Keep Shelly in Athens is a duo that perfectly balances being enigmatically soothing and impossibly captivating. Hailing from Athens, Greece, they've earned international recognition for their EPs In Love with the Dusk and Our Own Dream (Forest Family Records), which they're re-releasing this year. While their sound masterfully mixes downbeat pop, r'n'b beats, and atmospheric synths, it dually contains an electronically Ibizan sensibility. Dazed caught up with them to find out who Shelly is and how it feels to be popular so far from home.
Dazed Digital: Where does the name Keep Shelly in Athens come from? Who is Shelly?
Keep Shelly in Athens:There is a neighborhood in Athens called Kypseli. Kypseli is in Athens, but there is a whole mystery about Shelly herself! There's a girl named Shelly, who we want to keep in Athens, but we don’t really talk about it...?
DD: I read that your music is inspired by the city and urbanity. What about the city - as a structure, organism, or otherwise - translates to the music?
Keep Shelly in Athens: City sounds, faces we bump into while walking down the street, buildings, traffic, families, friends -- all those are a part of our life in Athens. It can be absolutely anything, but it has to do with our backgrounds. We've grown up here; we've spent most of our days and nights in this city. This is the place we draw inspiration from, from all its beauty and all its misery.
DD: You just released the "Our Own Dream" video that's an interesting mix of sex, romance, and portraiture. Are these important visual concepts for you?
Keep Shelly in Athens: The "Our Own Dream" video was directed by Thanasis Tsimpinis; he did the writing and conception of the storyline. We all agreed that the song talks about love and couples who share something special, whatever that may be. We let him do whatever he had imagined and visualized for it. We trust his aesthetic, and the result was even better than we expected! For a music video, it's important that everyone serves the music and is compatible with what the song is really about.
DD: Your music has gained rapid popularity in the US and UK, did you expect this to happen based on the amalgamated music you make?
Keep Shelly in Athens: We are so excited that it happened this way! It's a big deal for a band coming from a little European country to communicate their music all over the world, especially in a language that's less familiar to them. As far as the music we are making, we think that it's quite easy for anyone, anywhere to find something to enjoy and relate to in it. We draw from so many influences, and we're sure our fans recognize this.
DD: How would you describe the type of music you make? It doesn't seem to fall into one genre or category.
Keep Shelly in Athens: Thank you! Well, we think we are making downbeat pop, just because there are so many different references to other genres. Perhaps it's just "pop."
DD: Are you excited to tour with Jonquil, St. Vincent, and tUnE-yArDs this month?
Keep Shelly in Athens: We are always happy to tour with other bands. We love to share experiences and different views on making music. Jonquil, St. Vincent, and tUnE-yArDs are incredible artists to tour with; we feel very blessed!
DD: Between the US tour that hits Coachella and re-releasing In Love With Dusk and Our Own Dream, what else does the future hold for you?
Keep Shelly in Athens: We'll have many more shows in May and also in Europe, along with new songs, remixes, and collaborations. We never stop! Please stay tuned!