11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Squid (Soviet Shiksa)

Squid (Soviet Shiksa)It is refreshingly amazing that in this century, Music City has opened itself up to “GOTC” (Genres Other Than County). And, one of the great things about this blog feature of mine has been the exposure that I’ve been getting to all types of new Nashville music.

The latest exciting music to come my way is the dark and foreboding, but hyper-focused sound of a new local band called Soviet Shiksa. Formed in late 2017, they have so far released two EPs that you can find and taste for free in the usual places: “Songs About Sex, Death and God, Pts. I and II.” It’s a spell-binding sound with razor-sharp narrative lyrics that jump out of the speakers and make you listen. It’s fresh, poignant and captivating and will appeal to those who like both the Gothic Blues of Morphine or The Cramps or the Americana of Johnny Cash.

Soviet Shiksa also earns a bunch of style points for their clever use of one-word song titles and their great band name. Growing up in New York City, I’m proud to say that I know what a “shiksa” is.

Soviet Shiksa front man Squid, also known as Mr. Black, took the time to answer my usual 11 Questions. Give these guys a listen and watch for their upcoming local show at The Cobra in East Nashville.


Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I’m originally from Florida. That’s where I got turned onto music anyway. I was given a bag of cassette tapes by a friend of my Mother. In there you had a few gems, but most importantly was a bootleg copy of Marilyn Manson’s Portrait of an American Family. That kind of changed everything for me as a person. And, about a year after that, 1997, my family moved to Nashville when I was 13.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

The first record that I actually paid my own money for was the soundtrack to the movie Spawn. Up until that point, I had borrowed CDs from my friends with money, and made copies onto cassette. It made me appreciate the music I was listening to much more than nowadays where everything I’ll ever want to hear is a mouse click away. The last record I bought was the long awaited first vinyl pressing of Instruments of Action by Forget Cassettes. They’re most likely my favorite band to ever come out of Nashville.

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

My first concert was at Starwood Amphitheater, and it was Ozzfest 1999. That year I saw Black Sabbath, Slayer, Rob Zombie, Slipknot and System of a Down–essentially a young metal fan’s wet dream. I didn’t know what to expect, and looking back, youth goggles aside, it was a great show. The last concert I went to was The Pixies and Weezer at Ascend Amphitheater. I went mainly for the Pixies who were great, but I was blown away by the nostalgia heavy set by Weezer. It was refreshing to see such a big band put on such a great, passionate show.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

There are a lot of real serious needs on that Walk. George Jones for starters. If I had to pick one to add today, he’d be it. But a few others I think should be on there would probably be Charlie Pride, Patsy Cline, or maybe Jason Isbell as a newer artist.

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

I try not to go out for coffee. Coffee shop prices for coffee depress me. Pizza, I’m not really a “snob.” I’ll eat it all. My favorite spot is probably Five Points Pizza though. I also dig on Brooklyn Brothers’ Pizza a bit.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

Instruments of Action by Forget Cassettes is probably my favorite record to come out of Nashville. With that being said, there is a disturbing amount of good music and great albums coming out of Nashville all the time. Some honorable mentions though: Fable Cry’s We’ll Show You Where the Monsters Are; Adia Victoria’s Beyond the Bloodhounds and George Jones’ I Am What I Am.

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

I’m a desperately frugal man. But I too can fall victim to the late-night need to eats. Waffle House is always a great decision.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

Ian Mauldin (Damned Rivers), Morgan Clark and probably Stu Arkoff would be the first three I’d ask.

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

Springwater is my kind of place through and through. If every city had a Springwater, I’d book it quick. Problem is, a lot of people seem to forget about your shows when they’re at Springwater for whatever reason. The Cobra has a great room, and the High Watt is fantastic as well. I have shows coming up at both of those venues.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?

I think Nashville is full. No more musicians please. We’re all booked up with talent, traffic and rising costs of living.

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

To be honest, I’m not sure. We’ve put out the first two EPs in our debut series. Aiming to put out part three and the book to go along with it in the first quarter of next year. After that, it depends on if anyone likes what I’m doing. I’m doing runs up into Buffalo this fall, and next year, I’m making plans to hit the West Coast. We’ll see I reckon.

Soviet Shiksa has a gig at The Cobra September 15, 2018 with Fable Cry, The Bad Signs and A Man Called Stu. https://www.facebook.com/events/214993635896804/

The new record is out all over iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube. Follow us on Instagram: www.instagram.com/sovietshiksa


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