Twin Peaks on 'Twin Peaks': Garage-Rock Band Talks Their Namesake Program
Plenty of artists have been inspired by the early-’90s cultural phenomenon that was Twin Peaks, but only one went so far to actually name themselves after the show. Of course, Twin Peaks the band borrowing the title of Twin Peaks the show was a little bit of a red herring — the garage-rock wunderkinds’ throwback sound has little in common with the spooky, ethereal pop that soundtracked the David Lynch series, and in fact, none of the band’s members had seen the show when they came up with the name. Still, when it was announced that Twin Peaks will return for a third season in 2016, there was only one band we wanted to discuss the comeback with.
Despite being on the road with his bandmates, singer Cadien James was good enough to humor our Twin Peaks-related questions — though the group did stop to get a pepperoni pizza at a gas station midway through our discussion — and also talk a little bit about living at home, hopes for the Chicago Bulls’ upcoming season, and the band’s own Nuggets-worthy sophomore album, Wild Onion.
Do you guys just dread whenever the show Twin Peaks is in the news? When the third season was announced, were you like, “Oh great. Now a bunch of assholes are going to ask us about the show again”?
It’s kind of funny, we just get a bunch of extra press when that happens, which isn’t our intention. Luckily, no one’s talking shit about us right now, so that’s chill. I’m pretty stoked for this show. I’m actually not feeling too nervous. I got some trust for my boy D. Lynch.
So, you guys hadn’t seen the show when you came up with the name, right? You just thought it sounded cool because your brother was watching it?
Yup, that’s the truth.
But you’ve watched it since, right?
I’ve seen it since.
Do you have a favorite character or favorite moment or anything?
Audrey Horne! I also super get down with Bobby, and I get down with Cooper. Dale Cooper is, like, the best ever. Mulder on X-Files was trying to cop that swag. He’s like open about it, “I was just trying to be like Dale Cooper.” He’s an influential character, man.
When the third season comes out, do you want it to be more like another mystery, or do you just want it to be a bunch of trippy dream sequences?
I’m not sure what I want because I don’t know what to expect. I mean, Mark Frost is putting out this book next year that’s supposed to explain what happened to all the characters in the last 25 years so. I hope for some answers but I don’t expect many answers. I think they’ll probably just find another way to keep the spirit of Bob alive and returning to Twin Peaks. But knowing Lynch, I mean, how he did Fire Walk With Me and how it was totally separate from the show, I wouldn’t be surprised if it could be slightly different vibes.
I bet you it’s gonna be, like, HD cameras at night, like all the new shows are anyway. I wish that wasn’t the case. I hope it looks like the old one but I don’t expect it to. Shit like that, you know. I can get upset about production in music and shows. I like it to not look too clean or sound too clean.
When you watched it the first time, did you know who killed Laura Palmer going in or was it a complete surprise?
I didn’t. Lucky me. It made it so it was really exciting watching it the first time through, but then watching the first episode again after seeing the whole season was such an intense experience for me. Heavy, man. There was some shit going down. It’s really creepy.
Do you guys regret naming yourself after Twin Peaks?
No. I’m not too worried about it if that’s the name of this band.
Does it make you guys hard to Google or look up on Twitter?
Maybe until they just announced [the new season]. I know we were still on the first page of Google Search, so it’s not hard to find the band. You just add “band” to your search and we come up, so if someone wants to find us, it’s not hard. People know how to use computers nowadays. It doesn’t really worry me. We’re not too excited about many things and it was a cool-sounding name. We rolled with it, we got it now so it doesn’t really make sense to change it. David Lynch hasn’t given us a cease and desist. You know, we like to record a lot of old music too. We’re a band of novelty and reference to a certain extent. It kind of fits.
What’s the most annoying fan interaction you’ve gotten about the band name?
I dunno. I don’t get annoyed by much of it anymore. I get annoyed when people like won’t listen to our band because its name is Twin Peaks. I don’t ever see that in person, but you’ll see people write shit about us here or there like “There’s a band named Twin Peaks? Fuck that. I’ll never listen to them” kind of shit. It doesn’t really matter, but it’s just like, “Oh man, you’re missing out.”
Would you guys consider doing a song from Twin Peaks, or doing some tie-in with the new season?
I mean, actually, one of the tracks on our first album, "Ocean Blue," I originally had a version of it where I sampled the Twin Peaks theme. But when I realized we were gonna use [the name] for the band, quickly I decided not to do that kind of shit. We try to not get too close to the show, because at that point, having the [same] name would be kind of a big deal.
You guys are not particularly fond of Fall Out Boy, correct?
No, not particularly fond.
Because they also kind of named their band after an arcane TV reference on a whim. I was wondering if you felt any kind of kinship with them.
Yeah, man, you know, Atreyu, we’re not fond of them either, but a Neverending Story reference. I guess they’re both deep cuts, you gotta see it to know.
So was "Wild Onion"just a phrase you guys liked or was there some deeper meaning there?
That’s a reference to Chicago. Chicago came from a French-Indian word shikaakwa, which means wild onion or wild shrub. You learn that in school in Illinois. My mom actually suggested the name and we were like “That’s pretty clever,” and we were about it. We were looking for something nature-y and goofy.
I was wondering if maybe you guys were trying to pattern it after Wild Honey. I know you guys are Beach Boys and Beatles fans.
Absolutely! We copped the font of that, the same like, album font. That’s one of my favorite Beach Boys records.
