Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to interview Rachelle Adrian, the lovely and talented front woman, and songwriter for Shell. With a pop rock sound out of Hollywood, California, the band, comprised of Rachelle-vocals/guitar, Michael O’Grady-lead guitar, Tyler DeCastro-drums, and Sawami-backing vocals, goes from sweet and vulnerable tunes to aggressive rockers at the drop of a hat. Rachelle writes what she knows, and has lived every word of these songs. You can read it in the lyrics and hear it in her delivery, she’s an old soul, with a wisdom beyond her years. I found her to be a very engaging person, and a real joy to speak to. Rather than do a conventional interview, I tried something a little different with this one. I hope you guys like how it turned out.
Amps: So Rachelle, I thought we’d begin with the songs. If you would, tell us a little about each one, ok? Let’s start with “Anything”.
Rachelle: This was written after a breakup. I was obviously angry. It has an aggressive tone, that really makes it rock. My friend thought the CD was skipping on the “Don’t you hate that…” part of the song (laughing). The auto-tuning elements were added to see how we could do with a rock song. The whole song actually was auto-tuned, but I didn’t like that, so I scaled it back to just those certain parts, and it really worked.
Amps: And “Falling”?
Rachelle: This is about someone who was playing hard to get. Kind of like that catch and release sort of thing, where you try to get someone to fall in love with you, and it wasn’t happening. So it was kind of like a “Pleeease..” (laughing).
Amps: Talk to me about what went into the writing of “Running”.
Rachelle: This is something that took years of experiences to write. I mean it all came out at once, like the others, but it took me exactly how long it is to write it. This one was addressed to a particular person and it was where I want this person to accept me for who I am, but at the same time, do they need to know everything about me that happened in the past? Or should I just have kind of a clean slate and start over, and not think about it so much? That kind of a question. And the answer was that maybe I don’t need to let my past affect me, and that not revealing so much is not important, because I’m not the person I used to be.
(I mention that it’s my favorite song on the EP)
Rachelle: It’s funny because I didn’t really like it at first, it doesn’t rock, it’s not super-catchy. It’s more sweet and innocent-sounding, not my normal style. When I do shows, it’s all about loud rock music, and rocking out, but because my producer thought it was so good, I chose to record it. In fact, his wife does ballet and other types of dance,and I think she might be using it in a routine with her new class, so that’s pretty cool. I’d love to see that.
Amps: Now with “Face the World Alone”, this one seems like it came out of a bad situation. Is that fair to say?
Rachelle: It was one of those “Omigod, I give up” kind of songs. It’s about the same guy who’s in “Anything” and I was just kind of waking up, and thinking and feeling kind of depressed and down, and I said, “You know what? I’m NOT gonna let myself be depressed. I’m gonna write a song, and I’m gonna get over it!”. So, I got up, and I knew that the only person who could make me not feel this way is me, and that’s basically what the song is saying.
Amps: The music, lyrically and musically, sounds like something that would resonate with anyone, regardless of musical taste. Was that a conscious effort to set out to do something that wouldn’t be pigeonholed, or you just went for it, and whatever happened happened?
Rachelle: Well, I felt like there is kind of a conflict in the way I write. I can write good soft songs, but I can also write faster rock songs, but I just felt like I’m gonna put it all out there. Friends have told me that it’s up to the listener whether a song is worth listening to, it’s not up to me to decide necessarily, but it’s my responsibility to make sure they get that chance.
Amps: You’ve mentioned that you work a lot to help finance your music. When you’re not working a zillion different jobs, what do you do to unwind?
Rachelle: I like to go dancing, salsa dancing, and I go out and do karaoke and meet new people. I enjoy going out for a drink with my friends, and having a good time. I also love going to the beach, I go surfing. I’m not super-great at it, but it’s fun, I love the ocean. I also really love Netflix! What I’ll do is pick a show, and then I’ll do a marathon that lasts a month. I’ve binged on different shows on Netflix.
Amps: What shows do you watch?
Rachelle: I like Weeds. I can relate to the main character in that she’s very curious about everything, and wants to know how that side of the world works. I’ve always been like that, curious about how other people are living. That’s kind of why I like my job in massage therapy, I get to go to different people’s houses and see how they live, because everybody’s so different. You only get to live one life, but if you get to see other people’s lives, it’s like you got to experience more. I also love South Park and Family Guy.
Amps: What are some of your favorite places to play?
Rachelle: I used to love the Cat Club in West Hollywood, but that’s now an Irish Pub. Can’t play there anymore! (laughs). We’ve played in Maui. My mom lives in Hawaii, so we really have a good time playing there. It’s great meeting people from all different countries. Our first time there we met some Welsh guys, and I really couldn’t understand them with their accents. But they were really nice, and helped us move all our equipment, and I never even got to say goodbye to them, they just disappeared. Definitely my favorite place.
Amps: Favorite movie? Don’t think, just answer. Go!
Rachelle: Magnolia, because it’s so interesting, and weird. I also love Aimee Mann, and her music’s in it. That would be so cool, to jam with her.
Amps: Who are listening to these days?
Rachelle: I like Cage the Elephant, Muse, and I’m listening to a lot of older stuff,like Queensryche. I think we’re gonna cover “Jet City Woman” at our next show. I LOVE that song! I feel like I’M Jet City Woman when I hear it, and I love dancing to it. We’re gonna do “White Wedding” from Billy Idol, too, so that should be fun!
Amps: Well, thank you so much for taking the time out to speak with me, Rachelle. It’s been an absolute pleasure, and I hope we can do this again.
Rachelle: Yeah, definitely! Keep in touch!