If you’re a fan of alternative pop, look no farther than Twin XL. The Los Angeles, CA based band is currently making waves in the alternative space with their synth-y and rhythmic songs. We had the opportunity to sit down and chat with John Gomez (guitar), Stephen Gomez (bass), and Cameron Walker-Wright (lead vocals, guitar) to talk about the band’s history, touring with The Maine, and their new single “Messy.”
BTS: Can you tell us how you got started with making music?
Cameron Walker-Wright: We met over a decade ago playing in different bands and just through playing shows and seeing each other. Then we reconnected and became friends when we all moved to Los Angeles. We just kept seeing each other around town and it seemed like it would be a waste of a potentially good time to not write some songs together, so we did and then we eventually started Twin XL. It was a very happy accident.
BTS: How would you describe your music for someone who hasn’t heard it before?
CWW: Not emo, but extremely emo.
John Gomez: I think it kind of lives in the alternative space, like alternative pop maybe?
Stephen Gomez: Yeah, in the alternative space but with rhythmic tendencies and hooky melodies.
CWW:Stephen and John love to experiment with a lot of stuff on the production side, like they love finding cool vinyl samples that add this dusty quality to our songs. It kind of gives some of our songs this throwback hip-hop feel that sets us apart from a lot of other alternative bands.
BTS: Who are some of your musical influences?
CWW: I don’t know – life I guess?
SG: We have a lot of shared influences, which is kind of a cool middle ground that we meet on. We love a lot of indie rock, indie pop.
JG: On the indie and alternative side of things, we all like MGMT, GroupLove, Foster The People, bands like that. But on the other side of the spectrum Stephen and I are incredibly into hip-hop.
SG: Yeah, I love super rhythmic and soulful hip-hop.
JG: We really just try our best to blend all of our influences together as much as we can.
BTS: What’s your process like in the studio when it comes to writing and recording?
CWW: Stephen has a cornucopia of drum beats that he often just makes in the van while we’re on tour.
SG: Then John usually comes in with some chords on guitar and we’ll kind of start humming melodies over it together until we find something that fits.
CWW: Usually Stephen has a lot of cool starts of songs that he’s working on so if something isn’t fitting we can switch to something else to see if that fits better. It’s a really quick process for us to just get things started. Once we get to the lyrics, that’s when we really dive into the concept and what we want the song to be about and what it’s going to mean.
BTS: Can you tell us about your new single “Messy”?
JG: We wrote it with our friend COLIN ??? he came to the session and pitched the idea of naming a song “Messy”. We all sort of agreed that it was either a terrible idea or it was a great idea because it’s sort of a weird name for a song. We started dissecting what it could mean, so we talked about how you can get caught up in a cycle of disrepair and can’t figure out what’s wrong with you. I think we all spend a lot of time thinking our lives are supposed to be a perfect series of events and how we’re constantly trying to master the art of perfecting ourselves or our career or whatever it is. The song is just kind of accepting the fact that things are just going to get messy along the way, and that’s really just how life is and there’s no avoiding it.
BTS: How did the writing and recording process for “Messy” differ from “How To Talk To Strangers”?
SG: It took a long time to put “Messy” together, especially on the production end of it.
JG: We definitely felt our way through the production more, it took us a lot longer to feel like we were getting it right. I think song-wise, it was one of the fastest songs we’ve ever written. Once we started writing the verses they sort of wrote themselves almost.
SG: The song was written in a few hours I think.
JG: Yeah, which isn’t super uncommon for us. But there was something special about this song that we wanted to see through.
SG: We also went through a lot of mixes of this song. There are three different drum kits used throughout the song, and we were trying to mash up a bunch of different influences of things we were listening to at the time, so we had to find the right balance for everything.
BTS: You guys are on tour with The Maine right now – how’s that been going?
JG: It’s going great. We have a lot of history with them, Stephen and I have known those guys since we were starting our first bands in high school. So, it’s sort of full circle for our first full U.S. tour in this new musical venture to kick it off with some dudes who we grew up with. The crowds have been so incredible, and The Maine puts on a great show every night.
CWW: They treat us very well. We very much feel like we’re a part of their family and the experience.
BTS: What’s been your favorite part of touring so far?
JG: Meeting people has been amazing. When we first started this band after being in other bands for so long, we know that fans are really made on the road and that you have to hop in a van and drive around the country and meet real people and play the songs live. We knew that was the only way to do it, so getting the chance to do it is always the hardest part. The fact that we’ve been so lucky this year to be able to be welcomed onto so many tours, especially this one with The Maine, and we have one next year with Fitz & The Tantrums, we’re just incredibly grateful to be able to cut our teeth and meet people.
CWW: It’s important to us that we can meet people and meet our fans and let them know how much we appreciate them coming out to see us. Asking someone to come out and see us is a big thing – they have to take time out of their own day and their own life to physically go and do something like see a band they may not be familiar with. It’s so easy to just go stream our songs or go to YouTube and watch our videos, but the fact that someone comes to our shows and actually physically watches our set is the coolest thing in the world. For that reason, we want to meet every single person and thank them for coming out to the show.
BTS: What can fans expect from you next year?
JG: We just released “Messy,” and we’re going to wrap up this tour with The Maine in December. Then we’re going to spend all of December and January writing and recording and getting music together to release in 2020. Next year, we really just want to put out as much music as possible.
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