New Shook Planet single signals new sonic direction
Today marks a turning point for Kingston musician Ted Evans, who for the past several years, has been writing, recording and livestreaming under the name Shook Planet. Evans’ new single, “Let It Go,” dropped today, and with its release, he revealed the project’s brand “new signature sound,” drawing influence from “…classic psychedelic rock, punk, and modern indie,” an official statement explained.
The song itself is an absolute scorcher! Beneath the layers of garage-y hooks and punky vocals is a torrent of attitude and style that’s the hallmark of Ted Evans’ repertoire. “Let It Go” is guaranteed to get heads bopping and feet stomping. We’d defy anyone to try and sit still through a listen.
Evans has become a fixture of the Kingston music scene since emerging in 2009. He’s written, recorded, and performed with a number of different bands and artists, and his creative output—primarily as Shook Planet—throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been prolific. Prior to today’s release of “Let It Go,” we caught up with Evans, who shared his excitement for the new single, and the significance it represents to him as an artist.
Q: Shook Planet started as an experimental side project to keep you creative during the first waves of COVID pandemic lockdowns. How does the Shook Planet of today differ from the project it began as a couple of years ago?
Originally, Shook Planet was just an outlet for me playing piano, or electronic dance songs. I did a lot of dance and beats kind of R&B and hip hop and that kind of stuff, which was really new for me.
I thought I should change things up. I had been having this feeling for a while. I just wanted a change. I thought, “I’ve been doing this solo thing; it’s been really random.” And as fun as that was, the change I needed to make was to find a new direction. And I did.
It was kind of the most natural direction for me. When I pick up a bass or guitar. I can write this fast, punk kind of riff rock; psychedelic, garage rock. I know that’s where my roots are, and the music that inspires me. And so, that’s what I’m writing now. That’s what I’m going with for Shook Planet.
Q: What was it that drove your desire to pursue a different creative direction with Shook Planet?
I started Shook Planet basically right at the start of the pandemic, but lately I’ve been like, “What have I’ve been doing for two years in this project?” As a writer, producer and composer, you have to explore things. That’s what I was really enjoying with Shook Planet. As much as it was fun to have this blank canvas, I’ve started doing that under my own name. So, I’ve still got that outlet as a writer where I can put stuff out and be Ted Evans, the writer and producer, composer. But then, when I’m doing Shook Planet, it’s going to be this fast, riff rock, garage kind of punk, indie, psych stuff. The first impression I’m hoping people get when they look at Shook Planet, is like a rock, indie, garage, punk band.
Q: You now describe Shook Planet as a “fiery psych-rock/punk BAND.” Are there others involved in the project now? Band members maybe?
Currently, no. I don’t have touring members. I have a lot of creative minds in on the process of Shook Planet. People have said, “I’ll play bass for you, if you go on tour.” People who are in the realm of Shook Planet. They’re in the orbit, so to speak. And so, I’m hoping to bring some people in and I’ve got a few people in mind that I’ve met over the years, touring. I think I’ve got a roster in my head right now.
Q: Your new single, “Let It Go,” draws on classic psychedelic rock, punk, and modern indie influences. How did these you come to be influenced by these sounds from those that were influencing early Shook Planet songs?
It was hard for me not to do this kind of songs only when I first started Shook Planet. This feels like going back to the roots of what started it for me; like the music I listened to and really started learning when I first picked up a bass and started taking lessons.
Q: Will there be more singles to follow? An album? Live performances?
Yeah. I’ve got three more songs in the works in similar kind of style to “Let It Go,” I think very fitting for an EP, and I’m hoping to put out an EP with “Let It Go” as the lead single. It’s already out, so then those three to follow are going to finish out the EP. And that’s what I’m hoping to take on tour. Once I get these members together and get a touring group going, we’ll tour with that EP.
Q: Are you nervous at all to get back in front of a live audience?
No, I think it’s excitement at this point. We did a show in Oshawa with The Meringues in January, when there were still capacity limits, and it was us and Futura Free from Kingston, and we played with Howlin’ Circus from Toronto. It was a great show. And that was the first time I’d hit the stage in about two years, and I think I got all my nerves out that night, because it hit like a wave, honestly. After that long, everything, we were just sitting there. I felt like I looked like a ghost before I went on stage. Like just everything had drained out of me. I got up on stage and then we just went nuts, and it was awesome.
Q: Does the new direction for Shook Planet mean you’ll be leaving those other projects, like The Meringues, behind?
Oh, definitely not. I think the new idea with Shook Planet is it still stays in line for me. What it always was: an outlet for when I write something, and it’s not a Meringues song, and it’s not a whatever other band I was playing in at that time song. It’s something I can release. I also like working as a producer or just recording engineer. And you might see Shook Planet as a credit on some albums coming out soon.
Q: What can you tell us about “Let It Go,” the new single?
This song was definitely inspired by a group out of Toronto that I’ve been following called Wine Lips. The intro, especially. When I was writing this song, I had this riff kind of on the bass and I wondered, “How do I want to come into this song? I need it to hit hard. It’s going to be the new direction, the new first song.” Wine Lips have this song (Eyes) and just the way it hit was so inspiring, and I thought I need something like that. It’s not written just like it, but to me, it was inspired by it. So, it was just something that I wanted to do. I don’t know. I guess, the title kind of explains it a little bit. Letting go the old and bringing in the new, with a bit of a bang.