The Shook Twins play The Mill on May 23. — photo via Shook Twins
Hailing from Sandpoint, Idaho and currently operating out of Portland, Oregon, the Shook Twins — identical twin sisters Katelyn and Laurie Shook, backed by Niko Slice, Barra Brown and Josh Simon — will be performing at the Mill on 23 May, starting at 8 p.m. Featuring intricate folk harmonies accompanied by a variety of American music styles (ranging from folk to funk), the Shook Twins have been widely praised for their live performances. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Katelyn took some time to answer questions for LV over email recently.
How would you describe the genesis of your music? What motivates how songs come together — from lyrics to melodies to instrumentation?
Well our music has constantly changed and grown over the years we have been performers and writers. The thing that motivates and inspires us to have these growth spurts I suppose is mostly the music we are immersing ourselves in at the current moments. We strive to let what inspires us to come through our music without stealing anything exactly, we always digest those sounds we like, and then spit them out as our own. The lyrics always reflect what’s currently happening in our lives.
What do you think makes your approach to music distinct from other bands that you’ve toured with?
I don’t think our approach is distinctly different than other bands’, but we just play whatever makes us feel things. Whether it’s a cover or an original, the song needs to create a positive and vibe-y reaction within us. I assume all other bands do this too, but different sounds make people feel different things!
What is it that you try to add to a live performance that you’re unable to create in the studio? In other words, how have you found that your songs evolve?
Playing our songs live gives them a whole different life than they have on a recording. We really try to let our audience know who we are at our performances: by what we say in between songs and by the emotion we convey in person when we sing these songs they’ve heard out of a stereo. We’ve started inserting cover songs into our originals during shows which is an unexpected twist!
In what ways do you find it liberating to cover songs rather than playing your own?
We love covering songs — especially songs written by our friends. It’s liberating because this beautiful song already exists, and instead of taking so much energy to create the song from scratch, we can take that same amount of energy and just focus on OUR personal arrangement of the song. It’s so fun to do that.
What is it that excites you most about the direction that you’ve been taken in your most recent work?
What excites me the most is this groove we have finally found in our music. It’s much more obvious and defined now in our songs. Over the years we have found that groove to be the most important part of music for us.
In what ways are you continuing to challenge yourselves to grow as musicians and performers?
This side project called SideBoob, which is an all-woman band that covers ’90s pop songs, has been a great challenge. Learning to sing and play all these iconic songs is really quite hard and has pushed our playing and our singing for sure! Laurie is the “drummer” for this project so, that has really helped her time-feel, and you really have to try hard to pull off Whitney Houston and Mariah!