An Interview With The New York Based Duo, SHAKEOUT!
Posted On 10 Sep 2019
Meet the alternative band Shakeout! On August 2nd, they released their EP “Balance The Imbalance.”
Hailing from New York, Shakeout’s sound centralizes around the unique usage of live looping, creating the illusion of having more than just 2 members. “Balance The Imbalance,” a 7-track collection, perfectly showcases their wide variety of influences (pop, punk, hip-hop) and how they mesh together to create the perfect alternative fusion. This collection was engineered and produced by Matt Brasch of the Wonder Years.
The lead single off of the EP, “Take Time,” was released on June 11th.
“Take Time” Video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuS163wOqA0
Shakeout is a two-piece alt/punk band from Yonkers, NY, that formed at the end of 2016. With experimentation at the core of the band’s songwriting, they take influence from a multitude of genres including punk, pop, and hip-hop; ultimately catering to a wide range of music listeners. Through the use of a single guitar, a pedalboard, too many amplifiers, and a powerhouse of a drummer; the band’s one-of-a-kind live show incorporates live looping to create the illusion of more than just two A.J.’s in the lineup.
With a little more than two years of work under their belts, the band has already self-released three EP’s (Parts I-III), and has played throughout the east coast and mid-west including shows in NY, NJ, MA, CT, PA, NC, GA, TN, KY, and OH; including festival appearances at the Launch Music Conference in Lancaster, PA, NYC’s Punk Island, and NY Riverfest. The band has also recently wrapped up a 7 track EP entitled “Balance the Imbalance,”
Connect With Shakeout Online Here:
Learn more about Shakeout in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! What is on tap for the rest of your day?
Hey! Thanks for taking the time to chat, means a lot. Today I am trying to get a bunch of things ready for a very long weekend ahead, as well as just getting some work done. I do a lot of work from home, I have a few guitar lessons to teach today, as well as some merch to print (I run a small screen printing operation), then we are rehearsing later tonight because we’re playing Forget Me Not Fest in NJ this weekend with Real Friends and a bunch of other great bands. Keeping busy!
Now that we are well into the 9th month of the year, how would you say that 2019 is treating the band so far? What have been some goals this group has had this year? How close are you to reaching them? What are you already excited about for 2020?
It’s honestly been great, our most productive I’d say. We toured a bit throughout the Spring, while figuring out plans to release our EP. We played a bunch of new places down the east coast and into the midwest, which was really great. After that we played a really awesome fest in our area with all of our friends called West Fest, which was honestly a blast. And then we just rolled out and released our new EP “Balance the Imbalance” over the summer, which has been getting such positive feedback. Honestly, better than I think either of us had imagined. Been feeling really positive about the band an our future as of this year.
As far as 2020 goes, we have a ton of ideas that we want to work on around this most recent release, which I’m super excited to get into. Also looking to write and record our first LP which is definitely exciting.
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? Was it hard to think of a name that you could agree on? What is the significance behind your band name?
I very clearly remember the moment I wanted to start this band. For clarification, we are a two-piece that uses a very specific live set up involving live looping to create the sound of a four piece. I remember putting together a very early version of my pedalboard and messing around plugging my guitar into a looper and a few different amps and feeling like if I had a drummer, that’d be all that was needed. I called up A.J. Kay and was like, “dude come to my house, we need to jam.” We basically just took it from there.
The name actually comes from a solo project that I started in college and never did much with. It refers to a change, which at the time I was going through. When we started this band we both thought it sounded cool, so we went with it.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the sound and how you all carry yourselves in this group? If not, what do you think does influence this group?
We are surrounded by a bunch of amazing bands in our area. We live in Yonkers, NY (Westchester County) right outside of NYC and we are so grateful to be living where we do. It’s constantly an inspiration to be surrounded by such talented musicians. Such a great community of bands and I’ll give a shout out to a few; Maintenance, For Lack of a Term, The Jukebox Romantics, Without Oars, Nose Dive, The Everafter, just to name a few. Go check those bands out though.
Let’s talk about your newly released EP “Balance The Imbalance.” What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
This collection of songs was fun to put together and something new because the entire EP is based around the general theme of learning from what life throws at you and moving past hard times. However, it tells this in a chronological order that goes from very aggressive and angry to more at peace with the “good” vs. the “bad” by the end of the record. I wrote it as if the “character” or “voice” of the EP learns about themselves as the songs progress.
