Chicago garage-rock band Twin Peaks is one of the rare and magical examples of how following your most improbable dreams can lead to greater success than finishing up that college degree. At just 21 years old, the members left school a couple years ago to exchange student loans for nation-wide tours and several albums. On Friday, May 29, at 8 p.m. the band will bring their magic to Santa Barbara’s Velvet Jones.
In anticipation of their upcoming show, I talked with bassist Jack Dolan about the band’s upcoming work and the gutsy decisions they have made to get to where they are today.
You’re on a nationwide tour right now. How long have you guys been on the road for?
We went on our first tour was when we were 18. We’d just graduated high school. We’re 21 now, so it’s been about three years. The next spring, when we had fully left school, we started touring again and really decided to go for it with this band. Leaving college was risky, but it was the best decision we’ve ever made.
So you guys got signed while you were still in school?
Yeah. We self-released our first album right when we graduated high school and did a DIY tour to promote it. That tour was going to be the last thing we all did together before we went off to college. But right before we left, [the label] Autumn Tone made us an offer. It was kind of crazy having the expectation that we would all go to college and carry it through and then suddenly being given another option.
But you guys went to Evergreen college, right? Did that push you toward pursuing music/how did that affect your transition into music? Yeah, it’s the kind of school that really builds your confidence and empowers you to do what you want to do. We all went [to Evergreen] except Clay, who went to USC, but we left after three months. But school was expensive, and I figured “what am I gonna do with this?”
Being out there and experiencing the college lifestyle definitely influenced our music a lot. It had a completely different vibe from Chicago–more hippie-ish and folky. We played as a three-piece band out there to pass the time, and we actually broke into the scene there very quickly.
Your band just released Wild Onion in 2014 and Sunken the year before that. Are you trying to put out an album every year now?
That’s pretty much the plan! We get so bored once we are finished with a record; we want to do another one immediately. We want to keep getting better, so we’re always antsy to get back in the studio.
So are you going to release another album this year? Yeah, we hope to! This next one will sound very different, production-wise. We’re going out to our buddy’s mansion in Connecticut to record the new album ourselves, so it’ll go back to some of the quality of Sunken, but it will keep some of the shine of Wild Onion. You should be able to make out all the words (laughs).
Why did you choose to do this one yourselves? Sunken was recorded in a basement when we were teenagers. We really liked how Wild Onion came out, but we wanted something a little more homey and natural. We thought of going out to our buddy’s mansion in the middle of nowhere and really taking the time to make something special, not just being in a studio in the city and scheduling studio sessions and figuring all that out. We want to be out there and have total freedom to do our thing.
So you’re writing on the road, at college, and in Connecticut. Is your music affected by where you’re writing it?
Yeah, but since we are moving around all the time, my songwriting is more affected by the atmosphere of being on the road, playing shows all the time, and getting that one moment of silence to get out everything that’s been in my head all day.
411: Twin Peaks plays Friday, May 29, 8 p.m. at Velvet Jones (423 State St.). Modern Vices and Nick Hessler open. For tickets and info, call (805) 965 8676 or visit velvet-jones.com.