Art & Culture Reviews

Interview: Twin XL Evolve from the Studio to the Stage

Photo by Carol Simpson

While catching up with Cameron Walker and John Gomez of Twin XL after their NYC debut it was evident that the current trajectory and existence of Twin XL was and continues to be a largely organic endeavor. Having been friends for years, Cameron, Stephen, and John have been able to grow alongside eachother throughout the years and tackle their individual journeys throughout the music industry together.

Twin XL are re-invigorating the indie-pop sphere with their thoughtful production, carefully curated aesthetic, and enticing, singable lyrics. Their first single Good is still as addicting as ever for listeners and inching closer and closer to half a million streams on Spotify every day. Friends trails behind in second place, but surely will easily catch up over the next few months. Perfectly balanced electronic elements with groovy bass lines and sweet guitar riffs add a special taste to each song. It takes more than one listen to dive into every carefully timed nuance on their EP How To Talk To Strangers.

The West coast based band just wrapped up a run with The Mowgli’s and Jukebox The Ghost. Not bad for a first tour. Cameron has previously written with Colin of The Mowgli’s and joining the tour package was a seamless jump. As for The Mowgli’s and Jukebox the Ghost fans reacting to the Twin XL set, these fans welcomed them with open arms. “In some ways it’s crazy that this is our first tour and it’s such a great tour to be on and the crowds are great every night. We’re very thankful for that. In other ways, it feels like home and friends.”

Brooklyn Steel is a hot spot for hip music fans to catch their favorite artists. As the converted warehouse filled up with mostly older music fans just getting off of work, Twin XL took the stage for their first NYC show and they instantly received a warm reception as everyone was doting over their light up signs on either side of the stage, “We Are Twin XL” and “You Are Having Fun”. Their debut EP How To Talk To Strangers is short enough to be almost their entire set, but long enough to leave more for fans to discover on their own.

Taking it back to the beginning of Twin XL, it almost seems like something that was bound to happen eventually. Cameron describes their effortless start, “Eventually we all ended up moving out to LA around the same time. We saw each other at a party. We talked about it again and it made sense. We got together and wrote ‘Good’…We kept writing and writing and writing and we never even talked about starting a band. It was so funny because I remember after one session, we were writing just to maybe pitch songs to other artists, that’s kind of what we talked about. John was like ‘hey do you want to start a band?” and I thought yeah that would be awesome. People say that a lot, but then to actually go do it, and then make a music video and really do the thing it just became more and more real. It was very natural and the most organic way to start a band possible.” John described the band as having been “built in the studio”.

Photo by Carol Simpson

The entire creative process for that EP was the result of a natural progression between the highly creative trio. Stephen is described as a “computer wiz” by Cameron and John’s creative direction has amplified the band’s branding and identity. Their songs are transformed live with the help of Dave Briggs on the drums, who also assisted in the studio. It seems evident that Twin XL has a firm understanding of who they are and what they want to achieve as a band. Years of industry experience in other projects has led to this moment. “I think it has eliminated a lot of the trial and error that came with starting and working on previous projects. We have that experience [so] we can say we should do this this way or that that way. I think we have a good sense of sort the bigger grander vision of things. Everything we do is working towards a greater goal. Nothing about this band is shortsighted and we’re very hands on with everything we do.”

Photo by Carol Simpson

So with all of the starter questions answered and a DIY work ethic, how does Twin XL fit into their current state of being? Cameron put it perfectly as “It’s definitely a reflection of how we have all grown individually in terms of our musical taste.” He opened up about having felt stuck in a box of musical taste in recent years. “Especially making music for a living, the last thing I want to do when I get home is listen to music, but I have sort of found this new love of discovering new music through working with John and Stephen which is very inspiring and I think personally and lyrically.”

This feels like a culmination of influences that we have always had and it’s just cool to have a clean slate to go make something new. – John Gomez

Beyond just making music they love and hanging with friends, Twin XL has provided them with an outlet to talk about some heartfelt emotions. Far more mature than they were when writing for past projects, they’re tackling new topics and embracing honesty and depth. “There are songs on the EP/album that are very much a feel good, vibey track, but there are some songs that we lyrically say some shit that I’m like that’s how I feel in life right now. In our song ‘Don’t Wake Me, I’m Still Dreaming’ it’s kind of like this reflection of how the world is so colorful when you’re kid and then you grow up and we’re all grown ups now and everything is gray all of a sudden. All you want when you’re a kid is to grow up and then you get there and you’re like fuck this isn’t that cool. It’s just the feeling of growing up and we wanted to capture that in a song. There are so many lyrical things that I am personally really proud of and that I know John and Stephen are really proud of that are very genuine and honest.” There’s a certain beauty that can be felt when you hear an artist feeling free to write whatever they want, whether it be a simple feel-good track or something a little deeper.

How To Talk To Strangers is loaded with anthems that will perfectly complement the upcoming summer season. Don’t be surprised if you catch Twin XL hitting the festival circuit next year and sharing the stage with huge names. John conveyed his excitement about their current position and the promise of their future. “We’ve played like what 15 shows together. This was really a studio project and that’s what’s at the center of this writing great songs and producing great songs. We got into this because we really enjoyed making music in the studio. The last piece of the puzzle was really putting it out and now that it’s out the cycle begins. I feel like in other projects it was hard to get music out and easy to tour and this one is like there’s so much music and that’s really exciting.”

Photo by Carol Simpson

If you’re lucky enough to catch Twin XL at a show this summer take full advantage of it and indulge in their set. Don’t worry you’ll also have plenty of chances to catch them live this fall. Listen to Twin XL on all major streaming platforms and keep up with them on social media. Check out “Don’t Wake Me, I’m Still Dreaming” on our New Impressions Playlist here.

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Can’t get enough of Twin XL? Enter our giveaway on Twitter to win a special polaroid of the band. Follow @ImpressionsZine for the rules and entry.

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