Camden band's new album explores what life is like in the 'wild south west'

Picture: The Shang
Picture: The Shang

It's fair to say The Shang's new album is an ode to the place they call home.

The Camden band have delved deep into their emotions and personal battles over five tracks to create, Tales of the Wild South West.

Lead guitarist Michael Calcutt said the concept behind album title was the band's view of south-west Sydney as a parallel to the American Wild West.

"Not so much in terms of what occurs out here or people's behaviour, but more in the way that western Sydney seems to be constantly left behind and forgotten," the former St Gregory's College student said.

"Everything from the allocation of S-Set trains, the new toll on the M5 and seeing such little funding during the recent Community Sport Infrastructure Program.

"We are aiming to be a voice for the wider region in this regard and represent the wider community."

The Shang's music has earned triple j unearthed rotation, FBi Radio play and praise from triple j's Declan Byrne and Richard Kingsmill.

Mr Calcutt said the new EP was a collaborative effort between himself, bass guitarist Aiden Berenger, vocalist Zac Gomes and drummer Diego Barraza.

"Songs like Long Way Up explore the struggles of being an up and coming band," he said.

"Those struggles being amplified by the fact that we had no access to a local music scene and the distances we have to travel just to get to gigs in Sydney or Wollongong.

"It's a hard slog as a musician at the best of times, of course.

"Other songs like Games offer a different perspective through a verse delivered by local rapper, Rops1, whose life experience have been really different to our own.

"Working with him has allowed us to genuinely explore themes in our music that we haven't personally experienced."

The band embarked on a national tour in 2019, where they sold out the world-renowned Oxford Art Factory Gallery bar.

Mr Calcutt said every member of the band was proud to call Macarthur home.

"There really was no music scene in the Macarthur region when we first started out so we really were starting from scratch in that regard," he said.

"Growing up here we have all become strongly attached to the area.

"That's probably what has caused us to associate ourselves so strongly with Camden.

"It would have been a lot easier to call ourselves a Sydney or Wollongong band and been more readily accepted into those scenes, however we were more concerned with helping establish a scene out here and growing our own community.

"We are already reaping the rewards as we are seeing larger touring bands coming through and playing in our town."

Mr Calcutt said their local fan base and support from businesses in the community had been essential to their success.

"From Utopia Music where we write and rehearse and our label Waratah Records to the local venues we perform at like Upstairs at Fred's and Camden Sports Club, supporting us allows us to support other businesses," he said.

"Any support we receive we really appreciate - you never know, you might just enjoy the music."

Tales of the Wild South West will be available to stream on Spotify from Friday, September 11.