The Shook Twins have been shaking the foundations of Americana music with their unique sound, firmly planted with influences drawing from folk, bluegrass, and even electronica. The group is fronted by twin sisters, Laurie and Katelyn Shook, and our very own Rex Thomson had the opportunity to sit down with Laurie ahead of their major US tour. Ms. Shook talks Jam Cruise, Hulaween, summer touring and a whole lot more in this new exclusive piece!

Read on and enjoy:

L4LM: So…What percentage of your interview questions are about being twins?

Laurie Shook:  A lot.  (Chuckles)  I guess like…twenty five percent of the questions…

L4LM: How many folks have asked you if you plan on using your evil twins powers to destroy the world?

LS:  (Laughs)  Nope…nobody…

L4LM: Well..DO you plan on using your evil twin powers to destroy the world?

LS:  EXACTLY!!!  (Evil Laughs)

L4LM: How about your inanimate band mate, the golden egg.  Is that also a “Once an interview” kinda thing?

LS:  Yeah, definitely.  The golden egg gets more press than we do…

Read the tale of the Golden Egg

L4LM: Is there anything you wish people would have asked you about instead of repeating those questions?

LS:  I guess what people always ask is on my mind.  But it’s natural…everyone wants to know the same things…

L4LM: Your music, even the sadder songs seem open and spacious.  It’s refreshing to hear notes have room to ring out.  Is that a conscious thing for you in your song craft?

LS:  Yes, definitely.  We, in particular are fans of longs notes and space in general.  Long notes, and not too many notes..yeah, basically that’s very conscious.

L4LM:  There are so many facets to your music that I find it hard to describe to people.  Is there one song you could point to for folks to understand your music?

LS:  That’s a good question.  I don’t usually recommend one specific song.  We have a couple of genre’s that we play…like..electra…what do we call it?  Folk-tronica.  (Chuckles)  I would direct them towards that, because that’s what’s most different about us.  So either “Time to Swim,” like a live version of it since it’s so different now or something off our newer album. (2014’s “What We Do”)  We’re writing some more stuff like this now for our next album, hopefully we’ll get to record it soon.  

L4LM: Can you even remember when you started singing together?  Or have you and your sister been harmonizing since the womb?

LS:  (Chuckles) Yep!  We came out singing in “C!”  (Chuckles)  We were always singers.  We would make up songs in the back of the car…our favorite childhood song that we still remember is (Sings) “We’re on our way to Gramma’s house, it’s not too fuzz, it’s not too fuzz.” We don’t remember why, or what that meant.

L4LM:  Well that was just adorable.  Is it true that neither of you played any instruments til you were 18 years old? 

LS:  Yeah.  We started our senior year in high school, so yeah, eighteen.  I wish we had started sooner. We did play clairinet in band for a year.  That’s it.

L4LM:  Wow!  Honestly, that’s pretty impressive!  You’ve covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time!

LS:  Awwww, thanks.

L4LM:  You in particular…you seem like you’re always switching instruments onstage. (Laurie is credited with playing banjo, guitar, vocals, beatboxing, bass, looping, ocarina and djembe!)

LS:  Yeah.  (Chuckles)  We consider ourselves mediocre multi-instrumentalists.  (Laughs)

L4LM:  I personally think it’s better to suck at several different things than to just be okay at one…

LS:  Totally.  (Laughs)     

L4LM: I think I’ve gotten to the point where I can visually tell the two of you apart, but musically it’s kinda impossible. Have you ever listened to recordings and not been able to tell if it was you singing or your sister?

LS:  Kinda.  I mean…I know what part I’m singing so it’s kinda hard for me to not know. It’s really trippy.  There’ll be an audio recording of us talking and I’ll have trouble figuring out which of us is talking.  Pictures too…  

L4LM: Does it cut down on fights between you two, knowing either one of you could be replaced by a harmony pedal?

