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Interview: Jack Dolan of Twin Peaks on the influence of Chicago

Written by
Cynthia Robinson

Of all the garage rock acts that have risen through Chicago's music scene, Twin Peaks has aged the most gracefully. Casting off the hazy power chords of its 2012 debut, the group's latest album, Down in Heaven, doubles down on bluesy, classic rock-indebted songs. The record demonstrates maturity with its weighty, lovelorn lyricism but clings tightly to the relatively youthful perspective of its creators. Ahead of a free Tumblr IRL show at Chicago's Moonlight Studios, Twin Peaks bassist and vocalist Jack Dolan spoke with us about the band's deep to connection to Chicago and the city's influence on the group's music.

You've been playing shows in Chicago for a while now—what are your favorite venues?

When we first started playing shows in Chicago we were 16, so we played way more house shows and parties than actual venues. Those were our favorite because they're always kind of unpredictable and chaotic. Plus, our friends could actually come and get drunk and party which we couldn't do anywhere else. It taught us how to play in the absolute worst conditions and bring the house down while we did it.

Do you still get to play some of the DIY spots you came up in?

Unfortunately both Animal Kingdom and Wally World are gone now, which is really sad. Clay actually lived in Animal Kingdom for a while, so that kind of became my second crib for a summer. It just feels good to be in a place where you feel like you can get down with everyone around you. Everyone is there to drink, listen to some music, and do it for cheap. Things change though, and it kind of seems like good DIY spots are becoming a little more rare these days. Most of those great ones were in Logan Square, which is transforming and sadly taking all the house shows with them. Keep your eyes and ears out this summer though, new spots always pop up.

You've listed David Bowie and Jay Reatard as influences in the past. What local Chicago acts that have influenced you?

Bands like White Mystery, the Yolks, Heavy Times. Those were the bands that we wanted to be like, not like real arena rock stars. We just wanted to play cool shows like them and they helped us do it. That's kind of the essence of that community. Seeing a couple underage kids that would otherwise have no real business hanging out at these spots and saying "Hey, fuck it, let's give 'em a shot." Everyone wants to be supportive and now we try to do the same.

What's your favorite show you've ever played in the city?

We played our record release show [recently]. That was special for all of us. To be three records deep at this point and having just toured the world these past few weeks, it was the perfect homecoming for us. We're proud to have achieved so much at this point, so every Chicago show feels more like a celebration now. It feels good to share those moments with our people.

What shows are you looking forward to playing this summer?

Pitchfork is always a highlight so we're definitely excited to play that. We opened up the fest at like 12:30pm two years ago so it's cool to get a later slot and move up a level. We've never played Bonnaroo either and I've heard good things. Mostly we're just excited for the nice weather!

What makes your new record, Down in Heaven, the definitive Twin Peaks release?

This is probably our most sincere album. It's very honest and it's got a lot of things to say. We also got to spend a lot more time working on this record than we've ever had which allowed us to get it sounding exactly how we wanted it to.

Twin Peaks play a free (with RSVP) Tumblr IRL show at Moonlight Studios on June 2 at 4:30pm. 

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