By Mat Shiley
Following the first three shows of their tour, indie rock band Twin Peaks made a stop in their hometown of Chicago to give fans a taste of their new record, “Lookout Low.” The band was greeted with open arms as an intimate crowd of a few hundred packed into the aisles of Reckless Records’ Wicker Park storefront to catch a preview of the new album.
“Lookout Low” is Twin Peaks’ fourth studio album, and is the first of their records to be recorded live in-studio, as opposed to the track-by-track method utilized in their previous projects.
Twin Peaks has always prided themselves on the dynamic presence of their performances and has shown time and time again, with unrelenting consistency, the ecstatic nature of their live shows. This incessant energy does not, however, equate to conformity in sound and genre for the quintet; over the years, Twin Peaks has undergone genre-bending growth, dipping their toes into gospel, country-soul and Stones-esque rock n’ roll in their newest release.
Though Chicago will be getting the full experience when Twin Peaks plays the Riviera November 29, their intimate performance at Reckless was nonetheless electric and served as a teaser leaving fans itching for what’s to come.
Following their set at Reckless, I got a chance to sit down with Caiden James and Jack Dolan to get some life philosophy, an inside look at the new record and expectations of what fans may have to look forward to in the future.
Mat Shiley: What motivated the live record?
Jack Dolan: I think we have always been trying to bridge the gap between our live shows and the record — like, how they sound — and, you know, we have never really done it live before, so we thought that this would be the closest to that conclusion.
Caiden James: Yeah, we were definitely curious about it but not really sure if we were going to do it that way — but then we decided to work with this producer Ethan Johns, and he does everything with vocals live and it was kind of like, “Alright, fuck it, let’s do it.” It gave us the push we needed.
MS: Are you happy with how it all turned out? Do you feel it accurately captured the energy of your live shows?
JD: It definitely met where we wanted it to be in that respect. It really feels like you are in the room with us, you know? Which is the whole point.
MS: Your records have really grown over time and a lot of people are saying your sound has matured and aged. What would you say inspired that change? Was it intentional or natural?
CJ: Well, it has been seven years, and that’s seven years of very important development, but a lot of it comes down to experience. We’ve been traveling for seven years, we’ve heard so much different music, we’ve gotten so much better as musicians and we’ve just never put ourselves in a box where we say, “We have to play music like this.” We always try whatever, so it’s really just developed a lot as we’ve developed.
JD: Yeah, and, you know, saying the record is “mature” is just an easy way of acknowledging the fact that we have had a really long career.
CJ: I saw an article the other day that said the problem with calling us “mature” is that it’s patronizing, and I had never thought of it that way.
JD: I mean but still, we are all like 25, so we are really as mature as we are going to get at this stage of the game, but still we’re the same people at the end of the day
MS: So in being as mature as you are going to get at this stage, where do you foresee the future of your music going from here?
JD: I think we are just going to take it as it comes. As Caiden said, we’ve never really sat down and tried to do something specific – it’s just kind of where we are at the moment. So, in the future, we are gonna keep making music regardless and it’s gonna evolve into different shit – and that’s just the goal, just keep making music that people like, and we can’t really nudge or sway anybody in a certain direction in that regard. We just have to be true to ourselves, at the end of the day.
MS: What are your biggest influences?
CJ: My biggest influences are my bros in the band. I mean, that’s cheesy; but for real, I think a lot of the time the music we write is, like, one person starts going a direction and then we all kind of conglomerate towards how we can write together to make it work. So that’s been an interesting thing to see happen over the last four records.
JD: Yeah, we’ve made records that we feel haven’t been completely cohesive in one coherent vein or vibe, so we are just constantly trying to get to a place where every actual record we put out sounds like every song is meant to be there, as opposed to the other way around, and we can always put out singles that show off our volatility and variety, too.
MS: Something unique to you guys is that the songwriting happens amongst all the members of your group. How would you describe your songwriting process?
CJ: A song is born with one person and comes out a little fucking baby, and you all care for the baby together. It’s like someone has some chords and some lyrics – and sometimes they have more, sometimes they have less, but we flesh it out together. You know, maybe there was an idea for a bass part but then Jack starts taking it further into another direction and then everything kind of gets a stamp from everyone as we are learning to play it together.
JD: This has been the first record where we sat with songs over months and kind of switched them up and just made them so that everyone was happy, and it seemed like the best it could be.
MS: So you guys have a show coming up in November here in Chicago; if you could tell your fans anything about the upcoming show, what would it be?
JD: It would be do not miss it because it is going to be fucking sick. You know, we did three really important shows for New Years last year and we just want people to know that this is gonna be even doper. It’s the place to be in Chicago on Black Friday instead of being at some Walmart or some dumb thing like that. It’s the first time we’ve played a big venue like that in Chicago.
CJ: It will be a historic moment.
“Lookout Low” is more than just another record for Twin Peaks; it is representative of the natural progression of their lives and the world around them, which will give way to even more genuine music in the future. Their musical evolution seems effortless — partially because it has been. Twin Peaks’ music sees no boundaries and captures the purest moments of their existence. They say that two heads are better than one, but when five great minds combine in the creation of music, we are left with something truly extraordinary.
Twin Peaks will be playing a show this Black Friday at The Riviera Theatre in Chicago.