Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009

Photos by ronitphoto
Photos by ronitphoto

Shook Twins: Soul twins – Q&A from OMN the Mag


The period from mid-May to mid-June, when the Oregon Music News the Magazine’s Summer Festival Preview Issue is on the street, coincides with the celestial symbol of the zodiac, Gemini – The Twins.

 In keeping with the theme, we thought it would be fun to feature two of Portland’s most sought after summer music festival acts who also happen to be identical twins in this month’s issue of OMN the Magazine – Katelyn and Laurie Shook, of the Shook Twins, and Jenni and Amanda Price of Acoustic Minds – photographed amidst the sunshine and blooms of Portland’s Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.

On Monday, May 25, read about two more twins, Jenni and Amanda Price of Acoustic Minds.

Originally from Sandpoint, Idaho, Katelyn and Laurie Shook moved to Portland, Oregon five and a half years ago. Currently on tour with their latest album, What We Do, the duo has been on the road with their Indie folk-pop band (that also includes Kyle Volkman, Niko Daoussis and a Magic Egg*).  With plans to venture out into newer territories in the East and Midwest, the sisters plan to travel home to Portland in between tours to begin writing songs for a new album, as well as take part in two songwriting retreats.

Q&A with Laurie Shook

What was your first summer in Portland like?

Portland summers are divine. Once we found a couple good swimming holes in the Sandy and Washougal rivers, we felt better. We are fresh water swimming snobs due to growing up on a beautiful lake in North Idaho.

What was the first music festival in Oregon you attended?

I think Oregon Country Fair in 2009. Man it blew our minds. We were hooked. So much effort, love and freedom of expression in one place.

What are your plans this summer?

We’re we playing at 15 or more festivals…the list is long!

Do you have favorites that you like to go back to every year?

It’s always fun to be able to go back to certain festivals and establish a reunion situation. There’s a lot of festivals that won’t book bands two or more years in a row, but we have been going to NWSS, Oregon Country fair (except not this year sadly) for six years, and it sure feels like coming home! This will also be our third time in a row at Boats & Bluegrass in Winona, which is a real sweet one. It’s nice to see the same faces and really get to know people.

What do you notice changing from year to year at the festivals you play?

We notice that people know us better and therefore give more and more amazing hospitality. They are also growing; more people each time, more food vendors, etc.

Do you ever attend festivals you aren’t performing at?

Rarely. We went to Pickathon twice. The second time we couldn’t afford the ticket, so we volunteered at the beer garden. I’ll just say that that was a very humbling experience considering that we would have loved to be playing instead. It’s tough to go to festivals and not play. To us, that’s the best part.

How do you live at festivals? Are you campers, glampers or hotelers?

All of the above. When we fly out to festies, we camp or hotel. Our fave is glamping in our bass player’s SWEET “Yeti Bus” a remodeled/repurposed School Bus that’s like a small cabin on a lake. We get to live in that for the West Coast festies!

What’s the best part/worst part of festival life?

The best part is the hang with all our amazing musical homies that are also playing. Getting to meet new friends, and strengthen other relationships. I love to wander around and people watch, see the joy and freedom on people’s faces!  I guess the worst part is probably the bathroom sitch.  Who likes porta potties?

What do you like to do on your days off?

We try to go on hikes or explore something cool outside. We also like to lay low and chill hard. Both are important to balance out this scheduled, drivey kinda life.

What items from home do you take with you on tour?

We all like to bring our special blankies and pillows.

Q&A with Katelyn Shook

How alike are the two of you? 

We are very similar.  We’ve basically had the same lives! We always had the same jobs, the same friends, the same school and even the same college degree! We always had all the same likes and interests so we were pretty inseparable growing up, and we kept wanting the exact same lives, so we just kept doing everything together! But our personalities continue to take on their own individuality.

Do you spend your downtime together or apart?

We live together, so we do spend a lot of time off the road together, but we also take separate trips with our significant others on our downtime a lot too.

Do you have the same taste in music? 

Yes, and it always has been.  Our taste has grown together as well.

Do you listen to the same type of music that you play, or something totally different?

Both. Some of our favorite artists are folky; however we listen to all kinds of music like Pop and Electronica. We find elements that we like in all genres and its fun to explore them all to see if any pieces could be added to our sound.

Who are you listening to these days?

Sufjan Stevens, Beyoncé, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., Chet Faker, Jungle, Bahamas, Emancipator, Bjork, Gregory Alan Isakov, John Hartford and soooo much to even name really. We have LONG drives so we listen to tons of people on the road.

If you weren’t touring musicians, what do you think your profession(s) would be?

We always thought that we’d be great venue owners! We have so much experience and such high standards after being on the road for half of every year that we feel like we’d create a space that would satisfy people very well.  Then we could still be in the scene and still have the joy of meeting bands and creating something for audiences to enjoy! Laurie also likes to edit little videos, montages of our tours. And that’s kind of what we got our degree in.

What’s your favorite food spot in Oregon?

There are so many AMAZING restaurants in Portland that we love to support; like Tin Shed, The Farm, Zilla, and we pretty much go to New Seasons market every day that we’re home!

What’s your favorite place to hangout/socialize Oregon?

Mississippi Studios in Portland is wonderful and also we absolutely love the Applegate Lodge down in Applegate, OR

Describe a perfect day in Oregon.

The sun is shining and we get a group of friends together and go to breakfast at Tin Shed in Portland, then we’d either go to the Washougal River, or a day hike at Eagle Creek. Then come back to our place in Portland for a backyard BBQ and after, maybe go to a show down at one of the venues on Mississippi or Alberta Street… makes me homesick just thinking about a day like this!

*For the full story behind the Magic Egg, check out Matthew Bernstein’s “Music on the Street” feature from November 15, 2014.

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