We Make Shapes
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We Make Shapes

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Duo Electronic Ambient




"Five Bangers- We Make Shapes releases debut EP"

I recently met with Damion Shade at the Yeti on Writer’s Night. Throughout our conversation, open mic hopefuls approached Shade to sign up for the stage. “Sheet’s over there, man,” Shade would say with a warm smile and quick handshake. The Writer’s Night is Shade’s baby, and has offered a voice to unheard songwriters and poets for the last few years. In addition to corralling the comedians and mesmerists that perform each week, Shade uses the night to perform his own songs.

Shade writes his songs under the moniker The Savage Young, an act which sometimes manifests as a full band. Other times The Savage Young is just the dreadlocked and gentle giant of Shade, pouring his heart out through an acoustic guitar. Recently The Savage Young found himself walking between the downward dogs at the Yoga Room’s live music event, which Shade described as “weirdly intimate,” through a laugh. Lately though, Shade’s focus has been on We Make Shapes, a collaborative project with musician Nathan Wright (Count Tutu, Branjae and the Filthy Animals).

“Metropolis (1927),” the opening track of We Make Shapes debut EP Penta, is an exercise in stadium rock maximalism filtered through minimal trip-hop instrumentation. The song’s blown-out snare hits and Van Halen guitar licks ride atop a hypnotic 808 vamp. Shade’s voice is absent. In fact, his voice seldom appears on the EP; and when it does, it may sound less than human.

“In certain ways, I was just like, ‘fuck singing,’” Shade said about his vocal approach in We Make Shape’s beginning. “There was a point where I thought we’d be an instrumental band, and that Nathan’s guitar would be the voice.” Shade lost his mother in 2013 while fronting his former band Ithaca, and attributed the resulting period of depression to his step away from the mic. On Penta, he’s singing again, but with a more calculated approach to the lyrics, and often through vocal effects.

On “folds,” one of the three tracks on Penta to feature vocals, Shade repeats: “You are the only force that cuts each length of time into a hairbreadth/That folds the universe into a bright and utter grin that I try to find.” It’s a mantra, and the only lyric in the song. It’s also an act of restraint from a man that once wrote songs with single lines that read: “Quentin Tarantino films were washing over Julie’s glasses, reminding her that she is growing cold. All the other film school dropouts made remarks about detachment, and how our culture is slowly growing old.” Shade recited these lyrics to me at Yeti, and chuckled. “Like...I sang that shit.”

Apart from the new lyrical approach, Shade and Wright have narrowed their musical focus after a recent tour with Johnny Polygon. After following Polygon night after night and putting most of the crowd into what they called a “Buddhist trance” with their more experimental music, Shade had an epiphany. “I had this old football player moment, where I thought, what would my coach say?”

The duo decided to play every song, “more committed, more focused, more into it, and sing every note with all the strength and power and control [we could] possibly muster.” They also dropped their more spacey compositions (the group has 57 total songs) in favor of their bangers, of which they’ve assembled the five hardest hitting for Penta.

On Friday, Feb. 19, Tulsans can get a taste of Penta at the Yeti, where We Make Shapes will host a concert celebrating the album’s release. The free show starts at 10 p.m. and you can pick up a copy of the album for $5. - The Tulsa Voice

"Meeting We Make Shapes"

Between the moody soundscapes Shade produces via synthesizers and his 808 drum machine and the swirling, emotional tone of Nathan Wright’s guitar, We Make Shapes takes audiences on a transcendent journey across a musical cosmos in the same vein as Boards of Canada, Amon Tobin, and even Pink Floyd. Those that take the trip are left in a euphoric daze, feeling as if they’ve just arrived on another planet, not sure of how they got there, but eager to explore this new terrain. - Tulsa People (author Wyndham Wyeth)

"Psychedelic Shapes"

If you ask five people to describe Tulsa duo We Make Shapes, you will most likely get five different answers. Even the group’s members, Damion Shade and Nathan Wright, struggle to capture the essence of the band.

