Floating out of Long Island, NY, Twin Sister make dreamy, experimental pop that’s so good, you can hardly believe they make it all in their bedrooms and basements. Roving, radical reporter Rav, caught up with the band’s bass player Gabe D’Amico to talk about their latest EP Color Your Life, giving up on promoting yourself through MySpace, and why the band decided to sign with Aussie label Pop Frenzy.
How did you guys meet/start playing music together?
The five of us are all from Long Island. We played in several different bands while we were growing up and we kind of met each other playing music with different bands. As time passed we started playing more and more with each other in kind of an informal way and then two years ago it started becoming a little more serious and a little more official.
Where does the band’s name come from?
Andrea made this painting for Eric years ago. It was these two sisters around this big fish and then Eric wrote a song about it called Twin Sister and then we were having a really hard time naming our band and that one was just kind of the least offensive. Nobody disliked it so it stuck.
Who would you say are the band’s major influences or did you have common influences that brought you guys together?
There’s definitely common ground for bands that we all like, and each of us all have our individual tastes. A couple of those that we share would be bands like Cocteau Twins, Stereolab, we all like Japanese pop from the 80s like Yellow Magic Orchestra and the people they worked with. Those are a few of them. And of course we’re kind of exploring music. In the last year we’ve been listening to a lot of Kraftwerk and been getting more into electronic music.
How would you describe your own music?
Our ‘go-to’ term when we get asked that is usually ‘experimental pop’ and we’re very attached to making songs that have lyrics and are usually between two minutes and five/six minutes. We’re not doing anything crazily conceptual but within the bounds of that we do like to try different things.
Obviously you guys are garnering a bit more media attention and general interest in the band of late. Was there a point when you guys were playing together where you felt that you were on to something good or something you hadn’t experienced in other bands?
Yeah, especially making music on Long Island, sometimes it starts to feel like you’re putting things out there and nobody is listening. There are so many bands that make music and people get inundated with Myspace friend requests and like “Come to my show” posts.
At a certain point we’d given up on promoting ourselves in that way and it had just become us casting songs off to our friends or just acquaintances and keeping it kind of small and it kind of just grew from there.
There was definitely a point where we’d see people [at shows] we don’t know. We’d keep seeing somebody writing something online and from places we’ve never been. That was probably the point where we were like “Oh wow, for whatever reason the stuff we were doing was having some kind of impact.”
What’s the song writing process within the band? Do you guys collaborate or is there a chief songwriter?
It changes from song to song. Usually what happens is one or two of us have kind of like a little seed of an idea and it sits around for a while. And then someone else will come along with an addition and eventually we’ll get to a point where all five of us are really liking the direction of it and then we kind of feel like it’s close to being done because everybody’s happy.
On Color Your Life, All Around And Away We Go started as a demo that Eric and Andrea recorded together and then Bryan and I recorded a couple of things on top of that demo and then we completely changed the feel the song a few months after it had been written originally while we were just rehearsing. And then the song kind of grew out from there. So everybody at some point in the process gets their hands into the song but it doesn’t always start in the same place or end in the same place. Like for the sake of simplicity we just split the songwriter credits five ways, which isn’t always accurate to the song but it goes through so many cycles and changes that by the end of it, it is kind of unrecognisable from how it started.
What can you tell me about Color Your Life?
We put it out on our website in March of this year and then it got pressed and released a couple of months later in the US and then it’s gonna be put out in Europe and Australia. But it was recorded a year before. We started recording in February or March of 2009, and then we finished pretty much a year later. It took a really long time mostly because we weren’t living very close to each other and we had other things that we were doing like jobs and school and things like that. So the whole process was broken up. There was lots of breaks and time in between. And we made it all pretty much in our bedrooms and our basements. We didn’t do anything in a studio or anything, we just self-recorded the whole thing. It was kind of an intimidating experience, particularly being stressed out for so long toward the end. We were all going a little crazy because we’d been listening to all those recordings for almost two and a half months.
I heard you guys had a few labels chasing you, what made you guys sign with Pop Frenzy?
They actually just approached us and our only hesitation with signing to a label was doing something where we had options of doing things in the future. We always wanted to have the record out in as much of the world as possible. But we also didn’t want to do something where wanting to make that happen meant that the next few things we did after that would be set in stone. We’re pretty early in the process of understanding what it means to be a band and trying to figure out what we want do, so we didn’t want to have too many constraints placed upon us. Pop Frenzy was nice enough to just say “Hey, we’ll just license this release and put it out without any strings attached,” and that was pretty much an ideal situation for us, so we jumped on board.
So what’s the next step for Twin Sister?
We’re just finishing a tour right now with this Canadian band called Memory House. We get home in September and we’re taking all of September to just rehearse and flesh out some ideas that we’ve had over the last few months and then we have a couple of tours in October and November but after that we’re gonna take a few months to make a record and we’re really excited about because we’ve all quit our jobs so we can spend all day everyday making music which is very new to all of us. We’ve never had that opportunity before. So it should be really fun.
So are you looking at 2011 as the big year for Twin Sister?
Oh yeah, well as far as just being able to do music full time is pretty amazing and we’re hoping to make the most of it. You know, we don’t know how long this kind of thing can last and how far it can go but while it’s here we’re going to try and capitalise on it and make as much music as possible.
Originally published on Polaroids Of Androids