Interview With Twin Shadow

Twin Shadow Podcast Northern Transmissions

Charles Brownstein from Northern Transmissions with George Lewis Jr. aka “Twin Shadow” about his new album, “Confess, and of course Motorcycles.

NT: I want to ask about your new record first off—I’m sure you’ve answered this question a million times, so please forgive me, but I was curious… from what I’ve read, it seems you were inspired by a motorcycle accident? Can you elaborate a bit on what impact that had on the record, and also your personal life, a little bit?

GLJ: I think it’s a big misconception that it was a big inspiration for the record. I didn’t have a press release out yet and my manager had asked me to write something about the record, and the emphasis was more about the fact that I love making records, and I love being around on earth, making records at this time. That was just a moment where my life was challenged, I guess, and I got lucky. It was actually a long time ago—like, 6 years ago, the motorcycle accident—it was just a way of me expressing my desire to be doing what I’m doing, and my appreciation for the opportunity… and the opportunity comes from my fans, in a way: their desire to buy into my vision. That’s what I was trying to express there.

CB: You haven’t shied away from motorcycle riding, then? I think you did the stunts in the video for 5 seconds?

GlJ: Yeah, I do. (laugh) Believe me, there’s people doing way more impressive things with motorcycles than I can, but I have an adventurous spirit. I like riding motorcycles, I like fucking around—I think it’s an important thing to do with your life. Just take some risks sometimes. Yeah, it scared me a bit when I had the accident, but it didn’t scare me away. You know, every day you hear really sad stories about people dying on motorcycles, and I hope to God that’s not my fate.

CB: Is it a good thing to go out when you’re having a writing blockage, to get out on your bike?

GLJ: It is in a way only because it’s something that really clears your mind. It lets your mind dream up a lot of things—it has this power to just open your mind to a lot of things, so I like doing it. Everyone has an activity that lets them clear their mind, and get ideas, and that one just works really well for me.

CB: On your last record you worked with Chris Taylor on the album “Forget’… he put the album out on his label, but your new album is pretty much self-produced. Was it a big challenge for you to do all this yourself?

GLJ:  It certainly was a challenge, but I’ve learned so much in the last couple of years it’s crazy. It wasn’t like I said “oh God, I don’t know if I can do this”… I was just like, “I can do this now. Why don’t I do it?” I like a challenge, and I continue to try to challenge myself in that aspect; it’s just kind of a fun thing to do, and it’s your music, and it’s the most important thing for me, and I felt it was time to take care of it all on my own… which might change, I don’t know. I might go in the totally opposite direction on the next record, I’m not sure.

I went headfirst into the first record: I didn’t know anything about it, at first, but I went in headfirst and came out with what I did and I’ve learned a lot more since, and that’s how it’s been. I’m a lover of technology, but it’s funny, I don’t even know how to sign into my own Facebook page, so it comes twofold in a way.

CB: It’s pretty heady, playing and mixing and laying down tracks like that… it takes a certain level of concentration, right?

GLJ: Yeah, it’s a level of commitment, you know? It’s kind of a mundane thing half the time: you don’t have to learn how to plug in a microphone—you can get somebody else to do it, and there’s certainly a lot of people who would love to get paid to do that, so why not pay them? I just get frustrated with people being slow around me so I’d rather just do it myself.

CB: Have you been writing on guitar lately?

GLJ: It’s mostly piano now, but recently I’ve been going back to the guitar.

CB: You use it moreso than sitting down at the computer?

GLJ: You know, I’ll make a beat or something but I’ll never write at the computer first—it always comes from the keyboard first.

CB: What can we expect from the show? Is it a rawer sounding show? Is there a lot of technology involved?

GLJ: Yeah, it’s a rawer show, but there’s a lot more equipment onstage—the keyboard player has a lot going on, and I’m probably going to be playing some keyboards for the first time. I’m trying to play less guitar these days. I don’t know, we’ll see… we’ll see what happens.

CB: You’ve lived in a few different places—you grew up in Florida, you lived in New York, Germany, what’s been the most inspiring city to write in, and why?

GLJ: I don’t know. I don’t know anymore, ‘cause I don’t have a city that I think I’d really love to write in. I’d love to go to Poland and write a record, or I’d love to go to London and write a record. So we’ll see.

CB: Back to motorcycles again—what would be your dream motorcycle ride? Where would you like to go?

TS: Well, probably the Pacific Coast Highway… I haven’t gone up and down that yet, so I think I can do that. It’s a dream I think I can realise pretty easily.

NT: Sounds like it would be a nice ride.

TS: There’s tons of drives I’d like to do, but I’m not the guy who wants to just spend long distances on my motorcycle. I like just having it in the city, driving it through the city at night. I don’t need to drive it through deserts and canyons and all that beautiful stuff. I’m a city kid.



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