LS:  (Laughs)  Everyday!  Everyday I’m afraid of being replaced by a harmony pedal.  (Laughter in the background)  

L4LM: I mean…they’re inexpensive…(Laughs)  You’re out on the road. So who all is in the band at the moment?

LS:  At the moment we’re playing with Niko Daoussis and our homie Chris Lynch is playing fiddle.  We’re gonna go on tour, starting in a couple days, we’re driving across the country for the third time…

L4LM:  Really?

LS:  Yeah.  We’ve flown places earlier year, but this is our first drive.  So we’re starting a tour, and this one will be our main quartet with Kyle Volkman on bass and Niko Daoussis on guitar, mandolin and vocals.  We’re gonna open up for Tall Heights, awesome band based out of Boston.  We’re gonna play a little bit with them at some of the bigger venues out there on the east (Coast) so we’re kinda excited about that.

L4LM:  I was looking at some of the acts that you’ve toured with and it’s a really impressive roster.  Have you been pleased with the big names asking you to come out with them?

LS:  Yeah.  I mean, it doesn’t happen too often, and that we’re lucky for the ones that we do have.  We wanna put our music out there and put it out there a bit, and it’s one of the good ways to do it, open up for people in places we’ve never been.  That’s been a favorite way for us to break into new territory.  We love opening up…I feel like we could do that more.

L4LM:  Obviously you’ve gotten the seal of approval from some pretty high powered acts. (The Shook Twins have shared stages with Ryan Adams, David Grisman, Mason Jennings, Blizten Trapper, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Sarah Jarosz, Laura Veirs, The FruitBats, Jonatha Brooke, JJ Grey and MoFro, The Indigo Girls, Crooked Still, Jason Webley, The BoDeans, Elephant Revival, The Head and The Heart, The Lumineers, the Everyone Orchestra and more)  That’s gotta feel nice.

LS:  Yes it does.      

L4LM: What would you tell someone who had never seen you play live to expect?

LS:  We like to make it feel like we’re in the living room with our friends.  We try and create this space where you can feel comfortable in your own skin…and laugh, hopefully, and enjoy.  

L4LM: I recently moved to your home base of Portland, Oregon.  Can you tell me a few of your “Must See” see places in town?

LS:  My favorite venues are Mississippi Studios, the Doug Fir and the Star theater is pretty cool too…the Wonder Ballroom is nice too.  My favorite restaurant  is Bamboo Sushi…so amazing.  Awesome, sustainably caught fish and burgers…so good.  Podnahs is really good Bar-B-Que…It’s just amazing there in Portland.  I love it so much!

L4LM: You’re playing the Hulaween Music Festival.  Was Halloween one of your favorite holidays growing up?

LS:  Oh yeah, totally.  We love Halloween.  But I do realize what a ridiculous holiday it is.  We’re not even doing what it is meant to do, which is honor the dead. (Laughs)  “This is the day that everybody does something else, in honor of the dead.”  (Laughs) It’s weird, but fun!  I love costumes.  We need to figure out what we are gonna wear…   

L4LM: I saw you last year around Halloween time and you and your sister were dressed as the egg!  You even let me sign you!  Any big plans for your Hulaween costumes?

LS:  That was a good one…that was my idea.  I wanna do that one again.

L4LM:  It’s a good one.  Interactive. You just did your first Jam Cruise.  What did you think of playin’ music on the high seas?

LS:  That was amazing.   One of my favorite experiences…partly because I got to hear Nathan Moore so much.  He’s amazing, and to be invited by him was a real honor.  He invited us to come along and help him hold down his acoustic sets on the deck, which are amazing.  He played from midnight to seven in the morning all night every night.  I tried to hang in there…but lasted only four hours.  (Chuckles)

L4LM:  Jam Cruise is a sprint AND a marathon.  It’ll take it out of ya…

LS:  Totally!  

L4LM: Well, thanks so much for stopping by!  Good luck on your upcoming tour, you’re gonna have a whole bunch of new fans really soon!

LS:  Thanks so much!