What was the inspiration for the EP’s lead single “Take Time”? How did you go about choosing it to be the first song released from the collection?
It’s funny because when we were recording that song, especially vocally, it was probably the least developed and definitely the most frustrating. I remember feeling as if it was never going to be good enough. It ended up being the song, that I feel like not only details the theme of the EP very well, but also encapsulates our sound. We are a bit all over the place sonically, but “Take Time” is definitely a solid representation of what our band sounds like.
Generally, how do you guys go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?
Usually I (A.J. C) write the songs and demo them in my home studio and then bring them to A.J. Kay and we jam them out together. They end up shifting a lot usually and he really brings some great ideas, especially rhythmically to the songs. But, yeah, it usually starts with me and my guitar by myself.
I always like to ask bands if you all hang out socially apart from the music? In other words, when you aren’t working on music, do you guys enjoy hanging out for fun?
It’s funny because the two of us actually live together, but we have such opposite schedules most of the time that we almost never see each other. Which, I guess could be a good thing so that we don’t get sick of each other haha. I can’t speak for A.J. Kay, but I definitely love hanging with that guy.
How do you feel that this band has grown through the years? What has remained the same?
Sonically, I feel as if we didn’t start this band with any real direction, besides the fact that we wanted to be a two-piece that utilized live looping and we wanted to create a one-of-a-kind show. I feel as if we have definitely stuck to that, but have also experimented with what our songs sound like through all of the music we have recorded. I feel like we are starting to settle into a “sound” a lot more now which is cool.
Where do you think you are all happiest- in the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
For me personally, I love playing music wherever. But playing out is definitely where I think our band shines. It’s actually impossible to show people what we do over a recording and I love performing to show off our unique setup.
Do you have a fall tour scheduled yet? What do you think makes for an ideal show for this band?
We have a bunch of smaller runs that we are doing; nothing extended. Definitely going to be out and playing quite a bit, but just 3-5 days at a time for the most part right now. It just makes sense for us financially at this point. Going to be announcing some shows really soon.
How has social media impacted this band? How often are you all on your different sites interacting with fans? How have you been able to utilize it through the years?
It’s funny because I personally hate that part of being in a band, but I’m the one that keeps up with it for us. I actually just started using Buffer to schedule posts so that I have to think about it a lot less throughout the week. We definitely do our best with it though. We’ve made a bunch of videos and such over the years. I just like playing music, all of the other stuff for me is done to keep that part actually going haha.
We are currently living through a very trying and politically charged time right now so I am curious to know how you all think being musicians and in this band still gives you the most joy in life today? Do you find that your music is an escape to all the current events?
Absolutely. Everyone has their opinions and I truly think that standing up for what you believe in is very important. Voicing your opinions on important topics and trying to make actual change is vital in this day and age. For us, I think our way of contributing to this is doing our best to create a positive community around our music and band. With all of the negativity in the world, we really hope to just create and do something positive for others. I have had some very serious talks with people that are close to me recently about positivity in the music community and I feel like that’s where it all starts for bands in our position. If we can impact our local communities in a positive way, I think that real change can be made overall.
What musicians have really been inspiring you since you first started making music?
For me personally, my first two CDs ever were “Warning” by Green Day and “Hybrid Theory” by Linkin Park. I remember listening to those records and being like “I want to do this.” That led to me down the rabbit hole of rock and hip hop music in general; listening to everything from KISS to Rancid to Sum 41 and then on the other hand Run DMC, Nas and Wu Tang Clan. As the years have progressed I have definitely fallen in love with a lot more modern music. This past week I’ve been listening to the new Knocked Loose and Bayside tunes.
Even though he isn’t with me right now, I think I know A.J. Kay’s taste in music pretty well. We’ve been friends since 9th grade. When we were really young he was super into bands like System of a Down and as we grew older he fell in love with metalcore and easycore. Loves bands like August Burns Red and This or the Apocalypse. He’d have to tell you himself what he’s listening to most currently, but I know those are some bands that inspired him.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Like I said before, I hope the message portrayed by our band is nothing short of positive. We both genuinely care about the people around us and the community that we exist in. Our songs touch on topics that are not always easy to deal with, however I always try to convey that even when things are rough, they always get better. Staying as positive with life as possible is so important.