“Back porch, county stomp, reefer road, liquor swamp, rock & roll,” said Cadien James of Chicago-based band Twin Peaks, when asked to describe the group’s latest effort, Down in Heaven. The album, released in May of 2016, is high in energy and low in reservations, a truly youthful amalgamation of power-pop, garage-rock and a dash of fuzzed-out country, with previously cited influences from The Beatles to The Strokes. Given the energy encapsulated within the studio recording of the album, it’s probably safe to trust James when he says to expect “a packed house, a monstrously powerful set from Post Animal and then a barn burner hosted by ya boys.” Echoing the sentiment offered by the band’s Twitter account, he adds: “And certainly a few ‘Fuck Trump!’s.”
Asked about the band’s presence on social media — they often tweet for weed plugs at their different stops, and share political commentary — James says he appreciates it as a way to connect with fans and even other bands (see: their banter with fellow Chicagoans Whitney on Twitter). This connection seems important to the band’s live set. When he performs, James’s goal is “to have a good time on stage playing with my friends. I want to be synced, shaking my body, nailing songs. This ideally feeds the audience … which in turn feeds back into us, creating a linked existence between the entire room,” James said.
This past summer, Twin Peaks opened for Portugal. The Man and Cage the Elephant — “our first time playing arenas,” notes James — and just wrapped up a leg through Europe with Cage The Elephant. We touch briefly on some tour memories, and James remembers a stop they made in Montana.
“There were turkey running all over the property, and we saw quite a number of shooting stars laying out in the field at night,” James said. “It was awesome.” He also recounts meeting a pimp (“We had no intention of soliciting sex and didn’t.”) and being locked out of his room, naked, at a Motel Six.
Given their laid-back, easygoing nature and high energy — I can personally attest, having been kicked in the face the last time I saw them — this is a can’t miss, and apparently Ann Arbor knows it. The show is sold out online, but The Blind Pig (where the band is playing) sells tickets at the door to early-comers. With fluff questions out of the way, I also wanted to pose some more serious inquiries to James, which are included below. Relate, or don’t. Either way, you owe this band a listen.
What are you listening to right now?
I've been listening to Sampha’s new record and Solange’s new record a lot. Also I’m in a Brian Eno wormhole. And CAN. And Miles Davis. And Dehd. And Blaze Foley.
Any comment on the upcoming “synth voyage”? Do you see yourselves headed in a particular direction in the near future?
No comment, I haven’t gotten a synth yet, I just really want to experiment with one. It’s all the Brian Eno. The singles from December are cuts we didn't put on the record but still liked. We got all sorts of songs and ideas and we'll probably explore all sorts of avenues. We don't chain ourselves down.
Sing or dance?
Best Sandler film of the 90’s?
I’m crazy and haven’t seen most of them unlike the rest of the band, I’m sorry. I suck. “Wayne’s World” is my favorite movie though, on a totally unrelated note.
Couch or sofa?
Sofa is softer right?
Pop or soda? (Soda pop?)
Soda. Grape soda.
Favorite Kanye song?
“Devil In a New Dress.”
What’s going to happen on season 3 of “Twin Peaks”?
Coop gonna be evil dude whooping ass in Las Vegas, there’s going to be alternate dimensions/timelines revealed. “Twin Peaks” “Caught between two worlds.” There’s gonna be more investigation into the Ghost Wood forest. There's gonna be alien stuff. This is all speculation.