Interview: The Shaking Sensations

The Shaking Sensations - Photo courtesy of The Shaking Sensations

The Shaking Sensations - Photo courtesy of The Shaking Sensations

The Shaking Sensations have been through quite a lot of changes over the years.

The band, whose initial roots are grounded in a Smashing Pumpkins cover band from the late 90s, has run the gamut of adjustments and transformation, ranging from evolving music foci to alterations in the roles of members.

Now, in 2011, the band finally has a debut full-length album to show for it; “East of Youth” was released earlier this year in Scandinavia, with German and UK releases last month. Of course, as with everything else in the band, it didn’t come easily.

“It’s an album that has been under its way for quite some time,” guitarist Jeppe said.

He referenced the fact that, up until one-and-a-half years ago, the band was only him and three other members: Jakob, Jens and Christian. However, at a certain point – after the group trade out the Sonic Youth and Smashing Pumpkins influences in lieu of achieving a Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky sound – the foursome decided to bring on a fifth member and second drummer, Mads.

“We needed to rearrange everything that we had done before because until that point we only had one drummer,” Jeppe said. “All these new things started to happen and the two drummers needed to learn how to play together.”

Shortly after, the band set to serious work recording the album, which was followed up with some devastating news: new drummer Mads had broken his arm. While it wasn’t the end of the band or the recording process, there was a three-month hiatus. And when the band regrouped to continue with recording, they all realized there was an amount of dissatisfaction with the songs, and a desire to rework the music yet again.

“It was like starting over,” Jeppe said, explaining how they wrote new songs in hopes of better pinpointing the sound they all wanted. “It was a really chaotic process, but it turned out really good.”

Additionally, he said in retrospect that the intensity of the music – all of which is void of vocals – seems to accurately reflect that chaos they all were subject to.

“We think it documents it pretty well,” he said. “It ended up being a record that we are really satisfied with and really it encapsulates all that’s going on in our minds in that period.”

Additionally, in the past six months, Jeppe – who previously served as a manager to the band – was able to step down from that post and focus solely on the music, passing the managerial torch on to the record label.

“That’s quite a relief just to concentrate on the music,” he said. “All the other business things [are] really stressful.”

Since The Shaking Sensations play post-rock instrumental music, Jeppe said that because there are no lyrics, the emotional intent behind the songs becomes even more important and prominent.

“Since we’re doing instrumental music, we’re not putting words on a paper that express feelings,” he said. “Many things have to come together before we can make good music…[the band members need] to be places in their lives where they can, you know, express feelings.”

This goes not just for writing music together, but also for playing it live.

“We need to be in it, all of us, 100 percent, before it can work out,” Jeppe said. “It can be hard. It can be really hard…it’s just the whole thing about standing on the stage and playing your music for [total] strangers and a new crowd every night.”

But when they all concentrate their energies, something beautiful, intense and unexpected is the result.

“If you would have asked me 10 years ago, I’d never thought about playing instrumental music, and not with [these] guys that I started out with,” Jeppe said. “Now it’s something totally different…we’ve all grown with it.”

The Shaking Sensations plays tonight at Bassy in Berlin. The show begins at 21.00.

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