Reverb Teamster, Colleen Watson, has her ear to the ground, spotlighting interesting, rockin’ gems in London’s vast music scene. One of her more recent encounters was with local psychedelic surf rockers, Shoobies – let’s get to know ’em.
Listening to the album, Nevermind The Hardcore, Here’s Shoobies, paints a picture of a midwestern landscape – before you, a hot, dusty wasteland, with tumbleweeds caught up in the howling wind. Then, suddenly, there’s an interjection of raspy noise rock, as though a pair of cowboys drew their guns, ready for a feisty standoff. Comprised of Louis on bass, Joel on guitar, and Jake on drums, there is an obvious balance in their music, with each member producing crucial elements to their sound. They stand out from other surf bands.
Their album is both atmospheric and chill, and then with a sudden tempo switch, their sound becomes biting, tense and dark. Shoobies have recently topped charts on CHRW, a mere month after they released their album on October 30th.
To get the inside scoop, LDN_Reverb had a chance to sit down with their bassist, Louis.
And now… Louis of Shoobies
LDN_REVERB: What inspired you to work together?
Louis: I’ve always wanted a surf band since I was a kid, so randomly I made a Facebook post asking, ”Who will start a surf band with me?” And the first person who responded to it was Joel, our guitarist. We got together and started jamming, and at first it was pretty experimental, like a noise project with surf elements and synthesizers. Then I made another post, and our drummer Jake joined us.
The first time we jammed, we wrote a couple songs and it all came together. Joel and Jake are super talented dudes, and it is an easy-going band dynamic. It was easy to work with what they were putting out there, and we all have a similar vision. We are all really adaptable, and we listen to each other, so songs come together super easy.
LDN_REVERB: I feel like I’m in an old Western film when I hear your sound, so can we talk about your biggest influences?
Louis: Spaghetti Western theme songs, definitely. Also Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, they’re Canadian too. We draw a lot of inspiration from traditional surf, hurricane style, a walky bassline and a guitar riff, but we toss in different variations of it. Honestly, we just want to make noise, and bump around and have fun.
LDN_REVERB: I found your album art particularly interesting since I know that you are also an illustrator, and it is… definitely not your work. Where is it from?
Louis: There’s this Instagram I found called “Drawmebadly”, and I thought it was pretty funny. The person who runs it does it for fun, and I wanted to get them to draw the band, so I sent a photo we took when we made our EP. They drew the picture and I loved it, and we decided to use it for our album cover. So check them out and get your ugly-ass photos drawn for free!
LDN_REVERB: Can you tell me about your bass?
Louis: I started with guitar but kept playing bass lines in songs, and I decided “Okay, that’s it, I need to get a BASS.” And that’s the same bass I have. It’s a Yamaha bass from 1989, and it’s massive. I’ve never changed the strings on it, and my dad got it from a pawn shop, so I’m not even sure if the strings were ever changed before I got it. I’ve been thinking I should change them, but I’ve convinced myself that there is voodoo magic in the strings, and if I take the strings off then I’ll suddenly lose my ability to play bass.
LDN_REVERB: You’ve been gaining momentum in the local scene, topping charts on CHRW, and packing local venues. How does it feel to have people so into this album?
Louis: I wasn’t even aware we were topping CHRW until Joel was looking at the charts. Joel has a radio show at CHRW, so he told us when we got to the top three. I’m proud of us for making it on CHRW, it is definitely an accomplishment, but honestly, I am just in it to make music with my friends. I think that’s an important thing to remember when making music, it is about having fun, so gotta stay humble pie. I totally get antsy to play shows, I love them, it honestly just makes me stoked to do something that makes other people happy, and to be in a band with my friends and playing music we have fun making.
LDN_REVERB: How has your music evolved since you all started?
Louis: We improved as musicians as we’ve gone on, not to say we weren’t decent before, but we’ve advanced in this genre together as a band. Over time in our songs we’ve added different licks and extra notes, and tweaked the tempo, but honestly just as time goes on we mesh even more. We kind of have a vague outline for our songs but for the most part we change it up and have fun with it as we go.
LDN_REVERB: What do you see in the future for Shoobies? Got any new songs in the works?
Louis: Right now we are writing an odd and complicated tune, very heavily western movie inspired. Joel writes some pretty interesting time signatures, so it took Jake and me an hour and a half to figure out how it was supposed to go. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m bringing into practice, it’s a wild one! We are probably gonna plan a small Ontario tour in the spring or summer of 2019. But right now? We are just focusing on keeping ourselves tuned up and tuned into each other.