Louis And The Shakes
Please introduce your band
We're from all over really; I'm (Louis) from Watford, doorstep of London. Will (bassist) is Oxford, Manny (drummer) is Brighton and Jamie (guitarist) is from Essex. Our style is indie rock with a Western twist and Psychedelic punch.
Tell us about your lineup
I first started playing and writing songs when I was 16. I had a solo bluesy thing going in Nottingham when I lived there for 3 years but then came back to London and met the guys. It's been growing ever since and we have a big year ahead of us. When the four of us first started playing it was more of a solo project as Louis Antoniou, but after playing OnBlackHeath Festival in 2018, we decided to evolve the project into a band. From there the sound has progressed and my songwriting has developed. Snake Hips was the first wave of this new sound people now associate with us and it's only gotten bigger and better from that single.
How did the band meet?
We properly got together like 4 years ago, but we've been Louis And The Shakes since 2019. After seeing the reaction from Snake Hips we wanted to push on, keep writing and recording. Despite Covid being a massive hurdle, we kept believing and going for the goal - releasing music and playing live again! We love it so much, we thrive on crowds and seeing our fans sing and clap along. It’s how we became friends and that’s how we wanna stay mates.
What's the story behind your band name?
A long old pub chat over beers and cigs. There was no magic formula, it happened overnight and stuck since.
Tell us about your influences!
We're a very visual band. Art is big for us, which you'll no doubt understand more on the upcoming singles. When we're in the studio there's a visual energy. James Bond was getting thrown around a lot in the last session. But also, as the songwriter, I take influence from anything and everything. Books, film scores, new music, old music. Anything I can grab and weave into our Shakes vibes.
Could you describe your approach to songwriting?
Don't stick to a formula. Don't play by the rules. Be open-minded, not blind sighted. Always stick with what you want the song to convey and deliver. That’s it.
Describe your band's first big break
There's been a few highlights in our time. We played YNOT festival a few years running which was cool but the first moment where we all thought “shit that was amazing”, was OnBlackHeath. We got a taste of what it could be and we smashed the stage with our set. We got a sweet reaction from the crowd and people were coming up to us after dishing out compliments. From there, Radio plays on Radio X & BBC Introducing, plus a little placement on BT Sport was pretty cool. But it's only the beginning.
Tell us about some of your most memorable gigs - both good and bad!
Those two mentioned above were big festivals for us but noticeably some London gigs at Old Blue Last, Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, Notting Hill Arts Club and we had a great time at Camden Assembly. Plus a few gigs dotted around the UK like Rough Trade in Nottingham and Jimmy's in Manchester was a highlight from last year.
What advice do you have to those who want to start a band?
Keep practising, meeting up and talking about ideas. Find out each others tastes and see how you can incorporate different visions and skills. Just never stop trying, always write, even when you know it's a shit song, it’s a stepping stone to what could follow - a better song!
Best bits are undoubtedly recording and gigging! The hardest bit is funding it all but you quickly forget about it when you start creating the very thing that makes you happy.
What are some of the challenges you face being in a band?
Covid and money haha. Money is the thing that never goes away which is fair because everyone has to live and move forward in life. For some, funding a dream can be difficult to stick with, so you need others around you to remind yourself that you're doing what thousands of people never do, chase dreams.
What does it take to be successful as a band?
Perseverance is key.
How important is music theory?
Define music theory.
Tell us about the releases you've put out to date
Late Night Stereo was something we had to do, it showed our melodic side it was bold in places and it was our first taste of recording as a band. The songs were from the Louis Antoniou period but you can hear the early stages of our appetite for recording and creating songs. I Let The Rain Fall Hard sticks out for me as the early makings of something great. We still love it to this day and perhaps in our new mindset it could be revisited. Snake Hips was from this new world we gave birth to, visceral, courageous, bold and brave. These songs of the record (due for release this year) have so much heart and soul into them, but you can also hear how we've progressed and how much fun we had recording it.
How do you view the current state of the music industry?
The state of affairs ain't great, but there are two sides to everything. The live side is obviously swirling around in the shitter waiting to claw its way out, remerge hopefully bigger and better. There will be a huge appetite from young generations to get back to gigs and festivals I have no doubt about that. Many people I speak to are craving it, and are even horrified at the prospect of 'losing one of their golden years,' in their mid-twenties.
On the plus side, streaming numbers have soared this year so there is a captivated audience still out there. People engage with music differently from 20 years ago, it's adapted and perhaps the industry has started to encourage those changes more like TikTok for instance. That being said, hard grafting artists still get peanuts for the blood sweat and tears they put into their art, so that needs to change.
What are you working on right now?
What is your focus for the year ahead?
Showing people that Louis And The Shakes are the saviours of rock music.
Thank you so much for dropping by the WeJam studio! Where can we follow your progress?