Shakey Graves. Easily a performer you must see live if you ever get the opportunity. With a tight band behind him, the Austin bred musician is becoming a name more and more people are switching on to when they want their Americana music delivered via a fusion of rich blues, rock n roll and folk. The man even had his own day declared by the Mayor of Austin (Feb 9th, if you’re wondering), so when Shakey Graves returned to Australia recently for Bluesfest, we knew we had to sit down with the man in question.
On his return to this area of the globe, Shakey Graves (real name: Alejandro Rose-Garcia) reflects on the last three years of constant touring, crediting keeping sane to his crew of bandmates and the experiences they have while not on stage, as well as on.
“A lot of it has to do with having good people around you; good friends, good bandmates, good team members.” he says. I feel that, at the end of the day, it is a lot of work but we do love playing. It becomes easier when you’re travelling as a crew of friends and you’re getting to explore new places. The most important thing is to treat it like a vacation time to time; I don’t know if I’ll ever come back here. I didn’t think I’d be back here so soon, I didn’t even think I’d be out here in the first place! Twice in two years is a great track record, I’m fine with that. Maybe I’ll get to come back just to hang out.”
He speaks fondly of his hometown, touching briefly on Shakey Graves Day, but adds that his five year period of living in LA on-and-off influenced his songwriting possibly more than being home in Texas did.
“Probably some of my favourite songs are due to the way that town kind of ruffled me up.” he says of LA. “Talking about environment, the issue with Austin is that it is very much my home. It’s where the love of my life is and my family – when I’m there, I don’t really write about it! It’s like, ‘Eh, maybe I’ll eat a sandwich instead,’ or, ‘Maybe I’ll just watch a movie and rip a bong all day,’ and that is kind of the spirit of Austin! When I was out in LA, banging my head up against this crazy wall, I had a lot to talk about. I was like, ‘What the fuck is going on? What is this place?’. I think a lot of good music has actually come out of that fight; Elliot Smith wrote a lot about Los Angeles and I always appreciated his point of view on that city – it was pretty spot on.”
“I don’t think anybody isn’t shaped by their hometown and their experiences,” Shakey Graves says of Austin. “I feel a platform like music, that kind of stuff just oozes out. My taste, even, or my world views are all shaped by the people I grew up around. That, of course, just permeates everything that I do. There’s a part of me that’s really, really proud to be from where I am and I want to be sure that, for my own heart, if people consider me a crucial part of Austin, I want to represent that properly.”
Listen to the full interview below!