Chicago, music, and good vibes: all included in this interview with Cadien Lake James. —INGRAIN, Summer 2018
STORY / T.J. Annerino
Goose Island Beer Company's T.J. Annerino spoke with Twin Peaks founding member, singer, and guitarist Cadien Lake James, who took a break from touring to talk about his musical influences, the Chicago vibe, and what's next for the band.
T.J. Annerino: Let’s start at the beginning. You were all still in high school when you formed the band. How did that go down?
Jack [Dolan] and I had been playing together for a few years, doing covers of punk songs and shit. We’ve been friends since we were around six years old. Jack and Connor [Brodner] grew up across the street from each other. Then Clay [Frankel] joined up with our pack. Colin [Croom] came along later. We are going on eight or nine years now.
I remember the first 312 Block Party you did for Goose Island back in 2014. And, of course, there was Natural Villain, our collaboration beer, with the bus bar-crawl party. We also did some sick koozies together at those Thalia Hall shows.
Hell yeah. It’s a pleasure to be involved with you guys.
Who were your early influences?
Early on, I was diving through The Beatles, The Beach Boys, T. Rex, David Bowie, and other classics. It wasn’t until later that I got into garage rock. Black Lips, Jay Reatard, and shit like that.
As a band, we started going to a lot of house shows and finding cool little DIY bands from Chicago and other cities. Bands were literally playing in someone’s basement. We thought, “We could do that.” So we did. We couldn’t get away with a live concert in any neighborhood. The cops would be there.
In terms of arts and culture, this is one of the greatest communities across the board. And yes, there is another side of Chicago, the violence. But there are also young artists shining so much light by using their voice to try and change things.
And today you’re selling out three-night runs at Thalia Hall with a slate of curated guests like Post Animal, NE-HI, and Knox Fortune. Those gigs felt so authentically “Chicago.” You were the Chicago music scene for those three nights.
Even after traveling around the world, Chicago is still my favorite city. The bands at those New Year’s Eve shows are some of our favorite local bands and good friends. They’re all such great musicians. Chicago has given us all so much, and we take a lot of pride in that. We are all really grateful for the music scene we grew up in here. Not every city had that or has a scene like that.
Do you feel that difference, playing in Chicago versus elsewhere?
Oh yeah, it’s a celebration. A big part of it is simply family and friends, and the confidence that comes from feeling at home. You can fuck up in front of your friends and be a little more loose. In other cities, we can’t just pull up a local three-piece horn section to play with us. That’s the best, being onstage and hearing someone else play. You’re like, “Damn, they’re ripping it up. And now we’re ripping it up, but they’re really killing it.”
That vibe is so Chicago. And to those who don’t live here, the city often symbolizes something very different. So much gets overlooked by outsiders until they experience the city firsthand.
In terms of arts and culture, this is one of the greatest communities across the board. And yes, there is another side of Chicago, the violence. But there are also young artists shining so much light by using their voice to try and change things. Artists like Chance the Rapper and Jamila Woods.
Great musicians. What’s next on the list for Twin Peaks?
Those New Year’s Eve shows felt like the beginning of something new. Like the end of chapter one of Twin Peaks. There are more chapters ahead. It’s taken us six years of touring on the road to sell out a club in Denver with a 550-person capacity. There is still so much growth to do, out in Europe and everywhere. I’d love to bring the big band we had for New Year’s Eve on the road at some point. And I have not made the record I am most proud of yet, I’m sure of that.
You guys are doing some awesome shit. You deserve to be proud.
Well, you sure know how to humble some boys. We appreciate the kind words. Be good.
CADIEN LAKE JAMES' HANGOUTS
3316 North Lincoln Avenue
“If I’m going to go check out guitars, I’m hitting the Chicago Music Exchange. Everyone there is so knowledgeable.”
2608 North Cicero Avenue
“Our studio is across the hall from The Chicago Electric Piano Company. There aren’t many places that specialize in Wurlitzer and Rhodes [electric pianos]. We are so lucky to have them right next to us.”
2952 West Armitage Avenue
“Parson’s is my stomping ground when we aren’t on tour. I go there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner five times a week. I love walking around in that neighborhood. You can follow the greenery all the way around from Kedzie Avenue to Palmer Square, then over to Humboldt Park.
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