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SPIN MAGAZINE: TWIN PEAKS ON ‘TWIN PEAKS’

Andrew Unterberger

October 20 2014, 4:13 PM ET

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 Neverending Storyreference. 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.

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!

(via SPIN)

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CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Twin Peaks is peaking at the right time

Twin Peaks is (from left) Connor Brodner, from left, Clay Frankel, Cadien Lake James, and Jack Dolan.

The four North Side Chicagoans in Twin Peaks still aren’t of legal drinking age, but they’ve got their act together: a do-it-yourself approach that has led to two albums, an international tour, a well-received appearance at the Pitchfork Music Festival over the summer and a sense of right guys-right place-right time serendipity.

"We feel fortunate," singer-guitarist Cadien Lake James says. "We have other friends who got the juice (individually) but can’t get together with other friends who got the juice."

Twin Peaks has “juice,” to borrow James colorful description, because he and guitarist Clay Frankel, bassist Jack Dolan and drummer Connor Brodner have a shared sense of purpose. Their latest album, “Wild Onion” (Grand Jury), takes the group from the charming basement dinginess of its 2012 debut into a more adventurous garage-rock sound that touches on everything from fuzz-soaked psychedelia and punk to ballads and baroque pop.

James grew up around music as the youngest of seven children. His father, Michael, owned the Heartland Café restaurant and music venue in Rogers Park for decades, one of his brothers gave him his first guitar, his sister was in a ’90s rock band, and another brother had a stint in the breakout Chicago band Smith Westerns. Little wonder James was making crude demos in his bedroom since he was in gradeschool. “I always had tunes,” he says matter-of-factly.

He and Dolan had played together on the open-mic scene for years and attended Jones College Prep, and later joined forces with Brodner and finally Frankel, who went to Lane Tech. They rehearsed regularly in the living room of a friend’s house in Ravenswood Manor. James was a high school junior when his brother Hal began drumming on tour with Smith Westerns. “They were touring with Jay Reatard and then jumped up to Fat Possum (record label),” he says. “I figured if those dudes can do it, I can no doubt do it.”

But besides gaining motivation, James was also learning about the music business from his brother’s experience in the band. “I took a lot away from watching them, and it helped me get my foot in the door. I hate to admit it, but the early reviews of our band in places like Pitchfork, they would bring up Smith Westerns. I realized a lot of this is connection based.”

After self-releasing the album, the four went to colleges on the West Coast. Then the Los Angeles-based indie label Autumn Tone offered a deal.

"After the first two weeks of school we knew we were going to drop out after the semester and do the band full-time," James says.

"Wild Onion" is several steps beyond the debut, with James, Dolan and Frankel all contributing songs and lead vocals, and the music ranging across an array of styles. The band self-produced again with help from friends, but this time the sound is cleaner and more expansive. Even with a few woodwinds and keyboards in the mix, the quartet doesn’t dilute its rough, raw appeal.

"When you have so many people out there saying (after the first album), ‘They suck, they just have a bunch of reverb on it,’ I’m going to show you," James says. He acknowledges that the dreamier feel of songs such as "Strange World" and "Ordinary People" was a risky move – "I thought people would be angry at us if we put on some soft stuff" – but eventually he and the band decided to present their multi-faceted sound from all angles.

"We put all these different songs on there to flow together, like you were making a mix tape for a girl you like," he says.

Though speculation is growing that the foursome will soon be joining their friends the Orwells in signing with a major label, James says they’re in no hurry. “Our goal is to retain what we’re doing, our enthusiasm, our style, and remember our roots, not get untouchable,” James says. “You see bands playing places like the Middle East or Africa, and I’d give anything for those opportunities – anything but compromise the music we’re making. I don’t think you’ll see us on a major label or anything – we’re too scuzzy for that.”

Though that’s debatable, James says he’s learned much by watching Chicago peers such as Alex and Francis White of White Mystery go about their business. “In our country, it’s structurally built in for kids to go to college. But there are other opportunities, other ways to make a living. Alex White is a great example – they (White Mystery) put out their own records, go to Europe, you can do it for yourself. You don’t need college and you don’t need a music industry to prop you up.”

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