals.”

The band’s new album, With the Tides, is decidedly
more song-based and focused. South has trimmed off the excess music
from their debut and streamlined their tracks into a more compact
three -to four-minute span. The album was recorded after three
grueling years on the road, but the stress of touring only served
to fuel the group’s desire. “With this album, I
don’t think we want to tour as much,” Shaw quipped.
“So we’ll have to get the next album out a lot
quicker.”

South is currently in the middle of their first U.S. headlining
tour and Shaw feels confident in the concerts they’ve played.
“We’ve been here for about a week now and the gigs have
been going really well, we’ve been playing great venues and
getting great reactions, it’s been really fun,” added
Shaw. South will be playing tonight at the Magic Stick in
Detroit.

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