Rocking Under the Radar: The Shake

When did they start?: 2005

Who are They?: Made up of Made up of Jon Merkin (vocals), Mike Serman (guitar), Jeremy Stein (bass) and, Dan Kirschen (drums), The Shake is a rock n’ roll band from New York City.

Why Should You Care?: This indie rock quartet brings you back to the 70’s with some classic rock. They have a kicking sound with catchy rhythms and awesome hooks. This paired with their high energy, amazing live show makes The Shake a band you must see!

How Do They Sound?
The Shake “Debutante”

The Shake – “All That I Want” (live)

ESBMusic caught up with The Shake to discuss their musical influences, inspirations, and upcoming residency at Bowery Electric every Wednesday in the month of February:

ESBM: How did you guys all come together?
TS:: The current iteration of the band only shares two members with the original lineup, Jon and Jeremy. They met during a gap year before college, attending nearby schools, and they were introduced by a mutual friend who thought they’d get along musically. Within weeks they were playing shows, and when they returned to New York, they connected and started writing for The Shake. We found Dan through another mutual friend, who knew we were in search of a drummer. Dan had just moved to the city from Rochester, and was looking to jam. We had one trial session with him, and it was love at first note. The last piece of the puzzle was Mike. He played in a local band called Haakon’s Fault, and we were big fans of his. We’d go to their shows and talk to him afterwards. We asked if he’d be cool playing in two groups, and once he agreed, we knew we’d found our missing piece.

ESBM: How did you come up with your band name?
TS: The Shake was actually Jon’s band in high school, which was mostly a cover band at the time. In the early 2000s, ‘The’ band names were quite popular, with The Strokes, Hives, Vines, etc. The Shake had a good ring to it; simple and indicative of enjoyable music. When the current band got together in college, there wasn’t even a discussion about the name, we just went with The Shake.

ESBM: How long have you playing together?
TS: Jeremy and Jon started writing together in 2005, and the band had a previous lead gutarist and drummer. Dan and Mike came on board in 2010.

ESBM: You guys have a real rock n’ roll sound. Who are your influences?
TS: We all grew up listening to the classics, but aside from that, we have different tastes and influences. Anywhere from Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, Rage Against the Machine – a lot of different rock perspectives. Jon has a never ending love for all bands British (the Gallagher brothers can do no wrong in his mind), and Dan likes a lot of Jazz and funk music. Mike even drew some inspiration from a recent remix of one of their tracks that a friend of The Shake did. Mike listens to a lot of rap music. That’s probably a good thing though. If we all listened to the exact same music, we wouldn’t be creating anything new.

ESBM: Which artists inspire you?
TS: Inspiration comes in a lot of forms, musically or otherwise. You can always draw inspiration from watching any of the thousands of performances from the great front men like Bowie and Jagger, and at the same time inspiration can come from a persona, or an attitude, like Lady Gaga. There’s a newer band from Sweden called Graveyard that the band has really been digging lately. They’re new, but they sound like a combination of Black Sabbath and Zeppelin. A few of us went to their show at Bowery Ballroom after a rehearsal last week and it’s like “this is how a rock show should always be.”

ESBM: What is your writing process?
TS: Most of our songs start with a riff or a melody that someone will bring in, and we’ll jam on it and expand from there. It’s all very organic the way our songs grow from little nuggets of ideas to fully formed compositions. We try to keep things as democratic as possible, so if one guy in the band isn’t feeling a new groove we’re working on, we’ll change things up or start from scratch. We need everyone on board 100% with a song if we’re gonna play it live.

ESBM: Starting February, you are playing a residency at the Bowery Electric every Wednesday night. Is this the first time doing this? How did it come about?
TS: This is a really exciting opportunity for us. The Bowery Electric has been like our home – we’ve played CMJ there the past couple of years, and it’s our favorite venue to play in the city. We’ve built a nice rapport with the folks there, and they like us. We teamed up with another local rock group called The Young Things, and built 5 bills of great bands to play each week.

ESBM: Aside from the residency in NYC, do you have any other plans for touring in 2012?
TS: We hope to move around the Northeast a bit, to Philly, DC, Boston, upstate New York, etc. We love playing to new people in new places. It’s the best way to grow the fanbase and spread the word about your music. Every free weekend we get, we’d like to be traveling.

ESBM: You will be releasing a live album from your December Mercury Lounge performance this year. Are there any other projects in the works?
TS: Well regrettably, we had to axe the Mercury Lounge recording for a number of different reasons. We’re in the process of putting a small tour across the northeast together for the spring or summertime. We’ve built a pretty good following upstate and we want to give a little love back to them in the short term. We’re also shopping around the more local summer festivals that we’d like to get involved with as well.

ESBM: You guys are big on social media, do you feel it’s a good thing for bands?
TS: Social Media’s a great tool for bands to find new fans. It allows us to reach a targeted new audience, and very easily show them a few songs. Every band should be using, not abusing, Twitter and Facebook to reinforce their efforts to grow the fanbase.

ESBM: Any last words?
TS: Come see one (or all) of our residency shows at The Bowery Electric, say hi, and pick up our 3-part EP – Sweet N Sour (you can stream that here . We’ll be there every Wednesday in February, starting on the 1st. We’ve got a really talented group of bands we’ll be playing with every week and each show will be a little different, so get your moneys worth – a $15 ticket will get you into all five shows. Get your tickets here!

For more information on The Shake check out their official website, Facebook, and Bandcamp, and Twitter pages. Check them out at the Bowery Ballroom every Wednesday in February.

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