You guys went from eight songs on the first record to 16 songs on this album. Is the next one gonna be 32?
It probably won’t be 32, but it could be. That’s not a bad idea. We got enough songs. I’m a fan of double LPs. I love the White Album. I kinda get down with Foxygen, they just put out this double LP. I was just checking just it out in the van the last few days, definitely into it. I love the way they self-recorded it too, it sounds fucking awesome. But, you know, the longer run time worked out this time around. We kinda half-wanted it to be a double LP, but it all fit on one LP, so.
Which video did you have more fun filming: "Flavor" or “I Found a New Way?”
I think “Found a New Way.” With all our homies there, chilling. It’s pretty chill.
The homage to The Sandlot in that is great. Are you guys pretty big baseball fans?
I’m probably the least baseball fan. Jack’s an all-around sports fan, he follows all that shit. Connor’s a baseball fan too. I’m just a basketball fan really.
Are you a Bulls fan? How do you feel about the upcoming season, about Derrick Rose?
I actually just saw D-Rose play for the time in a pre-season game. He’s looking good, man. He’s fucking fast. I’m excited. We’ve got some newbies playing and it might take a little bit to get the chemistry all the way, but people are killing it. Jimmy Butler is fucking incredible. We’re apprehensive about [Pau] Gasol, but I know he’s gonna kill it. He looked a little rusty on the court but it was also a pre-season game. He’s fucking got a ring. He’s probably pretty damn good. He’s better than [Carlos] Boozer, so that’s good. I’ll tell you what, when Jimmy Butler, D-Rose and Noah are all on the court together, that’s just fucking great. See what happens with this season, but man, they’re looking fucking good out there together.
I read somewhere that you’re saving your tour money to buy your own house when you turn 27 or at least you saw someone else that did that and thought that it was a good idea — how is that going?
Not well man. But you know, I’m gonna have to live at my Mom and Dad’s house. I’m a homebody and rural baby so I like being there, being at home and just hanging out. Yeah you know, I’m hoping we break the big dollars and I can buy me a house, but I don’t see that happening in my life, at all. I think I’ll live at home forever. For better or for worse.
You have a favorite TV show that’s on right now?
Yeah well I fucking, I get down with Game of Thrones ‘coz I’m a nerd. But also I super got down with True Detective. We were just watching Southern Justice in a motel the other night. That’s one of my new favorite shows. It’s like COPS but with more drama.
If you could change your band name from Twin Peaks to Southern Justice would you do it?
Yo dude! That would be a dope band name, actually. That’s up my alley, man!
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Aquarium Drunkard » Catching Up With Twin Peaks :: The Aquarium Drunkard Interview
Twin Peaks’ 2013 debut Sunken, issued by Aquarium Drunkard’s sister label Autumn Tone, was a tight, fuzzy blast of garage rock. It was a brief, but powerful, statement from a couple Chicago kids inching toward their twenties.
Wild Onion the band’s 2014 LP for Grand Jury, takes the promise of their first expands it outward. Originally conceived as a double album, that standard hallmark of lofty rock & roll ambition, a (barely) older and wiser Twin Peaks pared the selections down to 16 essential songs, crisscrossing blown-speaker verve with jangling pop, snotty attitude with lovelorn gazes.
“We had so many songs, we were having trouble pinpointing what we wanted to do, trying to narrow it down,” says Peaks’ guitarist/songwriter Cadien Lake James. “We were like, ‘Fuck it, we don’t have it narrowed down yet, that’s not who we are at this point.’ We’re just some dudes who like all sorts of rock & roll, and we span genres, and it just made more sense to put it all on the album. We tried to make it like a mixtape, where the songs could be very different, but flow together.”
Wild Onion indeed plays like an expertly-curated mixtape, with songwriters James, plus guitarist/singer Clay Frankel and bassist/singer Jack Dolan, and drummer Connor Brodner, cranking out cocksure jammers like “I Found a New Way,” and balancing them against chorus-laden dream ballads like “Strange World.” Not to be outdone, “Stranger World” layers synths and saxophone, right before giving way to classic a jangle pop stunner, “Telephone.” Despite the variety, and despite that fact that the songs are the result of three distinct songwriters, Wild Onion sounds remarkably cohesive, held together by energetic youthfulness and unceasing melodies.
“For us, what it always comes down to is it’s us playing the songs,” James says. “If we’re all playing together it’s going to sound like us. Because we dig each other’s songs, and we dig putting it all together.”
Citing acts like Exile-era Stones, the Oblivions, and Jay Reatard (James’ “favorite artist for a year or two”), the band struck a balance between cutting tracks live, to retain maximum energy, and layering and building compositions through overdubs, a tactic employed by inspirations like Tame Impala and Mac DeMarco.
“There were four of five tracks [including] ‘Flavor’ and ‘Sloop Jay D’ with all the instruments live,” James says. “But, growing up as someone who started recording to Garageband, always building stuff up from the bottom, that’s still sort of how I approach it. I’m intrigued by people who are doing it that way.”
Tellingly, the band traces its roots back to elementary school, and the though the band’s songwriters have begun to explore individual directions, they continue to draw on connections established early on.
“As much I don’t like being considered a pop-punk band…it’s something when you’re first getting into guitars in elementary school, that’s something that surrounds you,” James laughs. “As much as we’ve grown out of it, it shows itself if you really look deep. It’s like, ‘How can we be energetic and punk when we’re actually soft boys?’” James laughs, but Wild Onion suggests they’ve figured it out. words / j woodbury
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