Admittedly, the origin of The Sheiks’ name might be a tad uncouth, but the moniker suits the local alt-rockers pretty well.
“We used to jam with a Pakistani guy, so we thought we’d be The Sheiks,” lead singer Matt Milligan said, laughing. “Also, he’s a highly fashionable man. We may not be Pakistani, but we are pretty fashionable.”
The Sheiks fill a glaring void in the Oklahoma music scene left empty by the February 2009 demise of The Stock Market Crash, openly lusting for the polished indie-rock stylings of acts like The Strokes, Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party.
“I’ve always been a huge advocate for garage rock,” Milligan said. “I wanted to do something in that vein, and it didn’t feel like there were that many bands doing that in the local area. We wanted to come into that sound and do it in our own sort of way.”
Collaborating with multi-instrumentalist Jeb McCalmont last summer, Milligan soon found a supporting cast in guitarist Nick Rohleder and drummer Brett Scott. The band played its first show in March and has enjoyed a strong response ever since.“I don’t feel like there’s a band that sounds like us in Oklahoma, as douchey as that sounds,” Milligan said. “I’ve heard a lot of hardcore bands and folk bands. It seems like this style has just been totally missed in the local community.”
Lately, The Sheiks have showcased their chops on exceedingly better singles released over the past few months, highlighted by the dreamy “Taking It Slow” and Interpol-esque “Faker,” boasting a hook that is radio-ready. They may be wet behind the ears, but the collective group’s ear for melody is one that bands twice as experienced only can wish for.
“I feel like we are honing in on our own sound,” Milligan said. “We derived our sound from a lot of different bands, and it seems like we are finally centering on something that sounds unique to us.”
The next few months will find the guys in transition, as college and such comes into play. But The Sheiks are more than willing to find a way to make things work, hoping that studio time and more concerts will come.
“We want to extend our fan base,” Milligan said. “It’d be great to get these songs professionally done, and try to get our music out to as many people as we can. We’d love to sign a deal and see where this can go.”