Shane Fritsch grew up in the small town of Kempsey on the Mid-North Coast and is now living his dream playing music. We catch up with Shane before his next two local performances at the Riverview Tavern and ‘A Day on the Green.’
> You grew up in Kempsey what did you enjoy most about the Mid North Coast?
I liked the laid back lifestyle. Kempsey was a great place to grow up, I had plenty of friends, played sport and played music. There are a lot of talented people from Kempsey and the Macleay valley. The support I have received from my home town has been awesome, I can’t believe people are so into my record, it is great. The numbers at live shows are increasing with each gig and the word is spreading.
> Growing up you listened to artists such as The Eagles, Cat Stevens, Jimmy Buffet etc. Has this been an influence on your style of music?
Yes it has. I liked those artists because the emphasis was on song writing and the message, you could really hear the heart and soul in the music, the songs were not technically brilliant, they just were real. My father used to listen to records every afternoon when he got home from work and he used to listen with headphones on but he turned it up that loud that I could hear every song he was listening to perfectly. After a while I grew to enjoy the bands whether I liked it or not because I heard them so much. I guess their style has rubbed off on me a bit. I try to be as honest as possible when I write a song.
> There’s an interesting story behind getting your first guitar?
I built my first guitar in a Year 10 woodwork class. I wanted to switch from playing drums to playing guitar so I told my parents I wanted a guitar, this was after they just spent a lot of money on a drum kit. They said ‘no’ and hoped I would forget about it. But I didn’t and after weeks of pleading with them I got the idea of building a guitar in woodwork class. My parents would do anything if it was for my education so I got away with it. So I ordered all the parts and carved out the body and my first guitar was born. I played that guitar for a few years and then I bought an acoustic guitar.
> When did you start to play music?
I starting playing drums when I was about 12 or so. A friend of mine played, and I used to go to his house and he would show me how to play simple beats. His brother played guitar and he would show me some chords and it started from there. I play a few different instruments which really helps with song writing because sometimes you are in the mood for a different instrument depending on the way you are feeling at the time. Piano is the instrument I tend to play most at the moment although there is only one piano song on my album, my next album will have more piano I hope.
> Your earlier music was more rock compared to your more recent acoustic style, what was it that made you switch styles?
I think I just grew up and wanted to go in a different direction, I just didn’t feel as passionate about that style of music anymore. It is funny with rock music, when I was young I saw people start to get older and go more mellow with the music they listen to. I always swore that would never happen to me but five years on and with two children and a different lifestyle it happened to me as well. But I am glad it happened, I am definitely playing the music I am meant to be playing.
> You have worked with producers such as Mark Optiz and Tim Whitten, what have you learnt from working with these experienced people?
Mark Optitz has taught me a lot about the industry and to follow my heart. One piece of advice he gave me was that if I didn’t absolutely love my songs or album nobody else would, and also not sacrifice the vibe of the song chasing a certain sound quality or production quality, because the song must keep its soul. And I think that is true. You can record a song in the studio with massive production but if you can’t play that song with an acoustic guitar and vocals with it sounding just as good the song isn’t strong enough. My new producer Trent Dobson who recorded my album is great also. We are on the same wavelength when it comes to music. Often we would be in the studio working on a song and I would hear something that needs to be changed and would ask him to change it, only to find out he is already doing it. My album would not be where it is if it wasn’t for Trent Dobson.
> How do you find inspiration for your songs?
From life’s experiences mostly. For me to write a song I need to feel very strong about something, music seems to be a release for me. I have songs about love, regret, triumph and tragedy. I am not one that can sit down and just write a song at the drop of a hat. I need to be in the right frame of mind and mood and that’s when the magic happens. If I try too hard the songs really suffer so I just let it happen. I can go weeks without even touching an instrument but when I do it just works. It is different for each person I guess.
> What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Definitely scoring a slot on ‘A Day On The Green’ with so many talented Australian artists. It will be awesome to be playing before Ross Wilson because I grew up listening to him and now I am playing the same show as him and to a local crowd. The support and help from Michael Newton and the ‘A Day On The Green’ team has been really positive. They run a quality event which is growing from year to year and it is a credit to them supporting up and coming Australian artists. Also I have been added to the line up of the ‘Festival Of The Sun’ which is really positive. My music seems to be accessible to a wide range of people from Triple J listeners to Star FM commercial radio listeners which is a great thing. And people contacting me to tell me my album has touched them and that they feel strongly about what I am singing about. It blows me away when I get emails from people all over Australia and overseas who have some how found my music and downloaded it from Itunes or bought it online.
I was playing a show in the small beach town of Hat Head and a young guy come up to me after the show and bought my album. He asked me “ how does it feel to be doing what you doing…..playing live, people enjoying the album…… You’re Living The Dream!!” I had to stop for a second and think about it and I said ”yes, I am living the dream” and it’s true I am living the dream and I feel very lucky.”
> Thank You for your time Shane.