A Chat with Galaxy Shores (05.03.22)

The brainchild of singer-songwriter Josh Herren, Galaxy Shores shares a unique psychedelic pop/indie-rock sound with the masses. We speak with the US-based artist about his self-titled EP, creative processes, future plans and worst personality characteristics.

OSR: What drew you to music?

Galaxy Shores: Even though I only just now started making music of my own, I’ve always had a connection to it. From a young age, my dad showed me a lot of classic rock and I discovered many other genres on my own as I got older, so I grew up listening to a lot of different kinds of music. I also was a part of various worship bands and choirs all through school. I’ve been singing and playing instruments for almost my whole life, but I never had the courage to really pursue making music until the initial Covid quarantine came along. Once I found myself with nowhere to go and nothing to do, I knew I had to get something out of that time of isolation and I figured I owed it to myself to at least give it a shot.

OSR: Is there a backstory to the EP Galaxy Shores?

Galaxy Shores: The EP wasn’t necessarily inspired by one specific event, it’s more of a collection of sonic journal entries. Some songs are based on things I was feeling at that moment in time, like emotions surrounding the feeling of life standing still during quarantine. Others are based on things I’ve felt in other seasons of life and just never really had the chance to write about it.

OSR: Did you face any challenges when writing and recording the EP?

Galaxy Shores: My main challenge was the fact that I’d never recorded music before, so I really had to learn everything from scratch. I had recently bought Ableton and a midi controller during my last year of college and been messing around a little, but once I decided to take it seriously I had to learn the entire process from recording to mixing and mastering. There was so much to learn and on top of it all, I’d never had to write lyrics or figure out the structure of a song. I really just took everything one step at a time and used friends around me and a lot of YouTube videos to figure things out as I went along.

OSR: What do you hope people take from Galaxy Shores?

Galaxy Shores: I really hope people can feel a sense of escape. My favourite songs are ones that take me into their own world, so I want to create music that can make people feel like they’re somewhere else. Music has brought me so much joy and gotten me through many seasons of life, both good and bad, and I just hope to pass that joy on to others. If someone can feel lifted away from the mundane or problems of life, feel like they can relate to the lyrics or stories of the songs, or just close their eyes and get lost in the sounds and melodies then that’s all I can ask for. God has blessed me with the ability to create and I just want to bless others in return.

OSR: What is your creative process?

Galaxy Shores: I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have one specific process. I don’t really know music theory, so a lot of what I do is based on feel. I might hear a chorus or verse of a song in my head and build from there, I might start with a guitar or synth progression that I like, and sometimes I’ll hear a sound that I like so much that it inspires the rest of a song. Often I’ll record part of a song and just experiment until I find the rest. For me, it doesn’t matter how the song is structured as long as it captures the overall feeling that originally inspired it.

OSR: Which is more challenging: melody or lyrics?

Galaxy Shores: I would definitely say lyrics are more challenging. I constantly have melodies floating around in my head so it’s easy to find some that I like, but for me, the difficult part becomes properly putting my thoughts down in a succinct way. My mind is really active, so it’s sometimes difficult for me to boil ideas and emotions down in a way that I like, at least at first. I mostly record instrumentals in their entirety and then begin writing after they are done, and sometimes it takes a few passes before I’m happy with the lyrical structure of a song. 

Image credit: Josiah Herren

OSR: If you could change anything about the EP, what would it be and why?

Galaxy Shores: If I could change anything, I think I would just want the production to be more lush and just smoother overall. I love all the sounds I have in there, but it was the first time I ever mixed and mastered anything, so where other people might just hear the songs normally I hear all the imperfections or sounds I wish were warmer. I also want to continue to learn how to track instruments better, especially drums. On the next project, one of my main goals is a more refined drum sound and a more cohesive sound overall. I don’t want the songs to sound like some were recorded way before others, I want them all to have a consistent sound to them.

OSR: What is your worst personality characteristic?

Galaxy Shores: My mind is extremely quick and active, and sometimes gets a little ahead of me, which can cause me to overthink things both in life and in music. While making the EP, I often found myself agonising over small sounds and mix details, and while it can lead to a very specific vision, it can sometimes cause the production to sound emptier than intended with too much tinkering and stressing.

OSR: If your life had a theme song, what would the song be?

Galaxy Shores: In this season of my life, I’d have to say it’s ‘Music To Walk Home By’ by Tame Impala. There’s so much about the lyrics and theme of that song that resonates with me, and it also has insane instrumentation which makes it that much more fun to listen to.

OSR: Do you have future plans as Galaxy Shores?

Galaxy Shores: Absolutely. This is the most fun I’ve ever had and now that I’m on this journey I never want to stop. The first LP from Galaxy Shores is already being recorded and we are planning on playing our first live shows this summer along with releasing merch. It means a lot that people enjoy the music and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Many thanks to Josh Herren for speaking with us. For more from Galaxy Shores check out his Facebook, Instagram and Spotify.

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