We had a chance to catch up with Shannyn Kathrin, the vocalist for the up and coming, alternative pop rock band Vyllas. We're always gunning to hear about what makes musicians tick.
In 10 questions we got a glimpse of what motivates Shannyn to share with the world a piece of herself every time she steps in the studio and on the stage.
Grave Goods Society: Tell me about the origin of your band, how did it come about?
Shannyn Kathrin: Since middle school, I always wanted to be in a band. I had a few different bands here and there but nothing solid. It's been almost two years since I formed Vyllas, and we have grown so much as a band since then.
GGS: How is the band name pronounced?
Shannyn: Vyllas is pronounced like Villas.
GGS: Where are you based out of?
Shannyn: We are based out of New Hampshire.
GGS: Describe some of your influences.
Shannyn: I'm very fortunate to come from a place where the local music scene has such a large impact on people. From Our Last Night, to Vanna, some of the best bands around have come from this area. Seeing people I know succeed at what they are best at in this industry has driven me to work harder and push myself every day. My mother has had a huge impact on me as well. She's the hardest working person I know. She's shown me my entire life that if you want something, you have to be willing to work for it.
GGS: What's your day job?
Shannyn: Now that we are back in the studio my full time job is Vyllas. I left my day job recently to focus only on this. I work part time with my mother, and that allows me the freedom and flexibility I need to focus on Vyllas.
GGS: Tell me about your experience during the Vans Warped Tour. Which dates did you hit and who did you do guest appearances for?
Shannyn: This year I was given the opportunity to tag along on Vans Warped Tour. My long time friend Davey Muise of Vanna (who works closely with Vyllas) invited me out to do a guest appearance during their set. Vyllas' drummer, Adam Levesque, is also a guitar tech and was out on Warped Tour with Chelsea Grin (@chelseagrinofficial).
Thanks to my friends in Chelsea Grin I was able to crash on their bus and take up the extra bunk, and because of that I was able to play the east coast shows. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I met so many incredible artists and learned so much more than I could have hoped for. I can't wait to see what next year's Warped Tour brings.
GGS: How and when did you get involved in music?
Shannyn: It's safe to say I've been in love with music my entire life. From the time I was old enough to talk, I've been singing. My mother put me in singing and piano lessons when I was in high school, and that pushed me to want to start a band. First it was cover songs in my best friend's basement, but that didn't cut it, and soon we were writing our own music.
GGS: Update me on the current affairs of Vyllas, what's the 1-2 year projection plan?
Shannyn: Right now, Vyllas is working with our new team and writing our new album. Writing and recording is an incredible process. I can't think of a more honest way to tell your story than to put it in a song. This album will be a true reflection of who we are. There's so much we want to say.
GGS: Why is being in a band and singing so important to you?
Shannyn: Music saved my life. When I was younger, I wanted so badly to be accepted. I come from a very small town, in a small state. I was different than everyone around me. I was bullied, ruthlessly. People threw insults at me as if I had a target on my back. It got so bad that I had to leave my high school and go to a school that was miles from home.
Things got better but the insecurities stuck. I fought an 8 year eating disorder that almost cost me my voice. I had to work very hard and fight to get my strength back. I came very close to losing the only thing I've ever been good at. When I say music saved my life, I truly mean that. Through music I found a safe place. Singing means more to me now than it ever has.
GGS: Any words of wisdom for others who have dreams and aspirations of being in bands and taking them far?
Shannyn: Stop wasting time doing things that don't make you happy. I'm a big advocate of change. It took me awhile to realize that I didn't have to be unhappy. I stopped working at places that made me miserable, I cut ties with people who didn't want the best for me. I focused on what I really wanted out of life and what would make me happy. For me, that was music.
Be sure to keep up to date with Shannyn and Vyllas as they progress in the studio. Follow Shannyn on Instagram at @ohshannyn and Vyllas @vyllasband.
Photographer Jonathan Kemp @jonathankemp
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