“I’ve gone through a few different experiments when explaining it to people,” Wright says. “I get real stuttery about it, but I think what is most satisfactory — though maybe not the most accurate at its core — is ‘modern, electronic psychedelia.’”

Just one look at the two musicians is enough to indicate that We Make Shapes is not your run-of-the-mill bar band.

Shade, the band’s principal songwriter, resembles a mad scientist hard at work behind a control station of samplers, synthesizers and drum machines. Wright appears lost in the ethereal haze of the music, funneling his guitar through various effects, manipulating the sound. He also occasionally plays the xylophone and glockenspiel.

When We Make Shapes performs, it doesn’t just play songs, it creates an atmosphere. In addition to its fantastic lighting, the band often projects films such as “The NeverEnding Story,” “Tron” and “Fantasia” onstage.

Part of this practice came from an effort to bolster their music, which is 50/50 instrumental and vocal — though some vocals are highly processed — and to engage their audience on multiple levels. Shade says he always intended this project to be less focused on the “purposeful prose” and “really verbose lyrics” that were dominant in his previous electronic project, Ithica.

Instead, the band aims to keep its audience engrossed in all these elements — lighting, moody soundscapes, the childlike nostalgia and wistful nature of the films they choose — to put the crowd in a “dreamlike state” disassociated from reality.

“I want to come at it in a way that feels like I’m not trying to superimpose my brain on it,” Shade says. “I want it to be much more about images. It’s one of the reasons we’re called We Make Shapes.”

The effect is simultaneously perplexing and fascinating, leaving audiences that take the trip dazed from the musical journey We Make Shapes’ music lays out.

“I started to get a little self-conscious every now and then,” Wright laughs about the band’s early performances, and it still happens on some songs. “We’d finish a song and nobody would clap. Then I started to realize that everybody was just staring at us.”

“It’s not the kind of music where everybody is necessarily going to be dancing like crazy and losing their minds,” Shade explains.

We Make Shapes celebrated its first year in October and has already outlined its goals through 2015.

“My goal has been for this first year to be a kind of incubation — us actually becoming decent and worth seeing,” Shade says.

It seems the group has more than exceeded its goal in that regard. Its incubation period has yielded plenty of songs the band hopes to professionally record. The first is an EP titled “The Dreadful Words of Daedalus Disturbed the Distant Birds,” a line taken from a William Packard poem.

We Make Shapes plans to follow that up with a full-length record and maybe add a drummer, as well as some more visual elements, to flesh out the band’s sound and performances. A mix tape collaboration with hip-hop collective Oilhouse might be on the horizon, as well.

However, Shade says the band’s main concern is taking its time to develop in a thoughtful, purposeful way.

“We’re a baby band,” he says, “taking our little baby steps.” - Tulsa People Magazine

"We Make Shapes"

Tulsa's We Make Shapes is a moody, lo-fi affair steeped in spacey, electronic sincerity. Minimalist beats, ambient synth melodies, psychedelic guitar-work and occasional processed vocals combine to create an appealing cocktail of wide-eyed dream pop, downtempo electronica and hip hop. - This Land Press by Josh Kline


Still working on that hot first release.



On October 18th 2013, in a tiny smoky bar in downtown Tulsa, We Make Shapes began. A quixotic blend on ambient electronica, IDM, bits of guttural blues and even traces of psychedelic rock, We Make Shapes quickly developed a reputation as one of the most vivid and complex electronic acts in the region.  This duo is the collaboration of veteran singer/songwriter Damion Shade and the young classically trained guitar wunderkind Nathan Wright. Shade’s prolific songwriting impulse found new voice when combined with the expansive sound palette of the classic Roland 808 drum machine, and this foundation was ample space for Wright’s luminous cerebral guitar riffs. Ranging at times from bright spasmodic dance beats reminiscent of Rat-a-tat and Crystal Castles to the discordant dark futuristic soundscapes of Boards of Canada and Blockhead, Shade’s astonishing voice and Wright’s deliberative but unwieldy guitar melodies continue to reshape these sounds anew. We Make Shapes released their first ep. entitled "Penta" 2016. 

Band Members