Twin Shadow


Written by Johny Chhetri
Photos and illustrations by Rebecca Oxtaby Parker & Samantha West
01 Monday 01st November 2010

Twin Shadow is the brainchild of New York-based musician and all around nice guy George Lewis Jr. Making his UK debut at White Heat at Madame Jojo’s last week, Lewis Jr. has already garnered a strong following via blogs and websites like Pitchfork and the NME, and nearly packed out the gig at the Hoxton Bar and Kitchen.

With his debut album Forget dropping on legendary label 4AD soon (November 15 to be exact), we thought we’d have a lil’ chat with the man himself before he graced the stage of the Hoxton Bar and Kitchen on Thursday night. Oh, did we mention that this is the first time he’s been to the UK and that he had to drive the band around, gear and all? I’m not sure how he got to the show on time either!
How did it feel to get Rough Trade’s Album of the Month?
It feels pretty amazing. I wish I lived here and understood more about the importance of it. I do understand that it’s important, it was a trip to come to the shop and it was a dream of mine as a kid to have my poster on the wall.
How was working with Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear?
Pretty great, Chris and I get along really well and we’re going to continue to work together. We’ve become really good friends, so it was pretty nice.
Were you starstruck at first?
Err, I’m gonna say... no. Chris is a heavy cat, but it would take a more heavy duty and older cat.
What about if Michael Jackson came back from the grave and said, “Hey George, I really like your stuff, we’ve been listening to it in heaven. I’m a big fan.”
Ha ha, it’s so sad that the album didn’t come out before he died, I would have loved to listen to it.
And he announced that tour, not a good time to die at all. How differently would things have panned out if you didn’t move to New York City?
Certainly, if I stayed in Florida, I’d probably have a kid.
Whoa, what would you have named the kid?
Bob, ha ha. Something really boring.
What was it like before you moved to NYC?
I actually spent some time in Boston before that and it was good. You feel disconnected there; you don’t feel like you’re really a part of anything. And then you get to New York, which gives you the illusion that there’s something to be a part of when you go, but you’re not. You’re very much alone in this world.
Where did you find the inspiration for your smooth tunes?
I hope it’s not too smooth, ha ha!
Man, it’s pretty smooth, you could take a girl home to that.
Ha ha ha ha, you could! The inspiration? I’m not sure, Sade records have always been a big part of my “music listening”, I would count her as an inspiration, but if you wanna talk about smooth, she’s pretty fucking smooth.
My mom listened to a lot of Hall & Oates too, I probably picked up a bit from that, but there’s no direct inspiration for this record, it just rolled out and this is what it is.
What other bands were you involved in before Twin Shadow?
I was in a band called Drug Rug for a little while.
How different were they to Twin Shadow?
Oh yeah, very. It was like 60s, Beatles-esque music, I played bass for them. I was also in a punk band too, but this feel like me. This is the first time I’ve ever done something that’s just me, not collaborative with anyone else.
There’s quite a punky edge to your live set.
Yeah, I grew up listening to punk music, The Clash were a big part of my musical upbringing. It’s just in there, you know? I can’t really get away from it.
I’m sure people have asked you this before, but what was the concept behind the video for ‘Slow’?
The concept was just to pay homage to the Calvin Klein commercials from the 90s. A lot of fashion commercials at the time were very heavily over-sexed, even old Janet Jackson videos were the same.
I see, I never really grew up watching those commercials so when it was NSFW; I was like, “Whoa! Not suitable for work eh? Sounds like my kind of thing.” Then I watched it and got confused.
Ha ha, we just put that on there as the Calvin Klein commercials had been banned. We weren’t trying to make a subversive video at all, we were just paying homage to that time.
Who would advise people to listen to more of?
People should listen to more Roy Orbison, 13th Floor Elevators and Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde every day. Tame Impala are fucking amazing too, also the first MGMT records.
Time for some mad controversy, who would you advise people to listen to less of?
Oh wow, that’s a great one! I like that. That really goes with my punk attitude towards life! Listen to less of? Kid Rock, err, hmm...
Insane Clown Posse?
There’s a need for that man. If you live in Florida and have nothing going on in your life, you need that band! Also, I’m gonna meet Kid Rock one day, he’s got to eat too but people should listen to him less.
Yes, especially when he blatantly rips off Lynard Skynard! That song was so fucking catchy.
Also, especially when he puts his song in advertisements for the US Military.
Did he?!
Whoa, so he’s basically telling people to kill and possibly get killed.
I have friends who have gone off to Iraq, and, you know, they have to eat as well and they believe in what they believe in. But, promoting ignorant American patriotism is bullshit.
That was pretty wise; do you have any more wise words for the youth of today?
Do not be ironic. Do not be cynical. It’s annoying and it’s worthless. Just try to believe in somebody or something, and then try to do whatever you want. Fuck irony, throw it in the trash.
For more info on Twin Shadow check this out.


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