Sean DeTore explores the world of music
the mixtape
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Photo: erynnrose.com

Shook Twins @ Tractor Tavern 9/13

Shook Twins, Laurie and Katelyn, make a brand of folk that has been dubbed "quirky folk" by many who have opened their ears to the music from these identical twins. I would have to agree. There aren't many folk bands out there that will, without warning, start beatboxing in the middle of a song or even bock like a chicken seemingly for no apparent reason. Simply put, Shook Twins know how to have fun and it translates to the stage whenever they play a show. Laurie and Katelyn even bring it during an interview. I had the chance to chat with them several months ago about music and things and when I asked them if they have a secret twin language the girls replied with an emphatic "yes!", and then went on to talk in that secret twin language. We also beat-boxed for each other. Listen to that chat here.

Aside from Shook Twins being really nice, fun and funny people, the duo's music is really great what with the girls intertwining gorgeous "twin" harmonies with an eclectic and eccentric blend of folk, roots and pop.

Shook Twins just released a new song/video premiere on Relix of "Holler It Down" from their forthcoming new album. The tune was written by violinist and band member Anna Tivel (Anna and the Underbelly) and videotaped as part of the "Humboldt Live Sessions" by Chuck Johnson in Humboldt County California. This past May the group headed into the studio with Grammy nominated producer Ryan Hadlock (The Lumineers, Milo Greene), and spent three weeks at Hadlock's renowned Bear Creek Studios in Woodinville WA. Shook Twins anticipate releasing the new material tentatively titled What We Do in Winter 2014.

I had the chance to catch up with Shook Twins in advance of their show this Friday at Tractor Tavern.

the mixtape: For your 3rd studio album you recorded with Grammy nominated producer Ryan Hadlock at his renowned Bear Creek Studios. What made you go with Ryan and Bear Creek Studios?

Shook Twins: We were searching out a few renowned producers for this album based on the music that they made. We knew we wanted to go big on this one. Ryan's work on The Lumineers and Milo Green albums is very impressive and we thought that it would work well with our music. Our manager contacted him, and he responded immediately with enthusiasm and that made the decision real easy for us. We wanted to work with someone who wanted to work with us!

tm: There's a video on your website of a recording session at Bear Creek Studios where one of your band mates describes a song called 'Crisper'. He says it's a song about when you two were 7 years old and would get money wet and put that money into books to make the bills look crisp. Tell me about that bit of childhood.

ST: We were strange kids. It troubles me a bit now to think about how much we cared about our money when we were 7. I think we had like $200 bucks, and we made sure to count and sort it and crisp it up quite often. We just wanted to buy those hedge hogs with some dignity and prestige I guess. I see little kids now that care about money, asking me how much money I have, or how much something costs, and it makes me a little sad. So that song is a bit about that, and how by putting "all the dollars in the big books," you "drain the worth right out of them."

tm: What did you do with any free time you had while you were recording in Woodinville? Did you get to explore the area at all? Explore Seattle?

ST: We did explore a little around the studio. Anna, Laurie and Russ took jogs around the area, and it's surrounded by meadows and beauty. We also went to Seattle a couple times on the weekends. But mostly we just chilled out at the studio, reading books, or jammin' tunes. It was so nice to just "be" and not do too much moving around or thinking.

tm: You have a brand new song called 'Holler it Down' which, if rumor is true, will be appearing on your upcoming record. Is there a theme to this new album and why did you choose 'Holler it Down' to be the first representation of the record?

ST: 'Holler it Down' is a song on the new album. It was written by Anna Tivel, our fiddle player, who is also an amazing songwriter who goes by Anna and The Underbelly. She passed this song off to us, because she said she always skipped over it on the set list during her solo shows, and never was fulfilled by singing it by herself. Now we all sing it together and it's glorious! This song is about "street youths" with a lot of imagery (her specialty). I wouldn't say that there is a theme to the album. Just a handful of our new songs that fell out of us at different times in our lives.

tm: What is your favorite thing to do to pass the time while you're on the road? Board games? Cards? Hula Hooping? Drinking yourselves stupid?

ST: We have luxurious tour vehicles. Our Mando/electric guitar player, Niko Slice, has a sprinter and our bass player, Kyle Volkman, has an old school bus that he has converted into a moving log cabin. Both have many beds. So needless to say, we do a lot of sleeping. We also like to look at instagram and see our homies' lives. We play solitaire, watch movies, edit tour videos and photos ya know.. the ushe.

tm: Do you ever use The Power of the Twin for evil? And, by evil, I mean fun. Playing jokes on band mates or something?

ST: Uh, what's the point of being a twin if ya don't mess with people! We used to switch classes in middle school and high school and katelyn got a C on a pop quiz and broke a bookshelf. Didn't make me look so good. And we tricked Katelyn's boyfriend one time when Laurie chopped her hair off in the bathroom one day. We only had him for like 10 minutes though. Our band mates know us too well to mess with them.

tm: Do you remember making or receiving a mixtape (on an actual cassette) at some point in your life? If so, which songs were on it or which songs did you put on it?

ST: Ha the good ol' mixed tape! I remember making one to rock in our '83 subie with some Dido, Eminem, Ben Harper, Steve Miller Band, and the like. That was the tape that I cut all the songs off at the end so i could maximize the tape space to fit all the hits. Brilliant idea!.

Tractor Tavern: SHOOK TWINS//HANNALEE, $10adv/$12dos ~ Tickets also available at Sonic Boom Records, Time: 9:30pm

Buy tickets here.

Sean DeTore,
Sean DeTore is the Associate Producer of KIRO Radio's The Ron and Don Show (weekdays 3-7). He's been with the guys for over 7 years.
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