Sharp Shock's Power Punk Energy is Alkaline Trio-Approved

Local power punk trio, Sharp Shock, is combining their unique music industry experiences and their upbringings in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the Southern California music, tattoo, and street culture scenes to create a straight-forward sound that’s generating a lot of electricity. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Davey Warsop, vocalist/ bassist Dan Smith, and drummer Korey Kingston, the three piece formed only a year ago last July. The group agrees that fate has played a role in the band’s quick ascension, which includes earning a place on Heart & Skull Records, Alkaline Trio’s label. The ensemble has already released a music video for their first single, “Away From the Man,” as well as their full-length album, Unlearn Everything, available now online, with vinyl pressings dropping this week. Part of that success is due to Warsop’s career as an engineer and producer at Costa Mesa’s Hurley Studios, and Smith’s work as a tattoo artist on the television show, LA Ink, with Kat Von D. Here they explain their serendipitous formation, and how keeping the short, sharp, shock mentality in their creativity is helping establish their place with big names in the Southern California punk community.

OC Weekly: How has the progression of Sharp Shock been so quick?

Davey Warsop: I recorded some B-sides from Matt Skiba’s solo record, and was one of the engineers on the Alkaline Trio Damnesia record at Hurley Studios. Dan has also been friends with Matt and their manager that looks after Heart & Skull Records. Those past relationships have helped connect the dots, which is making this happen so fast for us.

What is your musical background?

DW: The band I originally came out to California with, we were label-mates with Dan’s old band, so I met him years ago. We never played music together, but we’ve always been in touch and always been friends.

Dan Smith: Music was the reason I moved here, and it was a great way to do some touring while tattooing as well, on buses and backstage rooms.

What drew the three of you together?

DW: One day Dan and Korey texted me within two minutes of each other saying, I’m missing playing music, let’s get a room and jam out. The fact that happened, they put the idea into my head.

DS: I was a big fan of Davey’s songwriting, and he was a familiar face at Hurley, and I was always interested in what he was doing musically.

How did the album come together?

DW: I engineer and produce, so it just made things really easy, where we could set up live, learn songs, and track them pretty much straight away. We spent several evenings in the summer last year around July recording these songs, and before we knew it, we had an album’s worth.

What are your influences?

DW: Our influences are equal parts British, and American and Southern Californian music culture. I think we’re a cross between power trios like The Jam, from the ‘70s and ‘80s London, and then early Green Day in the Dookie era.

DS: Life has had a big influence on the band too. We all had the same kind of upbringing and had to work for what we’ve got, so the music that complements those ideals really resonate with all of us.

How do you describe your musical persona?

DW: The main thing is trying to keep things—like our name suggests—as short and direct and to the point as possible; from being a three-piece, to the songs being stripped down and focused.

How does that tie in with the album title, Unlearn Everything?

DW: It came from the idea that absolutely everything we do as human beings is learned behavior, and trying to stay punk and question everything. I can’t really get away from that mindset, that’s how I grew up, that’s the person I am, and the way that I live my life.

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