New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Inspiration doesn't always come from a beautiful place. The NYC collective NoSuga was blasted apart in 2002 by a friend's real-life gun-inflicted suicide. They recorded "Shiny Gun," a blues rap track inspired by the experience.
Mixer/producer Christos (Stos) Tsantilis was troubled by new violent outbursts occurring globally and remembered "Shiny Gun." He had digitized the original tracks recorded at Street Light Studios where John Lennon
& Yoko Ono recorded and mixed their famed final album "Double Fantasy." The connection to John Lennon's own heartbreaking passing due to gun violence added its own tense energy.
In 2021, when Stos listened to "Shiny Gun" after 19 years it triggered haunting memories. He remembered when NoSuga finished rehearsing one night and they learned that a close friend of the band had just taken their own life with a gun. Almost
simultaneously, the band members saw a TV news story about a young man who had accidentally shot and killed his girlfriend. "It was horrific and we had to write about it," Stos says. "There was a lot of gun violence then, and we're seeing a resurgence now."
Stos' collaborators in NoSuga concur about the essential expressions in the track. "As a songwriter I was always compelled to write about social issues to raise awareness, and Shiny Gun allowed me to do just that," says Tony Hooks. According to singer Pete Oh, "Shiny Gun, offers a powerful reminder that we must try to serve as peacekeepers in our own families and communities.
Stos loaded the vintage individual instrument tracks into his digital/analog hybrid Brooklyn mixing suite Merlin's Kitchen. In the process, Stos drew on his hip hop, R&B, and rock engineering/production experience for hit artists like P. Diddy, Dr. Dre, Just Blaze, Saigon, The Roots, Beatnuts, Fat Joe, Foreigner, Yes, Mary j Blige, Wu-Tang Clan, and many more.
A charged-up blues-colored rap rock track, "Shiny Gun" is a "hybrid of styles," continues Stos. "To one of my co-writers, Anthony Mirante (a.k.a. Tony Hooks) this is a rock record, Ray58 plays it as a rap, while for me this is a political record that transcends genre."
The lyric video on YouTube has received thousands of views quickly after release, illustrating the tragic "Shiny Gun" story with artful aggression.
For Stos, NoSuga's "Shiny Gun" is ultimately hopeful, discussing gun violence in a constructive way. "A lot of songs are about breakups, makeups, and dancing and everyone needs those," Stos states. "But we also have to make music that deals with tough topics. Working on this song helped me heal from what happened. I hope it helps my bandmates and anyone whose life has been impacted by gun violence."
"Shiny Gun" on YouTube.