Chicago rock band Twin Peaks has been at the forefront of the city’s vibrant music scene since their formation in 2010 and first record Sunken in 2013. Now about a decade into their careers, the five-piece outfit has switched up their usual recording process for something totally new with their latest release, this year’s spectacular Lookout Low. They’ve hit the road in support, and we caught up with singer and guitarist Cadien Lake James while the band was on the road in Texas to chat recording the album, why this specific tour is so fun for them and the band’s namesake.
On Tap: What has it been like being on the road and playing this new material from Lookout Low? How have fans been reacting?
Cadien Lake James: I think people are pretty engaged with it. We’re lucky to have fans who are pretty supportive of whatever we do. This stuff is just very tight because we recorded the record live, so we are really locked in as a band performing it. It’s pretty natural to bring that on to the stage.
OT: What can fans who plan to catch one of your upcoming winter shows expect from this tour?
CLJ: It’s been a really fun tour because it’s all Chicago bands. We’re all friends and I think that really comes across [in the] show. We’ve got a lot of people hopping into other people’s sets. We’ve got the gals from OHMME singing on a lot of our set with us, and they sang on the new record. It’s kind of a family affair, and everyone’s in their element having a blast.
OT: I know your recording process was pretty different from what you guys have done in the past. Can you tell me a little bit more about working on this record?
CLJ: It was just a total flip of the script. We always recorded [in an] instrument by instrument, one step at a time kind of way. But [for] this record, we worked with producer Ethan Johns and we did it all live, including vocals in the room. It was just what was happening in the moment: a band of guys playing songs. It was challenging but it was really fun to do, and we got cool results.
OT: Did you face any new challenges because of it?
CLJ: Yeah, definitely. But we’re pretty good at communicating. Once we all decided [to record] this way, it was [about] getting on the same page about working our asses off so that we wouldn’t have too many problems when I got up [to the studio]. We were definitely intimidated before we went to do it. But once we got there, most songs were done in the first one to five takes.
OT: Now that you’re back on the road and out of recording mode, has your tour routine changed at all?
CLJ: I just know that I don’t want to be hungover at a show anymore. It’s a little more adult.
OT: I feel like being in your mid-20s, for me at least, is the kiss of death as far as hangovers being horrible. I still don’t know why that is.
CLJ: That seemed like a big turning point for me this year.
OT: Do you still get people asking you why you’re called Twin Peaks at this point in your career? Did you see the rumors about an apparent season four of director and cult icon David Lynch’s show of the same name and how do you feel about it?
CLJ: Yeah. I feel regret [laughs]. No, just kidding. People still ask about the name, for sure. It is what it is. But I love the show and I hope [David Lynch] does more. I think there’s always more to delve into the story there. Other than me liking the show, no one’s really delved into the name and otherwise, it really has nothing to do with us. We thought it was a cool name when we were 16.
OT: I’m a huge fan of the show, so when I first started listening to your music, the name was a big draw for me. I think you’ve gained fans that way, too.
CLJ: See, that’s good. Yeah. I think it goes both ways. Some people are like, “F–k those guys for doing that.” And some people are like, “Oh, that’s cool.”
OT: Maybe one day your paths will cross with David Lynch and you can tell him what a fan you are.
CLJ: Actually, Connor [Brodner, drummer] rode in an elevator with David Lynch.
OT: Was it brought up at all?
CLJ: Uh, no. Apparently, they didn’t talk [laughs].
Twin Peaks play the Black Cat on Wednesday, December 11 with fellow Chicagoans Lala Lala and OHMME. Tickets are $20 in advance, and doors open at 7:30 p.m. For more on the band and their new record Lookout Low, visit www.twinpeaksdudes.com.
Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC; 202-667-4490; www.blackcatdc.com