COLUMBIA, South Carolina’s E.Z. Shakes started, for all intents and purposes, as a solo project spearheaded by Zach Seibert. These days it’s a lot more like a band, thanks to the contributions of his bandmates - including guitarist John Furr. The music blends folk with country western influences, but there’s a slight indie rock and alternative edge that makes it a really unique listen.
The band is coming to town for a show alongside Boo Hag, a group that features Seibert’s brother, on Sat., May 25. Ahead of the show, we spoke to Seibert and Furr about the band’s journey so far.
Tell me about how this project came about?
Seibert: There’s a bluegrass band here called the Mustache Brothers, who asked me to come and sit in with them when I was doing this sort of side-ish project. That project played for maybe six months and then started to fizzle out - it was kind of an outlaw country thing. But in the meantime, the pedal steel player in the band, Todd Hicks, and I started to click really well. I’d had all of these songs that I wanted to do something with, and I’d always wanted to play with a pedal steel player.
That was born, and at first it was just the two of us. And then John had heard an EP we did. He approached Todd somewhere - I’m not 100 percent sure where.
Furr: It was at Oktoberfest. I recognized some of the songs because Zach had played them for me, but I didn’t realize that they were going to put it into a band. I just said, “Hey, I hear something in this that I think I’d like to add.”
So the full-length record y’all did was recorded at Mitch Easter’s studio, right?
Seibert: We did the full-length at his place with a woman named Missy Thangs. We have nothing about glorious things to say about that place and her.
It’s such a vibey place, and I feel like it’s hard to make a bad record there.
Furr: It was a magical weekend. I’ve done a lot of recording in a lot of different studios, and this was the best experience I’ve ever had. We did our first gig in December [of 2017], and we were in the studio by March recording a full-length. And at that time, we didn’t have a bass player. So we did it live, and then I overdubbed bass. Zach tracked all of his vocals live, and we were all in the room together. It was two days of recording and two days mixing.
That would’ve been a quick period of writing between when the band got off the ground and when you went in to record. What was the process like of writing those songs? Was it mostly you, Zach?
Seibert: I would bring the bare bones of the songs. Some of the arrangements might change - when I write them, I don’t write the breaks in and things like that. As we played, it got much more collaborative. At first it was me writing the songs and everybody coloring them, but that has definitely changed to some degree. I still write the songs, but as far as everything else, it’s anybody’s guess as to where it’s going to go. Which is awesome for me.
Furr: It’s still 100% Zach’s songwriting - incredible vocals, incredible lyrics. I will put his songs up against any songwriters. The only thing that’s kind of different now is that we’ve been expanding out now on instrumentation.