Hey guys, thanks for taking a sec to catch up with us!
TSL: Thanks for having us, Erica!
I gotta say, Max, it’s a bit surreal to be interviewing you guys now. Looking back at the old days at our store on Division when you were still in high school, you’d cruise by the shop with your friends and I had no idea you were into music. So, the first time I heard you guys play I was just blown away. Alright enough of that, I suppose we should get the basics out of the way, where are you guys from, tell us a little bit about yourselves.
TSL: Oh my, yes I think you’re right about that! As for our origin story, we’re all from Hudsonville, which is 20 minutes west of Grand Rapids. The Skinny Limbs is Max, Jake, and Nate Knoth.
You’re all brothers, literally. Jake, Max and Nate? What are the pros and cons of working with your fam?
How did you first stumble into the music scene? Was it something you’ve always done / organically formed or was this a recent pursuit?
TSL: We’ve been jamming with one another since I (Max) was about 10 years old, so you could say we have some history, and our brotherhood goes way back obviously! It’s nice though, we have a ton of synergy and mooostly agree on things haha
When I first heard your music the vibe reminded me of one of my favorite bands, Real Estate. Are there any bands that you look up to or that have inspired you over the years?
TSL: I think that ever since we started writing music in the summer of 2017 we wanted to get into the scene, but we didn’t know how to for a while. Luckily our friend Sean had us open for his band Antighost after our music project was about 6 months old, and from there we’ve steadily branched out to more and more artists and show promoters!
TSL: Real Estate rips! We have a lot of influences, a lot of classic rock and surf rock like The Police and The Beach Boys. We also grew up on a healthy dose of Tom Petty. More recent influences might show in how we write our songs, we’ve been groovin to Bad Suns, Hippo Campus, the latest Paramore album, and even some Turnover here and there.
Photo by: Hanna Price (instagram: @hnnprce)
What’s a typical day in the studio for you guys, and how do you guys go about writing a new song? What’s that process look like?
You guys know what Woosah is all about, being present and chasing what gets you stoked. For us, that’s nature and making art. I noticed that you guys dabble in drawing, surfing and even sketching up tattoos (??). Tell me more about your other interests outside The Skinny Limbs.
TSL: A well-timed question, since we’re heading into the studio to record 3 new songs in a couple of weeks! We usually come up with a guitar or synth part, then loop that track and write other complimenting parts around it on by playing our instruments into our computer, then add vocals last! Every song is different though, sometimes we just play a few ideas acoustically until we think we’ve struck gold, then record it into a demo on our computer.
TSL: I would agree with all of those, yeah! In our free time, we love to surf, hike, camp, paint, make videos, thrift, and eat tasty food. We enjoy what Michigan has to offer, whether it’s dunes, forests, or waves, it’s super important to us! It’s imperative to get outside and connect with the Earth and enjoy your surroundings. That’s just one of the reasons we love Woosah, y’all spread the word about making good art, supporting local, and getting out in nature!
Photo by: Oliver Owen (instagram: @olliesjournal)
Thanks guys! Do these creative pursuits bleed into your music, do you find these other hobbies inspiring your lyrics and music?
For other artists out there wanting to start a band, what's the biggest hurdle you had to overcome? Or the toughest lesson you've learned so far?
TSL: They definitely do. A lot of the lyrics and themes in our music are influenced by waves and dunes, and I think with careful inspection, those can be heard in our music. I’d be lying if I said that our tones aren’t derived from what we see and feel in Lake Michigan.
What are you guys currently workin' on?
TSL: Be yourself, and make the music you wanna make, not what you think the masses will like. Find some buddies that enjoy similar music and expound upon that. In the end it's really about having fun and making something that you and others can connect to, and staying genuine in your musical process is key.
TSL: We’re working on 3 new songs to be recorded with Jake Rye in Adrian, Michigan. We’ll be releasing these throughout Summer 2020, probably one single each month, so be on the lookout for new tunes from us soooooon!
Photo by: Troy Spoelma (instagram: @troyspoelma)
MAX: Gotta be Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado, that would blow my mind.
JAKE: Exit/In in Nashville, I saw Bad Suns there and I was dreaming about how wild it would be to share such a cool stage like that with them!
NATE: Can’t beat Red Rocks, but House of Blues Chicago would be great.
You get to open for any artist, living or dead, who would that be?
Your house is burning down, you can only grab 3 things… what do you grab?
MAX: Either The Beach Boys or the Grateful Dead, both of those would be a dream.
NATE: The Beatles! Though I could imagine their fans screaming for John & Paul through our set
JAKE: Pink Floyd… I mean, come on!
Most embarrassing guilty pleasure song, you know the one you sing in the shower.
MAX: My family members, guitar, and longboard.
NATE: Gunther the cat, guitar, and a coconut La Croix to enjoy while watching the firefighters get after it.
JAKE: My art portfolio, anything else isn’t worth the risk of being burnt alive.
Best advice or Worst advice you’ve ever been given?
MAX: Charlie Puth songs are really fun to sing in the shower… I’m sure they sound ridiculous though.
NATE: Any song from The Jungle Book’s soundtrack (especially the ones voiced by Phil Harris)
JAKE: Anything from Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman”
Favorite junk food?
MAX: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” –Wayne Gretzky – Michael Scott… or something like that
NATE: "I’d rather be eaten by a shark than run over by a tourist in a Winnebago with a Pennsylvania license plate” Russel Blackwood
If your music was a color, what color would it be?
MAX: Pizza. With pineapple on it of course.
JAKE: Donuts, they never fail to make me feel like I’m dying.
NATE: I’m ashamed of it, but McGriddles have had a hold on me for the past year or so.
Any parting words of wisdom?
MAX: I would think a nice deep teal or aquamarine.
JAKE: Yellow would be it!
NATE: I agree with sunshine yellow – if I picture our songs as a palette I see teal, burgundy and forest green in there as well.
MAX: If you really set your mind to any artistic endeavor, you can make it happen. Push yourself through self-doubt and keep going, even when it feels like you won’t make it.
JAKE: Cherish those around you who love you, it’s easy to take the people who build you up for granted.
NATE: Take a few deep breaths. It’s all you really have to do right now.
Right on, we'll leave it at that. Check out this weeks playlist guest-mixed by the Skinny Limbs. Don't forget to tune in each Wednesday for our weekly Woosah Wavelength playlist.