Chicago newcomers Twin Peaks have been on our radar for about a year now, ever since we caught glimpse of their massive dope-ode/teen-anthem ‘Stand In The Sand’. Since then they’ve seen their debut album ‘Sunken’ head up a shedload of end of year polls, caught the attention of some key industry players (the band are still without management or label) and announced a new US tour with best buddies The Orwells which’ll take them to SXSW this March.
I have little doubt that once they’re at SX they’ll be one of the most talked about acts – and if this SoundCloud set from a recent NYC gig is anything to go by, they should be shithot. Check out the full bootleg (eleven songs in total) and then read a Q&A I did with the band this week about their grand plans.
NME: Did you guys grow up together? How did the band form?
Twin Peaks: There are four of us in Twin Peaks, Connor (drums), Jack (bass), Cadien (guitar), and Clay (guitar). We all sing a bit too. We’ve all in one way or another grown up around each other, in the same web of people. Jack and Connor since birth, Cadien and Jack since elementary school, and Clay started hanging around us more during high school.
NME: To the outsider it seems like Chicago is on fire right now – Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa are both huge, you’ve still got Smith Westerns and now there’s you guys and The Orwells. Does it feel like the city’s an exciting place to be?
TP: It’s like the Chicago Fire all over again, no one will be spared. Haha, Chicago is absolutely an exciting music scene to be in at the moment, and has honestly felt that way for a long time. Even aside from the names that are breaking through more, there’s such a cohesive Chicago scene, with really great stuff in both the rap and rock scenes. NE-HI, Todays Hits, Sister Crystals, YAWN, Strange Faces, The Lemons, The Sueves, The Boxers, UnGnomes, White Mystery – all great Chicago bands who don’t fuck around. Joey Purp, Kami De Chukwu, Alex Wiley, Kembe X, Loudmouth, Carl, MC Tree… there are innumerable dope rappers coming up in Chicago as well.
NME: Are you happy to be mentioned alongside The Orwells ? Is there any rivalry there?
TP: No rivalry! The only competition within music is that within you and your own laziness. Those are our main dudes, and we’re just happy to see them doing so well and enjoying themselves. Not to mention making killer tunes!
NME: Is that story about you guys going to school with Chance true? He bigged you up recently in the magazine, which I thought was cool.
TP: Yeah, Cadien and Jack went to high school with Chance. He was a year older than us, and over the course of the three years we were in school together we ended up getting tighter and spending a lot of time together. We had a crew at Jones [high school] that us and Chance were in called “DOC Squad” — “Dudes On Chief.” He shouts out DOC in ’10Day’ track ‘Windows’. We got arrested for truancy and smoking weed within too close a distance to school property — Cadien and Chance got ten day suspensions for weed and Jack got a three day suspension for tobacco. Cadien had the weed, Chance was holding the spliff, Jack just had cigarettes when the school cop came up. Chance is the man! We love you Chance.
NME: Speaking of which: a fair amount of your lyrics seem to be about weed – right?
TP: Depends what you consider fair. Hehe, dat weed is goooood.
NME: How surprised were you when so many people started picking up on ‘Stand In The Sand’ and ‘Irene’?
TP: Clay said, “About fucking time…” Haha. Naw, we were stoked! We knew we had it in us but it was awesome to see the response building.
NME: Did you push it at all or was it more of a natural thing where the hype built organically?
TP: We were definitely pushing ourselves from the moment we self-released ‘Sunken’, setting up our own tour and doing the ‘Stand in the Sand’ video without a budget with our amazing friend Ryan Ohm. It all seemed to happen in a very natural, grassroots way. A lot of the hype seemed to build from our live shows. Things certainly picked up more when we re-released ‘Sunken’ through Autumn Tone and there was a plan around the release last summer though.
NME: Where was the video for ‘Stand In The Sand’ filmed? Who are all the other people in it?
TP: We did it in three locations: The Heartland Stand In The Sand [a cafe in Rogers Park], an abandoned candy factory, and in the boiler room (shouts to Ben). The other people in the video were just all our buddies who could make it out, the people we spend time with on the regular. Just your basic mix of sport-o’s, motorheads, geeks, sluts, buds, wasteoids, dweebies and dickheads. Just a bunch of righteous dudes.
NME: ‘Sunken’ is as lo-fi as they come – did you record it that way on purpose?
TP: It was partly purposeful, and partly a by-product of the environment and gear we recorded with; we’ve always been a fan of production on the lo-fi end of the spectrum, but we also were recording in Cadien’s concrete basement with two condenser mics onto Garageband, so our ability to make it sound much cleaner was prohibited. We were happy to have the restriction though, without a doubt.
NME: You’ve got a couple of different vocalists too – do you subscribe to that Beatles thing of ‘whoever sings it wrote it’?
TP: Absolutely. But were not opposed to having Ringo sing some shit of ours he didn’t write.
NME: I know you’re in the studio at the moment – what’s going down?
TP: We’re working at a studio in Chicago called the Observatory, recording songs for our second album. We’ve got our friend Andrew behind the boards, he’s worked on records from our buddies in the [local label/collective] FeelTrip crew of bands like Sister Crystals, Blind Moon and YAWN. We’ve got a bunch of other friends coming through to hang while we record and some end up playing some parts and giving feedback, it’s been a really fun time. We’ve never worked in a studio before and it’s been really fun and exciting.
NME: What can we expect from the new material? The new songs on YouTube and the Shea Stadium bootleg sound amazing. Track 2/3 on the Shea recording reminded me of Thin Lizzy.
TP: We’re throwin’ down on the rock, there’s a lot more variety and dynamics goin’ on. It’s all over the place — it’ll have some balls-to-the-wall Stones shit, some Beatles-esque arrangements and production, some Beach Boys vibes, some Jay-Rea bangers… It’s gonna be rad. We’re psyched for everyone to hear it.
NME: Speaking of which – any British bands (old or new) you dig?
TP: Oooh yeah. We bloody adore them blokes The Stones, and The Beatles and Zeppelin boys as well. All that British shit from the 60s and 70s, man there must been something in the water in those days. You ever listen to Clash lyrics? They don’t make any goddamn sense. The Damned, Buzzcocks, The Addicts – a bunch of badass bands who made some great records. And let’s not forget about that tosser Bowie and that pissant Bolan. Honestly, the wealth of good music and trends that have started in Britain can’t be explained. As far as new stuff, we don’t know tooo much… what’s going on over there guys? Also the Queen — we think she was an all around great American gal. Britain is rad. Sorry about that revolution business.
NME: So when can we expect to see you over here?
TP: Who’s paying?? We’ll be there tomorrow if you spot the plane tickets. Realistically, we’ll be rockin’ out for y’all in the fall, after this album is all done and we’ve done some more touring in the States for a bit.
Check out Twin Peaks on Facebook. Stream latest single ‘Flavor/Come Bother Me’ below: