We jumped on Zoom with Ethan and Parker from Oshkosh, Wisconsin alternative rock band Shoobie to talk about their album “Gunk,” colors, and the return of live music.
What’s your go-to gas station order?
Parker: Pizza from the specific gas station Casey’s.
Ethan: I always get the cheesy breadsticks from Kwik Trip. With marinara sauce.
What was your first impression of your bandmates when you met?
Parker: We met in a weird circumstance, at his brother’s birthday party. I met his brother skateboarding. Long story short.
Ethan: We both went to UW Oshkosh. Really meeting him, we were playing beer pong or something and we really bonded over being so good at beer pong. Since that moment I’ve been like, this guy’s pretty cool. As you can see, we’re holding hands, so that’s how cool we are. Down for life, bro.
Your first LP “Gunk” dropped just a few months ago after you guys worked on it since Nov. 2019. What was the process of making this record like during a pandemic and what does it mean to you?
Parker: It was already kind of made, we already had the songs written and done before the pandemic.
Ethan: Ironically, writing this album in 2019 was a great Segway into 2020 because of everything that happened.
Parker: We wrote an EP prior called “A Very Strange Time to be Alive” and it was a really strange time to be alive, which was an even greater segway into this. Like, ah fudge. It was kind of difficult, but once we figured out what we were gonna do, it was pretty easy, because we knew what we wanted to do before all the stuff hit the fan.
The album cover for “GUNK” and your Spotify icon both feature green tentacle imagery. What is it about this monster that appeals to you and makes it a sort of mascot of the band?
Parker: Were you going to say something hentai related?
Ethan: No! I don’t even know what that is. I couldn’t even spell that.
Parker: I couldn’t tell ya. No, it’s a character I’ve been drawing since I was in high school. I kind of went into painting not too long ago, and that was what kind of sparked the album. I made that painting for Gunk, and I was like oh what the heck, I need to write something for Gunk that makes sense for the time period that I’ve been drawing it. So I kind of wrote a story around this creature, and from that Gunk was kind of born.
Ethan: And to comment off of that, one of the interesting things about Parker’s paintings is that these snake people never have a tail in any of the pictures, so this character that has been created is constantly traveling through different paintings and stuff like that. Through different dimensions.
Parker: It was actually a painting I made for Ethan, so he has it now. It was a spicy painting. I was in love.
In many ways the LP sounds very instrumentally driven, with some tracks emphasizing instrumentals over lyrics/vocals, like “Panic Rumble”. How do you navigate between lyrics and instrumentals in your writing?
Parker: I think for this one, it was just kind of capturing the atmosphere of it, because it was supposed to be evil sounding in a way or just kind of dramatic. For “Panic Rumble,” it was just kind of an establishing song that made you feel what it would be like to be someone hiding underground. That’s the main thing, trying to paint a picture. Talking too much kind of over-explains things.
Ethan: I remember when we started playing “Panic Rumble.” We were all just jamming out, and we just kept playing this thing over and over again, just like a constant buildup and then back down. We thought that sounded so cool. A song doesn’t need words. We’re pretty happy with it, I’ll say.
Parker: I think we balanced it decently. And Leah shreds on it, which is always sick, and it’s beautiful.
Is there a song off the latest LP you feel most proud of or one that stands out to you the most?
Parker: I like “Ground Roller” the most. That’s my personal opinion. It’s just fun.
Ethan: That song is really fun. But I’d have to say for me, that “It’s Not a Dream” is just an absolute trip for me every time I listen to that song. It sounds so cool. One of my favorite genres of music is doom metal, and the tempo that we play that at as well reminds me of some doom metal drumming or whatever. It’s such a badass song.
Another 2020 project of yours is your self-titled acoustic EP. Is there a reason behind why you chose the songs you did to have these alternate versions?
Parker: It wasn’t so thought out as it probably should have been. I bought a new acoustic guitar, and I was hanging out in quarantine with Leah and we were just kind of jamming some of our songs and trying to record some stuff. We were just kind of playing together and we picked a few songs that worked. It was just kind of some of the past, some of the current, a little of the future. That kind of thing.
Your video for “Rose Gold” features a lot of cozy fall aesthetics. Even though it’s summer, what are some of your favorite autumn activities?
Parker: Skateboarding is fun.
Ethan: The skate park. Disc golf. Shoutout to your local disc golf scene for real. It’s one of the coolest growing sports for real. Just a quick plug, Tuesday Night Toss in Oshkosh, we’re a part of their disc golf league.
Parker: Making music videos. In the leaves.
“Rose Gold” describes someone appearing to the narrator to embody that color. What color do you feel you embody, and why?
Ethan: That is a good question.
Parker: I like yellow, man.
Ethan: Dude, you are yellow, man.
Parker: Kind of like, electric.
Ethan: I would say, probably an orange, because I’m tangy. And a cutie. There’s a lot of red happening in our outfits. That was not planned.
Parker: Our colors are matched. Close to the same.
You guys recently played a show out in Madison, how are you feeling about shows slowly coming back, and where do you hope to see yourselves a few months down the line?
Parker: Probably still outdoors. That’s best-case scenario as of right now.
Ethan: We’ve only done so many outdoor shows but playing outside is so cool. It’s the best. You hear everything, especially like hearing it bouncing off the buildings and stuff.
Parker: Yeah. It’s kind of tricky, though, because I sounded quieter than I was.
Ethan: I literally thought that it was My Chemical Romance’s—
Parker: Live in New Mexico, dude.
Ethan: No, like the first album that they played as a band after not playing for awhile. That’s how I felt. Everyone in the crowd was just going crazy. Epic rock and roll. UW Madison was sick.
Parker: Being outside is gonna be clutch for the summer especially, and it just allows for that distancing. Hopefully that’s the case, and that doesn’t harm anyone. And if it does spike, close it back down.
Ethan: Shoutout to Stu for that. He’s a god, you know. And the other bands that played, Thicket was one of them. They’re from Madison and they were incredible.
Parker: Really sick show.