Interview | June 19, 2013
Shakey Graves
Roll The Bones

Genre: Folk   Sounds Like: Ben Howard

If you haven’t yet heard lore of Shakey Graves then pay heed. Toting only his beat up six-string, vintage microphone and suitcase kick drum,  the Austin-based artist has in a little over a year both carved out his own genre of vagabond folk and redefined the term “one-man band.” Shakey Graves rarely, if ever, plays a song the same way twice, drawing off crowd energy, the tempo of his play and even octave of his voice to vacillate between schmaltz and boot stomping rock. His live performances are a sight to behold, and next Tuesday, June 25th you will have your chance to see him along side Wild Child and Marmalakes at The Hamilton here in D.C.

We had a chance to chat with Shakey Graves in anticipation of his show next week. Get a taste of Shakey’s live performance swagger in the video above and see what he had to say about being a one man band, the tour and his kick-drum suitcase after the jump.

STREAM: Shakey Graves – “Roll The Bones”

Who or what inspired the Outside City Limits tour?

A combination of friendship, mutual musical respect, and sheer insurmountable boredom.

How do you know the members of Wild Child and Marmalakes?

We have played on each other’s bills in various arrangements for the last couple years and duked it out side by side in the trenches of the Austin music scene.  Throughout the many battles, the members of both Wild Child and Marmalakes have proven to be close friends, harsh critics and unparalleled supporters. It’s time to take our corner of Austin music out for a national test drive.

You really seem to have an affinity for live performances; do you have any particularly memorable live shows from 2013 so far? 

I played a set in a small fake church on Willie Nelson’s ranch during sxsw this year which I will be releasing as a live album in the coming months.  I was lucky enough to have a key handful of friends and family members and strangers present. The crowd and I were in total sync and we blew the roof off of that place.

Do you enjoy the song writing process or performing more?

Hard to say, the feeling of purposefully writing a song, creating it, and then having a tangible sonic jewel to observe is second to none.  Then again, the feeling of truly connecting to a crowd big or small always feels like hitting one over the scoreboard.  Pleasure wise I’d have to say they are opposite sides of the same coin.

You have obviously been very busy lately, have you had any times to write new songs?

I just spent a week in new York and knocked out four songs in three days, one of which was built from the ground up. I reconnected with my writing process which was an amazingly necessary and enjoyable step and I can’t for everyone to hear my next studio release.

How did you develop the one-man-band approach? Would you ever consider playing with a full band?

I will always do the one man band and I will assuredly play with a full band.  As set lengths grow and song reservoirs deepen, the need for a band will be a sonic necessity.
 That’s how the one man band was born, the necessity to get across something that couldn’t be accomplished by me solely playing an acoustic guitar.

How did you acquire the suitcase kick drum?

I commissioned it from one of my best friends in the world.
 He’s currently working on the version 2.0 which will have more features for advanced airplane security and load bearing capabilities.

Are you currently working on any acting projects or are you focusing exclusively on music?

All of my attention has to be on music right now, but I have gotten to work with Robert Rodriguez twice this year, once on Sin City 2 which should be out in October and once again for an interactive webisode.  Besides that I have played some fun characters in a few independents that should be hitting festivals this year.  I work when I can, and in fact this is the way I have always wanted to act.  Without the deep need and longing for roles, now I feel blessed to go do my thing for a couple days and help reinforce a cast.

What is your favorite type of sandwich?

I am a sucker for a Reuben.


Shakey Graves
Roll The Bones