Introducing: Shep Treasure – 500 Dead Or Alive & 3 Questions

I have read the full press note for this album and I enjoyed reading it, so I will share a longer quote:

Written by songwriter and multi-media artist Sabrina Nichols, 500 dead or alive is an intimate exploration of childhood, family, relationships, loss, and the defining moments that mold our perceptions and memories of these formative pillars in our everyday lives. Like photos flashing through the slides of an old projector, Nichols conjures nostalgic memories of her childhood through vivid lyrical imagery and a starkly raw production that paint a hyper-specific yet universally experienced story of life.

The title 500 dead or alive comes from a yard game Nichols would play with other kids who lived in her neighborhood. The rules are simple. One person throws a ball or an item, and everyone else tries to catch it. When thrown, the thrower calls out an amount of points, and whether it is dead or alive. Alive means you have to catch the ball in the air, dead means that the ball has to hit the ground 1st and everyone can squabble over it to earn its points. Once someone reaches 500 points they become the thrower.

“I chose this game for the title of this album, because I like the contrast of the intensity of the name, for such a simple game.” Says Nichols. “The songs on this album look back to times in my life when I would play this game outside, and they’re also about how I struggle to keep a sense of playfulness as I get older, so a yard game felt right.”

Though at times playful, the stories Nichols tell often brood a hint of the fantastical.

“When I picture this album title, I think to a specific time I would play this game.” Says Nichols. “I was in elementary school and living in Indiana at the time, and me and a group of kids from my street were playing 500 in an empty lot. It was incredibly windy out, which made this game extra chaotic and thrilling. We were becoming more excited and crazy as it got windier. The sky was overcast, and eventually turned a sickly green. We knew that was bad, but we were having fun and didn’t want to leave. Finally, the tornado sirens started, indicating that a tornado was approaching the area, and the noise of them combined with the wind was enough to send everyone running home as fast as we could.”

Like children playing a yard game amongst the winds of a tornado, contrasting extremes and clashing elements permeate the album sonically and thematically.

I love reading about albums from the artist’s point of view and even in this case, I enjoyed the story behind the album name. These are kinds of information I would love to read more often, but sometimes I feel that artists do not have the answers to such questions. Kudos to Sabrina for putting it so well into words and making the story about this album more interesting.

The album is a mixture of various genres, sounds, and atmospheres and I am loving the blend. From experimental through shoegaze to folk, it makes the listening experience so special. Especially the acoustic guitar is so beautiful in the song and I have been loving its melody. Once again this album is such a gem I am so happy I came across it and will try to give it more listening time, but it is so freaking hard when you are overloaded with new music every week. Do me a favor and listen to this album instead of me and give it some love.

The album is released on CDs via the Brooklyn-based label demodé recordings. I wished it was released on cassettes as I think it would suit the album much more.

I have asked Sabrina our 3 little questions:

What inspired you to start making music and what keeps you making music?

Seeing my friends play music inspired me to make music in the first place. I keep making music to share with them, and because I love playing instruments and combining words and noises.

What was the most challenging thing in your music (artistic) path?

The most challenging thing in my music path is probably finding time to chill out and do nothing, then after that I can focus my mind and pick up an instrument and make a song.

What would you dream to do if anything was possible?

If anything was possible I’d dream to be the biggest and strongest wind system on earth and fly around blowing things around.

You can find more music on Spotify or Bandcamp.