One-man band Shakey Graves sat down with FDRMX before his performance at Celebrate Brooklyn to talk about recording, performing, and more.
FDRMX: You describe yourself as a Texas Gentleman. Would you consider Texas your home?
SG: Oh yeah, for sure. Austin is my home. Hands down. Born and raised there. There’s just nowhere that really feels like home, like that city, and Texas in general, but especially that city. The only two other major places I’ve lived was L.A. and New York. I didn’t even live in New York that long, but I can’t tell if it’s that things move faster or time goes slower here because it feels like longer – probably collectively I’ve lived here less than a year, like eight months, over the course of like three four years.
FDRMX: That’s really intermittent.
SG: Yeah, but I still feel like New York has had that much of an effect on my life as five years in Los Angeles did.
FDRMX: New York can have that effect on people.
SG: Yeah. I take to it immediately. I’m like, “Gotcha!”
FDRMX: How long have you been on tour?
SG: Oh no. Um, I have no idea…. So, this isn’t a specific tour, but this run I’ve been out two weeks, two and a half weeks, but this is all coming from doing a lot of flying to festivals. So we’ll fly, do a festival, fly, do two shows, then a festival, so we’ve been doing that for like a month and a half.
FDRMX: Do you have an end date in sight or are you just gonna go – ?
SG: Forever. We’re trying to talk about having a vacation right now, which is kind of a mind-blowing concept, since we travel all the time. So in you’re brain you’re like, “I travel all the time, what do I need a vacation for? What would I do? Just hang out somewhere?”
FDRMX: Interesting idea.
SG: People do it.
FDRMX: I’ve heard.
SG: I’ve heard too.
FDRMX: Would you be recording while hanging out somewhere?
SG: No, a vacation! That’s what I mean! I have no idea! I would have nothing to do.
FDRMX: Are you planning to record another album any time soon?
SG: Oh yeah! Technically my second album. I have an EP out, and I have a full length, but my second album, we finished recording last night. Here.
FDRMX: Which studio have you been using?
SG: A studio called The End. I’ve been recording it all out of a studio that I built in my house, but we started it at this studio in Greenpoint called The End. My buddy, who plays drums with me, and is my engineer and copilot, we met because he was an engineer and producer there, and I had just considered working in a studio, when we met at South-By two years ago, and he said, “I’ve got a great studio, you should just come out.” So sight unseen I went to this place and it was awesome.
FDRMX: Do you prefer to collaborate with people when you record or do you just set a mic in front of yourself and go like it’s a live performance?
SG: No, I don’t really record like my live performance. Like, I love recording but I kind of consider it like painting. Cheesy thing to say, but I think the benefit of recording is doing really weird shit.
FDRMX: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done while recording, in your opinion?
SG: Um, I’ve recorded in a natural, big rock in Joshua Tree. I went out there with some friends and we took a Zoom H4M, like a battery-powered, high-end, mulit-track recorder, and we went out there with a bunch of condenser mics, and we found this area in this big boulder thing that was like a long tunnel, and it had really precise sound. We set up mics on either end, and the three of us sat on the floor and sang in the mics kind of wrapped up in tshirts , and it sounds amazing. There’s no wind, but you can hear a fly land on the microphone at one point at the end of a song.
FDRMX: No way! Did you keep it on the recording?
SG: Oh yeah, for sure.
Be sure to check FDRMX tomorrow for Part Two of our interview with Shakey Graves to find out what kind of mic he uses, his preferences when it comes to collaborating, recording and performing, and more!