Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: Shane Hines

Shane Hines loves mowing his lawn. No, it’s not a very “rock star” passion to hold, but he loves it just the same. It’s not so much the manual labor, or the steamy summer temperatures — he loves it because when he slices down that last row of overgrown grass, he’s finished, done, end of story.


Shane Hines loves mowing his lawn. No, it’s not a very “rock star” passion to hold, but he loves it just the same. It’s not so much the manual labor, or the steamy summer temperatures — he loves it because when he slices down that last row of overgrown grass, he’s finished, done, end of story.

Hines hasn’t often gotten that same satisfaction from his music of late. It’s not that the past year hasn’t held highlights. He and his band, the Trance, won the Washington Area Music Award (WAMA) for best Pop Duo/Group. They accepted another invite from XM’s U-Pop show to return to England for an internationally broadcast live recording session at Abbey Road Studios. They were asked to serve as the spokespeople for Local Point TV, a digital sub-channel focusing on local bands, filmmakers, comedians and more.

And it’s not that there hasn’t been progress. Since independently releasing critically acclaimed sophomore effort, Zoe, the band released B-Side compilation Satellite Go Boom.

It’s just that recently there has been a lot of swirling and not as much completing. The irons are in the fire, but nothing has been forged just yet.

At the moment, Hines admits he’s in a bit of a rut after an inspired start to the year. In terms of the future, the next album exists in abstraction, with hopes high for label backing and corralling a veteran producer, but as of now is not steadily advancing towards completion.

Hines isn’t frustrated, though, as noted by his appreciation of lawn grooming, he has learned to savor the feeling of accomplishment and putting tasks behind him.

“I just love finishing stuff,” Hines says. “That is why I love mowing the lawn, because I can watch it get done. Nothing else I do seems to get done. It will be the end of the day and I have a line … maybe. It was so nice to finish the songs and record them.”

He has been particularly motivated after he and his wife welcomed twins into the world. Suddenly there’s a new dimension to his goal of supporting himself through music.

“You look at these kids staring at you and you’re like, ‘Okay! Time to go downstairs and write some music!’” Hines says of the newfound pressure.

Fortunately for everyone, crafting songs is where Hines excels. When he is on his game, he can forge melodic hooks that would make even all-time pop anglers envious. His work has become a staple of teen music collections in the D.C. area, and attracted national audiences on MTV’s “Real World” and “Laguna Beach.”

Recently Hines teamed with Florida-based producer Pete Wallace for a four-day recording session that yielded three power-pop tunes intended for use outside of the Shane Hines catalog. Wallace is best known for his work crafting songs for artists like Teddy Geiger and Pink, but Hines celebrates him for his straight-ahead work ethic.

“He’s just sick. We would write songs in the afternoon, then I’d come back in the morning and he’d have it all tracked out,” Hines says.

The songs, titled “I’m Losing You,” “You and Me” and “Bittersweet Revenge,” are mostly written and sung from the feminine perspective and would fit flawlessly in the collection of Avril Lavigne or another feisty female. Hines appreciated the opportunity to write for someone else — a first for him — but more than that he enjoyed being able to wrap up a finished product. And if another artists ends up recording one or more of those tunes, all the better.

“If the first song I ever write that makes it legitimately, that lets me pay my bills for a bit, that’s alright with me,” Hines says.

Still, he is focused on writing for his own band, and as momentum continues to build for the next album, Hines and the Trance are indulging local audiences this summer. On the immediate horizon are a May 30 show at Herndon Fest and a May 31 appearance at IOTA Club & Café in Arlington.

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