The Shakedown Project (1)

* The interview was originally published on the 'old' Basement in December 2012.

Well, check the video below... A hilarious, but at the same time tearful, tortoise love story. It was love at first sight for all of us here in The Basement, we loved the video (definitely one of the best we watched in 2012), we listened to the song over and over, we absolutely adored the band. The Shakedown Project is a psychedelic garage rock trio based in Aberdeen, Scotland. It is consisted of two brothers, Kris Mitchell (Guitar/Lead Vocals) and Peter Bruce (Bass Guitar/Vox), along with drummer/percussionist David Noble. They exist as a band since 2009, and since then they've been giving a string of explosive gigs. They released their first self-titled EP last Summer (Aug.10), while they are now working on their second. We are more than sure that these Scottish guys will keep us extremely busy with their music in the near future, and we are really happy and proud to present you this interview we had with them...



The Basement: How did you guys first meet and decide to make a band?
Two of us are brothers (Kris-Vox/Guitar and Pete-Bass) so we grew up together listening to the same kind of music. We ended up in the same class at music college, which is where we met David (Drums).  We noticed David shared the same taste in music as us and as Kris had a few song ideas, so we decided to jam them out and it took off from there.

The Basement: How did you come with the band name?
We decided we wanted to be 'The *something* Project', but couldn't decide on a middle word until Pete picked up the word 'Shakedown' from the Clint Eastwood film 'Escape from Alcatraz'.

The Basement: Last summer you released your first self-titled EP (awesome by the way!). Are you satisfied with the final outcome and with the acceptance it received by the music press and audience?
On the whole we are very proud of the debut EP, and are really happy that so many people are enjoying it as much as they do! Since the release we have developed as a band considerably, and can't wait to show these improvements in the next release. It's been pretty well received by the majority of people who have heard it and we had a lot of encouraging messages of support from people all around the world which is awesome! When we recorded it, we only thought around 100 people would hear it, but the response was far better than we ever imagined. Funnily enough, we really had no experience with recording at the time and it was a steep learning curve. Looking back we really threw ourselves in the deep end and with hindsight might have went about things a lot differently. However, this doesn't change the fact that we are still very proud of it, home recording with limited resources is a great challenge, and managing to finish the EP only using three microphones and an electric drum kit was a great personal achievement for us.

The Basement: 'Caroline' is an amazing song undoubtedly, but it came with an equally amazing video, one of the best we watched in 2012. Could you give us some extra information on how this wonderful video was created?
We had a idea of doing a 'Day in the life' sort of video, but instead of focusing on a real person we thought of filming a small animal or object. Our first thought was a snail performing menial tasks but we realised how ridiculous this sounded so we went for the slightly less ridiculous tortoise idea. We filmed it in our sisters flat, using her pet tortoise, Monty. We just made the story up as we went along. We really didn't think anyone was going to watch it so its funny to us knowing that thousands of people are watching it around the world now!

The Basement: When chatting in order to arrange this interview, you let us know that you've started working on your second EP. When should we expect it?
We hope to be done by summer but as we're writing, recording, mixing, mastering and publishing it ourselves, its hard to put a timescale on it. We're really excited about actually recording together live this time as opposed to recording to a click track one by one. This is something we have always wanted to do but didn't have the luxury to do so. Thanks to all the people who donated money when downloading our EP we have been able to invest in better recording and production equipment, which will help things sound a hell of a lot better this time round!

The Basement: What about your first full-length album? Are there any specific plans about it?
Well, the plan was always to release our first full length album whenever we got some financial backing from an independant record company, but as this hasn't happened yet and might not for a long time we will probably just do it ourselves eventually! 

The Basement: What are your dreams as a band? Are you ambitious or do you support the theory “Let's have some fun, and if something big happens, we'll see...” ?
It would be great to be able to tour other places and play to our fans in different countries, but sadly tours are a bit harder to finance for an unsigned band like us. We are definitely an ambitious band, but would like to do things on our own terms. I think our best bet is to keep doing what we are doing and take it as it comes, and hopefully we land some supporting slots for some established acts and a few more festival slots.

The Basement: Which do you think are the main obstacles a new band like you has to overcome in order to progress and succeed?
I think one of the biggest problems bands have to face these days is pay-to-play gigs. Many gig promoters take four bands at random and give them 50 tickets each, expecting each band to sell all of them. If you don't sell enough tickets then the promoter takes all of the money. This is almost impossible for new bands, as they are relying mostly on their friends to buy tickets turn up to gigs week after week. I think the best thing for bands to do these days is to do a lot more on their own, things definitely took a turn for the better when we started building up our audience through recording and gigging off our own backs. Also, it's definitely a good thing that theres a lot of independent media outlets working in the music scene, as most of the major media outlets have monopolised the market and effectively pick and choose what everyone listens to. It's so much easier to release everything from your own platform and build up your own audience with help from independent and local media, rather than trying to compete or collaborate with the music industry giants.

The Basement: Which bands or artists do you consider as your major influences?
Obviously Jack White is a major influence, but we also love bands such as Band of Skulls, Tame Impala and Nirvana, as well as classic artists such as Bob Dylan and The Kinks.

The Basement: Your country Scotland has a great tradition in indie/alternative music. Which Scottish band you regard as the greatest up to now? What about Django Django? Do you believe they deserve all that fuss?
To be honest we are not really influenced by many Scottish Bands/Music. We are all drawn to music mostly from other countries as well as music from different eras. Truthfully we had never heard of 'Django Django' until you mentioned them (We don't get out much, haha), but from what we can see they seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. Its always encouraging seeing a Scottish band making headway in the industry! 

The Basement: 2012 is almost gone, which albums did you like the most from this year?
Unfortunately most of our favourite bands were recording this year and didn't manage to release anything by the end of the year. However, the main album we were excited about was the new Tame Impala album, 'Lonerism'. We even managed to see them live when they came to Glasgow and they put on a great show!

The Basement: We collect lists in the Basement... We would be more than happy if you could share with us your ten favourite bands/artists of all time.
Here's our top ten in no particular order:

Arctic Monkeys
Dead Weather
Black Keys
The Who
David Bowie
Bob Dylan

:) x  

Thank you The Shakedown Project!!!

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