ABOUT A BAND: TWIN PEAKSOctober 25, 2016
Ahead of their UO Live gig at our Spitalfields store, we spoke to Cadien of Chicago-based band Twin Peaks about touring, musical influences and their latest release ‘Down in Heaven’.
UO: How did the music scene in Chicago shape you, your influences and your sound?
We were turned on to a lot of Nuggets era garage rock from some bands we would see; The Yolks, White Mystery — as well as 70′s glam rock and power pop from others; Smith Westerns, Mickey, Slushy. It was inspiring being teenagers at the age of 14, 15, and having such an active scene of shows at record shops and eventually being exposed to the web of basement gigs happening in Chicago in the late ’00s and early ’10s. Although it took sometime to fit into it at all, being 5-10-15 years younger than the rest of the folks attending these DIY shows / house parties, we were gifted with the presence of the Smith Westerns as a sort of elder brother through my brother’s involvement with them, allowing us an early eye on the possibilities of playing loud tunes in small rooms to drunk folks who actually cared about the music they watched, as opposed to playing shows to our friends in high school at expensive clubs.
UO: What was going on in the grander scheme of things when you were making your 2016 release, Down in Heaven?
We recorded Down In Heaven in the summer of 2015, in between the last legs of touring in support of our previous album Wild Onion. No one was going through break ups or anything of the sort; it was a pretty serene time for us, feeling triumphant from a successful year of slowly but ever so quickly building grassroots as we have, and comforted by the wonderful environment we were blessed to spend that summer recording in.
UO: How do you feel Down in Heaven is a progression from your previous albums, Wild Onion and Sunken?
It’s a natural progression showing how the same musicians grow as a touring band, each couple years getting to release material showing how we refine our taste and knowledge of arrangement as we grow up and expand our libraries and learn to work together in improving fashions. It has a more authentically ‘vintage’ sound in both production and songwriting as we’ve honed our recording techniques and continued to dive deeper back in our van playlists.
UO: Was it always your plan to make music?
I wouldn’t say it was always the plan, but it was omnipresent since mid elementary school; Jack and I hosted our school’s battle of the bands in our last year before high school, were playing open mic nights earlier than that — writing, recording, and performing have been clear lifelong hobbies since I was 12, but getting to do it full-time still feels like a blessing we fell into.
UO: How important is it, in your opinion, for artists to make observations on the world through their music? Or is it more about telling personal stories for you?
I believe it’s only as important as it is for the artist; there’s no template or rule book for what art is supposed to be. It is only a tool for the artist to display whatever emotion or feeling they wish to explore. I love it if an artist can encapsulate a political phenomena and make a difference, but I don’t think that’s more important per se than writing about a bland breakfast in a vibey way. It all has its place.
UO: How do you think the ‘garage rock’ scene has changed since you’ve been making music?
In some senses it continues to be commercialized as it’s less underground as a sound, yet there’s always groups and scenes that have the original spark. I wouldn’t even consider ourselves a garage rock band at this point though. Not common to have acoustic numbers and horn players in a garage act.
UO: It’s always easy to categorise and pigeonhole in music. Is that something you’ve struggled with as a band? How do you combat this?
I just don’t buy it. Of course we need to use the comparison-game as a tool and method to try and explain sound to others. But so much music is too unique for that, and the plethora of influences artists have make it impossible to allow for the nuances they may have through labelling a band ‘rock’ or ‘hip hop’ or ‘surf’ or ‘quasi crystal water rawk’. It’s inevitable and unavoidable that we will be pigeonholed by critics and fans alike, I just don’t give it much credence.
UO: You created the artwork for Down In Heaven yourselves. How important is visual art in your music?
Not as important as the music, but very important. It allows for further integration of the aesthetic of a group and their personal taste beyond what you get in the song. Beyond that, it’s just fun for me. Personally, the rack shamble nature of our album cover seemed to give more insight into the back porch, hand crafted feel that we placed into the recording of the LP.
UO: How do you deal with the taxing nature of touring? Highs and lows?
Eat good as much as you can. Learn the people you travel and live with and give them space when they need or aid when necessary. Go to museums. Take a walk by yourself. Read a book to visit another world. Advil PM and an eye mask (:.
UO: What’s next for the band in 2016 and beyond?
We have no formula but we’re planning to just keep up our hard work and have fun making records and touring to places and new and familiar.
Keep up to date with the band: @twinpeaksdudes
Catch them playing the Scala on Wednesday 26th and at UO Live in Spitalfields on Thursday 27th October