Chicago garage punks Twin Peaks have been pals since they were grade school kids, and began blasting forth their buoyant brand of fizzy rock since they were barely out of junior high in 2010, with two quickly recorded, speedily running albums — the dreamy, cloudy "Sunken" and the cutting, clarion "Wild Onion." Guitarists Cadien Lake James and Clay Frankel wrote most of their band's terpsichorean tracks with bassist Jack Dolan on vocals. For their new album, however, "Down in Heaven," Twin Peaks slows things — yet hope you'll mosh just as hard when they come to your town. Dolan spoke in-between tour dates about all Peaks.
You guys have a nice trajectory of an album every two years. Does this come down to contractual obligation or, is a seasonal thing, like, it's spring, so the swallows must fly to Capistrano?
It's good combination of urge and habit. We could probably put together enough material to make an album or two every year because all four songwriters are writing almost all the time. You just have to play the game and take time to promote and tour on a record for a while.
I know you didn't get the band name from the David Lynch series. Since naming yourselves though, have you ever run across Lynch or any of his people?
We haven't had any kind of legal altercation or anything. He's very gracious with us actually. We played his club in Paris last February and then did a cover of "In Dreams" by Roy Orbison with Tennis at the David Lynch Foundation fundraiser concert in LA, both of which were cool and a little bit scary. When we named ourselves Twin Peaks, no one thought we'd end up playing in front of the creator of the actual show in a big auditorium in LA someday. Who knows though, when the new season comes on we may be in some real trouble.
You went to school with Chance the Rapper. Were you close friends? You keep in touch?
Yeah I met him at Jones when I was a freshman. When I got moved to my sophomore math class, he was one of the only dudes I could talk to. We had a friend group that mostly came together 'cause we all smoked pot and thought we were kinda too cool for everyone else haha. Long story short, we happened to get caught up with him, and got suspended. It's just a funny side note now. The first time we had seen him in a while we watched him play in front of a sea of people but he was the same dude. He does so much and still has the time to say what's up and catch up which is awesome. We're very proud of him.
Your first album "Sunken" was kind-of nervous, hazy garage pop and "Wild Onion" was more straight ahead, clean and self-assured. Would you say that the trajectory therein was more personal than it was musical growth?
Honestly I think it mostly just comes down to the fact that Sunken was made in Cadien's basement with GarageBand and Wild Onion was made in a studio. I still love how they both sound. They mark two pretty different times in our lives.
Do those older songs of yours seem close since you guys have been together for a minute, or do they seem like a lifetime away?
We still open up with "Stand In The Sand" at our shows, a "Sunken" song. The old songs are definitely our little babies we've watched grow all this time. I think it's reassuring for fans to see you open with an old hit that you can get crazy to. You're no longer like, "Oh man, that new record sounds a little chiller. Can I mosh to this?" and we're like, "Yes, this is still a rock show, so let's go."
What was the first song written for "Down in Heaven" that would come to push the agenda of the rest of the album?
I had an instant feeling when I first heard the demo to "Walk to the One You Love." I feel like we wanted to run with that. Other Clay songs I remember working on early, like "Cold Lips" or "Wanted You," had a clear vibe to it. It was classic Cadien-Clay, but so throwback I could hear it right away. I based the songs I wrote for the record off of those few songs.
You talk about heaven quite a few times on the new album. Are you religious at all?
No, not really. Not in any specific sense. Heaven is just heaven. Have you tried LSD?
I don’t believe this, but I saw one critique of" Down in Heaven" as your tribute to the 60s, icons like the Beatles, the Kinks and the Rolling Stones. Do you care about those guys?
Obviously yeah, we love those bands, but I don't know, I think people look too far into that fact. There's no shrine in the studio or anything like that. I don't think any of us are actively trying to sound like anything in particular either, but we definitely give our take on old school rock n roll.
If you go:
Wednesday, May 18, The Sinclair, 52 Church Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA, 617-451-7700, www.sinclaircambridge.com
Friday, May 20, Boot & Saddle, 1131 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia PA. 267-639-4528, www.bootandsaddlephilly.com
Tuesday May 24, Music Hall Of Williamsburg, 66 N. Sixth Street, Brooklyn, NY. 718-486-5400, www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com
Wednesday, May 25, Bowery Ballroom, 6 Delancy Street, New York, NY, 212-505-3210, www.boweryballroom.com