The Current’s audience voted the Shackletons’ “Minnesota Girls” number three among the Top 89 Local Songs of 2017, and the band’s music video for the track is out today. The Shackletons have connections to Minnesota that stretch far beyond that song, and have built a considerable following in the local and regional music scenes.
Existing in three different bands with about five different name variations before becoming the Shackletons we know today, Campbell brothers Cameron, Colin, and Evan all grew up listening to and playing music. The credit goes to their dad for sparking that appreciation in them from an early age by exposing them to the Who, Tom Petty, the Hold Steady, the Replacements, and a weird amount of Celtic music during the late ’90s. Their namesake comes from a line about the Antarctic explorer in a song by the Weakerthans, a band that Colin describes as a “really awesome folk-rock band — lyrically just out of this f—ing world.”
If you’re not familiar with the Shackletons but are noticing a theme in the music they’re inspired by, their sound isn’t far off: mixing garage rock, punk, blues, and lyrical storytelling. Brother bands haven’t always been harmonious, but the Campbells say there’s very little drama among them. The dynamic is very open, says Cameron: “If it doesn’t work, none of us are gonna sit there and be shy about it. It’s just like, ‘Dude! That sounds like s–t, do something else!’”
Colin does the songwriting and usually comes to Cameron and Evan with a pretty solid idea of the intended sound and they hash it out from there. The Shackletons just recorded a new song (release date to be determined) with Ed Ackerson at Flowers Studio who they’ve recorded all their music with since 2014. Colin says that Ackerson has become a sort of mentor to him in all the time they’ve worked together, giving honest and direct advice about the music scene and helping them with their evolution as a band. “Ed can work with whoever the f–k he wants to, but he digs us, and we dig Flowers, so we’re really appreciative.”
Honesty is important in not only their music but also in their performance. The Campbell brothers understand that every action you do on stage has to be a little larger than life, saying they just want to be as entertaining as they can be. Evan says that on stage “it’s just us,” but they take inspiration from rockers like Pete Townshend and Paul Westerberg, and Colin adds that “the best bands in the world are always the bands that look like they’re going to fall apart right before your eyes, but they never do.”
After the successful release of their sophomore EP, Second Attempt, fans can look forward to new music on its way. The end game is ultimately to “not have to work,” says Cameron (meaning outside of music), and while they are hopeful for the future, they remain realistic about what they should be focusing on at the moment.
“Do I want to sell out First Ave?” asks Colin. “F–k yeah! Is it even on my radar right now? No. We have to just keep building right now.”