Artist Interview: Shooks

todaySeptember 28, 2021 541 2

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By Christian Villarreal
Music Journalist

The Shooks is composed of five very talented and motivated artists who are based in South Austin. I had the privilege of being able to sit down with the band’s lead singer, Marlon Sexton, to talk about the Shooks and their music. Sexton and I were finally able to get together and the conversation we had was more than worth the wait. Sexton is a very passionate musician who pours everything about who he is into his music and I’m confident that you will see that too.

Christian Villarreal: Give me a rundown of the band, how long have you been playing together, how did you start?

Marlon Sexton: We have been doing a residency at the continental club, which has been just fantastic and an amazing thing to be a part of such a historic club in Austin. We’re gearing up right now to do the ACL festival. We will be playing Sunday weekend one. We’ve got an EP out also so go listen to that.

CV:Do you have anything else coming or just the EP for now?

MS: We will have a full album coming out soon, it’s being finished right now so it’s all written and everything but, it just needs the final touches and what not

CV:How would you describe your sound to someone who has never listened to you?

MS: I don’t know this is always a weird question, it’s in between a few things. Somewhere in between indie psychedelic rock with a dash of post punk… some people might call it alternative music, I know that’s kind of wordie but it’s hard to say

CV: Who influences you the most musically?

MS: I grew up listening to an insane amount of David Bowie, and he’s just, he is one of the most important explorations that people have made into music in the last however many years. I listen to spoon, A LOT, I love spoon, they’re from Austin so it’s easy for me to do that. Bands like Spoon, the Kills, I really love them too. The Stones, it’s all over the place

CV: I saw you all open Black Pistol Fire at Emo’s, can you tell me a little bit about that experience?

MS: It was amazing. We were coming out of quarantine, we weren’t sure what was going to happen. I actually thought that it was going to be another three months before that show- live shows were going to happen. Kevin from Black Pistol Fire kind of just reached out and was like “Hey I dig the EP and if you guys want to come open we’d love to have you.”

It was kind of the motivation that the band needed to be like “Okay,  let’s get it all together, let’s get it strong and fast and it was amazing. I mean it was a comeback, the first show after a year and a half of not playing to doing a sold out Emo’s. We never played emo’s so it was an amazing show.

CV: You’re a small band in one of the most interesting cities in one of the most interesting times, what do you want people to know about you, the industry, about being an artist right now?

MS: I think that I’ve realized that in this time, with how the internet works and all. 10 years ago you had to be at a certain level to have people listen to your music but now you can self release an album easier than ever. It kind of redirected my focus to having a strong connection to the fans we do have rather than opposed to trying to appeal to every person out there listening. It’s definitely an odd time because we’re past the cusp but it’s been a major shift in music across the board.

CV: How did you come up with the name “Shooks”?

MS: So, uh. I was driving with a friend… I don’t know if I can say…  but we were goofing off driving around Zilker and he said “oh that’s where the wooks  live”, and I thought he said “shooks” and I said, “that’s actually a really good band name,” and he said “that’s a terrible band name,” and I said “well too bad I’m calling my band that,”… there you go.

CV: If your band was a sandwich, what kind would it be and why?

MS: Oh man… It’s definitely not peanut butter and jelly, not that simple. I wish we could go the Run the Jewels route and say “We the new PB&J”, um I don’t know. This is the hardest question I’ve had, I’ll come back to it.

CV: What’s been your favorite venue?

MS: Emo’s. It was shell shocking to play on such a loud and bigger stage. It’s really fun to play anywhere that has an actual stage and a barricade because I like to kind of run around and mess with people in the audience. But the continental is just , the more we play there, I love it more and more. It’s such an important place and such a cool venue.

CV: What made you start music?

MS: I was the kid that constantly had the headphones in, I just listened to music so so so much. Around 8th grade I got really into playing guitar, but it was really just appreciation of bands I loved.

CV: What has been your favorite live experience, whether it was playing or watching?

MS: Watching Flaming Lips. I saw them about three years ago. They sounded fantastic, but I was visually stunned. I mean he rode a unicorn, a motorized unicorn through the crowd. And I’ve never seen that. You think the hamster ball is crazy but then he brings out a unicorn.

As far as playing, not to keep harping but that Emo’s show was such a beginning for everyone in the band: so “wow.” I’m totally addicted to that nervous feeling before you get on stage like ‘this could go terribly wrong” but that’s the best part. That show, at the beginning people started asking “Who is this? We’re here to see Black Pistol Fire,” but by the end people seemed to be really into it.

CV: So you self produce your music, what is that like? What are the benefits and challenges?

MS: The benefit is that we can get it exactly how we want, the downside is that it takes forever, because I’m so meticulous and I second guess so many different things. We never have a thing where we go into the studio and write a bunch of different songs and two weeks later we’re ready to mix. I make a demo and that demo eventually becomes the final track after backtracking and editing over and over, and then we go again.

CV: Describe your bandmates in one word.

MS: Nice, they’re all good people. I know that’s not very exciting but they’re all good lads.

CV: How would they describe you?

MS: Possibly annoying. Hyperactive, easily excited.

CV:What’s next for the band, do you have anything coming up?

MS: Follow us on instagram and anything you need to know will be on there @shookstheband. We’re constantly doing stuff, playing around Austin and venturing out into San Marcos and Dallas and stuff. Just listen to the Ep and if you like it great, and if not still come out to the show because there’s a lot of new stuff coming out.

This interview has been edited for the purposes of length and clarity

Written by: ktsw899

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