‘Wait, What. Now?’ is the debut album from Nottingham duo SHYGUY (AKA Jackson Goodwin and Joe Digioia). The project weaves a kaleidoscope of genres, fusing soul, psychedelic vocals, jazz and raw but funky hip hop drums. SHYGUY confront their introverted nature, adopting vibrant personas, as a result, this introverted collaboration evolves into an extroverted expression, contributing to their textured sound which is perfectly embodied in the focus track “Grass Is Green”.
Musically the album showcases clusters of unconventional textures, with ‘Wait, What. Now?’ featuring dual single “I’m So Trash / Long Time” – the self-deprecating humour of “I’m So Trash”, balanced by the introspection of “Long Time”, all channelled through the lens of a beatmaker, bedroom producer approach to composition.
Carrying personal significance “Grass Is Green” was the last song written for the album, it symbolises the draw to an end in more than one way. The track’s lyrics are a heartfelt expression of appreciation for Jackson’s partner, conveying the profound influence she has had on his life, inspiring personal growth and providing solace during darker times. The title itself, a clever play on the adage, “the grass is greener on the other side,” aptly encapsulates its theme. “Grass Is Green” organically grew from Joe’s guitar riff which creates cohesion as the track transitions, Jackson expresses his admiration “It’s a favourite of mine to perform and I love the two main guitar riffs Joe wrote.”
Jackson, hailing from a family of artists and illustrators, initially ventured into music as a form of teenage rebellion. He picked up a bass guitar and soon discovered that music was his true calling. Inspired by the likes of J-Dilla and the LA Beat Scene, Jackson immersed himself in music production. On the other hand, Joe’s musical path began at the age of 11 when he self-taught himself the guitar. His fascination with the instrument’s capabilities and the desire to create his own music led him on a journey of self-discovery. Through the guidance of his guitar teacher, he delved into recording and production, setting the stage for his future endeavours.
Jackson explains, “I can’t imagine doing anything else. I come from a family of artists and have always felt that music is the most beautiful aspect of human culture. Writing music feels like a type of meditation or sanctuary for me. Ultimately, I want to create something that will move other people in the same way that some of the most personally influential records I listened to growing up moved me.”
Joe adds, “I’ve always been hugely inspired by other musical artists and the work they produce. Some songs are able to involve such strong emotions from me that I become inspired to try and replicate those feelings in my own music. Equally, I’ve always played music (primarily guitar) for the sake of enjoyment and therapy.”
The duo met during their school years, discovering their shared love of music through playing in punk bands together, but their musical journey truly took flight when they reunited in college. SHYGUY draw inspiration from a diverse range of sources. Jackson’s upbringing exposed him to a rich musical tapestry, from Erykah Badu to The Smiths, and the artistry of Prince and Damon Albarn. Joe’s early influences included guitar-centric bands like Green Day, leading him to explore artists like Prince and Tame Impala, who created diverse music on their own terms.