Featured Artist

Cosmic Rock

(photo by Jana Lee Mechica from DOC Fest)

Our Featured Artist this tuesday evening on Cosmic Rock.com is the one and only Shy Kennedy. Singer for the popular group Horehound, Shy also has a solo project entitled  o Heiðrún  and is the organizer of the well loved fest Descendants of Crom. We caught up with her for a talk about her history, influences, inspirations and interests as well as some news.  Check out this excellent interview with the creative, down to earth and respected musician Shy Kennedy.

1. Hey Shy how’re you today? Good to speak with you.


Doing well! Yes, thank you for asking me to. Hope all is well on your end.


2. Great, yes thanks to you as well. Tell us a little about your background. Are you from PA originally and how did you get into music?


I was born just south of Pittsburgh in a more rural area but not too far. I have had some adventures here and there but have lived within the city, now, most of my life.


I was a music appreciator from a very young age and it’s always been the focus of my life. I didn’t have many friends being that I did live in a rural area when I was young so I spent a lot of time alone and exploring and listening to music was up there in top interests. I got into heavier styles or darker themed music as it was appropriate to my nature but I delved into a lot of music in all eras and I became obsessed with finding out what else was out there. I am still like that today.


3. Your band Horehound is releasing the second album soon. What has it been like since the first album to where you are now?


It’s been affirming. We’re a different band from where we started both structurally as well as in our approach to writing and composition methods. We went from being a five-piece to four members but listeners can expect a thicker and better toned sound than before all around. Everything that we do now is a whole group effort and we’ve found some balance in that method. I feel we are wearing our hearts on our sleeves with this release and are really looking forward to sharing it.


4. How was the recording process and what inspired the songs on the record?


Our recording process is pretty simple. We work with Matt Schor in his home studio which is called The War Room. He’s good about giving up a full weekend or two in attempt to capture what we’re doing. He also does the mixing. The guys record together in the same room live. I come in after and record a couple scratch tracks and after I listen to them a few times I go back and finalize it all. This was how we recorded the first record but we took a little longer with this one.


Overall our music is inspired by the times. We all have something to express and bring to the table. Lyrically, most of it’s inspired for the need for change. The need for people to understand the need to wake up and be better to our world. There are some theme breaks throughout the album. A song that stands out here would be Anastatica where the vibe is much more blusier and laid back and the lyrical content has more of an interpersonal saga. While there is a specific concept to each song it is not a concept album. We focused on the sound and where it took us individually came through on our own parts.


5. Very cool. You’re also working on a solo project entitled o Heiðrún, can you tell us any news?


Ah, yes! That’s a weird little thing I do when I am extra edgy. It’s all vocal, no writing, no lyrics, and no real deliberation other than to free write and remain unfocused if that makes sense. I haven’t actually recorded anything for years so I am dedicating some of December to having another go at it. I expect to release new material end of winter.


6. In what way is your solo work a different creative project for you?


It’s something I do to defrag and is a sort of cleansing. I kept it to myself for a while. Put it out on Soundcloud as to have it published, but somewhere no one would really pay attention but it piqued some interest. This led me to eventually put it to actual physical releases and even do the occasional performance. I’ve been able to perform with artists such as Author & Punisher, Muscle and Marrow, Brown Angel, Dalek, Bruce Lamont, and that has been the best part. It’s a different version of myself than people usually get to see.


 7. This year is the third year of the Descendants of Crom. Any news to share?


The best way to share upcoming news is to recap that the past two years were really something special. The bands were all great. The fans were exceptional. Everyone involved to date has brought something special to it and that it happens in my hometown is incredible. I think the news would be that it will go on to a third year and you can expect it to become an even stronger event.

 8. How do you feel about the music scene today?


I feel like the heavy underground is well and thriving and that social media has been a real great tool that for that by making it convenient to really share music. It’s so easy now to know when there are bands coming to your city or when they are releasing something new. Everything is so much easier and better in that regard. I see bands supporting each other and it’s just a very great vibe right now but I do also notice some oversaturation. So long as the promoters, bands, and fans keep a balance and focus on supporting bands that are really in this for the long haul, I think we can keep it balanced.

9. Any favorite books?


To be honest I am not much of a reader. When I do read it’s usually non-fiction, scientific or art related. Something I really got into a while back was Altered States: Creativity under the Influence by James Hughes. As you might guess it analyzes specific artists and their work with whatever influence they may have been under whether it was a drug taken by choice or an unescapable mental illness. Anything about perception, cosmos, or the occult is fun reading for me.

 10. Favorite films?

I am all over the place on this one. It be easier to say that I don’t care for romantic films (exception of Wes Anderson material) or modern Disney movies.


I love comedy, usually dark comedy. I love the occult movies like the Romero classics and the Evil Deads and even more modern things like The Vvitch. I loved a lot of the dark “children’s” movies like The Secret of Nihm and The Last Unicorn. I also will never pass up slapstick or tongue in cheek classics like Monty Python, Mel Brooks, or the Coen Brothers’ stuff.

11. What is one life skill you think everyone should have?

I feel like critical thinking by far and wide is a skill that isn’t exercised by enough people and it’s the root to development. Anyone with the ability to analyze and look at things logically and objectively can cultivate any of the other important life skills like being empathetic, having effective communication, making decisions, etcetera. The best creatives, the best leaders, and the best citizens are all critical thinkers.


If you were going for more of a life skill in terms of survival and saving… I’d go with the same answer.


12. What are some of your greatest personal moments you would share from your music journey?


One of the great things about having a niche that you love is that there are others that are passionate, too. There are moments that stand out but the most endearing part, the part that pays for all of the hard work, is sharing. Sharing the stage with great artists will always make you a better artist. Sharing your music with an audience live is otherworldly. Creating music with your group and being able to share it is what it’s all about. Every gig and every mile stone is a great moment.

 13. Do you have any advice for artists just starting out?


Music is amazing but not everyone was meant to create it, especially, not everyone was meant to have a band. Do it if you love it and know that it’s a lot of work and you aren’t going to get paid for it monetarily. If you are up for the task, then my best advice is to just make your music. Don’t go for a sound or another band’s sound. Don’t go for a specific record label sound. Just write what feels good. You’re inspirations will come through better that way and you’ll end up being unique and fulfilled.

 14. Last words for your fans today?


Every single person that participates is part of the music. You are part of the energy. Every time you go to a show, purchase band merch, share news or an invite to something a band is doing, whatever the gesture is, it helps support the artist and it supports an ecosystem. You are part of it as much as I am and that is something that we can never express how thankful we are about it. I speak on behalf of Horehound as well as every other band in the heavy underground: thank you and as long as you are here, so are we.


And thank you, Gideon, for taking the time to ask me about such things!


Thanks to you Shy great speaking with you and keep us updated on your news.