Big things are afoot for Chicago-based quartet, Twin Peaks. 2014 saw the release of the band’s second musical offering Wild Onion, and it’s clear that this motley crew of lo-fi rock’n’roll lads are causing a bit of a stir in the music world. Comprising of Connor Brodner, Jack Dolan, Clay Frankel and Cadien Lake James, Twin Peaks have already been championed by the likes of Zane Lowe and NME. Their success, alongside the vast quantity of music they’ve already released, makes it hard to believe these boys are a mere twenty one years of age.
A mixture of psychedelic ‘60s rock and grungy garage punk, the Twin Peaks boys definitely have a casual attitude towards the categorisation of their music, something that’s mirrored in their albums and outstanding live shows. After dropping out of school and forming the band back in 2009, the boys have released an incredible amount of material in a short space of time, with 2012 seeing the release of their debut album Sunken, followed up two short years later by Wild Onion.
While Sunken sees Twin Peaks introducing themselves in a ‘no fucks given’ manner, Wild Onion is very much a work of progression, although it still retains the band’s youthful, and somewhat brash, ‘rock’n’roll’ mentality. Their first full-length release in the UK, Wild Onion boasts 16 songs-worth of raucous sound and melancholic musings, with standout tracks including ‘Flavor’ and ‘Telephone’. If this LP is not an iconic soundtrack to one’s youth, then who knows what is.
The Glasgow Guardian managed to catch up with the boys before their insane headline show, a somewhat rowdy affair at the Garage. Over a few pre-gig bevvies and a casual game of Wii Tennis, the guys talked us through all things Twin Peaks:
What’s Chicago like to grow up in?
Most of us met through school, except a couple of us knew each other as kids. It’s tight, you get all four seasons – it’s cold as hell in the winter, and it’s hot as hell in the summer. It’s a good city, with a lot of stuff to do. Its big, you meet people from all over. [There’s a] good music scene, once we got older and got in to that. Its rock and roll all the time, some tasty cold beers, hot dogs, pizza.
How did the name Twin Peaks come about?
We hadn’t seen [the series] prior; [we] knew it was a TV show, but just thought it was a cool name. I thought it was like a really small show, didn’t realise it was going to be a huge cult thing. What’s in a name anyway?
How would you describe the sound of the band?
Rock and roll. It could be many things, and we are many things, you know? There’s a lot of subsections, when you’re playing rock and roll, you can go into any subsection. It’s a lot easier [defining] other bands when you’re trying to describe them, but I try to avoid ‘describing the book’, and just read it.
Wild Onion was released in September last year – what is the usual Twin Peaks song-writing process?
We’d been on the road for like almost two years before we went in the studio to record it and we’d been working a lot on these songs, and I had them floating around. So then we were showing everybody some songs and figured out what we wanted to record. We tour all the time so we’re always getting tighter as a band, and maybe you’re in a different place musically at any given time, but you can always look back at things you haven’t used, and maybe you see it in a new light, and that’s exciting.
Jack, Clay and I [Cadien] all write songs; it’s just a matter of figuring out at the given time we’re going to record what songs we wanna use. At this point, it’s more about, we don’t even have time to record right now, which is something I don’t think we’ve ever experienced. It’s weird, ‘cos usually we spend so much time just bored in Chicago, but now everything’s been so busy.
Any favourite tracks off of Wild Onion?
They’re all fun. We like different songs at different times. Maybe ‘No Way Out’, or ‘Sweet Thing’. [The album] is an anthem of something in the past. We write about experience a lot. It’s us talking about shit that’s happened in Chicago, mainly about girls. I remember at some point I posted on Twitter saying something like ‘These songs are definitely about some chick’, and someone tweeted back saying ‘Aren’t all of your songs about that?’ That’s true. Even the title ‘Wild Onion’ is a loose translation for the original term for the Chicago-land area; we’re shaped by experiences, and we’re Chicago boys, so we got that vibe.
When you’re not on tour or writing new music, what are you guys up to?
Just regular people stuff, getting time back at home, hanging out with your buddies, drink a beer or two. [Song-writing] is something we always work on. When you’re on the road or not, we’ll be writing songs. At home, it’s usually catching up with friends, hanging out. I think more often now, since we’re on tour so much, when we are home it’s about finding time to record.
What’s an ideal Friday night for you guys back home?
Some college kids throwing a party, and they don’t know that we’re all coming, and we come and they don’t know who we are. We drink everything and fuck it up and then we leave.
How does touring in the UK compare with America?
It’s very similar. The cool thing is that [the UK] is so architecturally different. Half the shit you look at when you’re at a lot of these places are older than our country, so that’s pretty cool. You don’t see that much old architecture in the states. The UK’s been good, both the London shows we did were sold out, Manchester was very close to selling out; they were all dancing, having a good time. People have been very receptive.
An ideal show? A packed house, just having a good time, people interacting with us, us grooving.
Have you managed to see much of Glasgow?
No, not really. We arrived at like noon, did a session with Tenement TV and were up in that neighbourhood, which is pretty nice. [Cadien] I did that session and I was so fucking stoned, so I was fucking up like the entire time. It doesn’t happen too often, but sometimes some guy offers you a hit of the weed, and today I was like ‘Oh I shouldn’t have done that…’
Would you rather have a Glasgow kiss, a battered Mars bar, or some haggis?
A Glasgow kiss, it sounds nice. Unless it’s from a fat dude…Oh, it’s a headbutt? Now that I know, I would have said the battered Mars bar. I know it’s a delicacy, but definitely not the haggis. Sounds kind of gross.
Any funny tour stories?
We got really drunk in the van on the way up here, and started wrestling. We were wrestling in the back of the van; we got a bottle of Maker’s Mark whiskey, and drank the whole thing in about 45 minutes. Got a photo of us singing along to that Black Sabbath song ‘Changes’, just us all wasted in the back of the van, singing with so much passion…[Cue rendition] I [Cadien] was tearing up. I’ve always been a cry baby. The first time I did acid I could not stop crying. I picked up the guitar and I was at that point which I was laughing and crying the entire trip; I had to take off my tank top and use it as a snot rag.
What are your plans for 2015?
We’re on the road a bunch, playing a bunch of festivals in the States, hopefully back out here at some point. When we’ve got free time, we’ll be recording. We’ve a got 7” coming out in April, on Record Store Day actually.
Special shout out to the Pommes Frites girl. If you’re reading this, hit us up.
Wild Onion is available now.