Twin Shadow have made one of the best albums of the year so far with their new effort 'Confess', an epic collection of synth-laden love songs and eighties influenced pop tracks.
We caught up with frontman George Lewis Jr to chat about the making of the album and his interest in riding (and falling off)_motorcycles and writing post-apocalyptic novels...
What kind of impact are you hoping to make with ‘Confess’?
I just want people to feel an intense amount of love I guess.
Did you put an intense amount of love into making the album?
Yeah, very much so. No more than I did with the first album (2010’s ‘Forget’) but I put a lot into everything I do. I think this is a simpler album, much more emotionally direct than that one.
What did you learn through releasing your first album and how did that change your approach to the follow up?
I’ve tried to make this album much more minimal which is not easy. I wouldn’t say I’ve achieved minimalism but I have tried to be careful about how much I am layering into the lyrics and composition too. I am trying to show a smaller picture in that sense.
What is the message behind ‘Confess’. who are you confessing these things to?
The album is really me addressing a lot of my relationships and kind of taking a stance for myself against some of the people who think negatively about me. Old friends who don’t know what my life is about. Lovers I have no time for or desire for.
Did your relationships change a lot following the success of Twin Shadow?
Yeah, a lot. I can’t imagine what it must be like for someone who wins a Grammy or whatever. Just on my level you wouldn’t believe the things I have had to deal with. A lot of your time gets taken up with this life and people think you’re some kind of primadonna. I never had time for anyone before anyway.
How have you changed in the past few years?
I’m less innocent, for sure. A little more cynical too but I’m trying to fight against that and that’s a big part of making music, really believing in something.
Lots of people would consider Twin Shadow to have a distinctly 80s sound. How do you feel about that?
I disagree. I feel like every artist that most people think is positive but is really just limiting. Right now I can’t get away from it. I don’t find any particular influence from the eighties at all, I’m much more influenced by the sixties and seventies. Decades are so weird anyway, it should really be grouped 1975-1995 as that’s more similar than 1980-1990 for example.
The video for ‘Five Seconds’ is fantastic. Can you tell us a little bit about the thoughts behind it?
I wrote a novel about a boy who grows up in a world that has ended and started up again in a much more modern way. This boy starts riding motorbikes and the novel tells the story of his rise to power. Anyway, I didn’t write the story for the music video but we thought ’why not pull images from that story for music videos’?
Is this going to be something you continue with your next videos?
Possibly. It’s really hard to get a great deal of story telling in three and a half minutes. It’s also hard to make videos in general. The ’Five Seconds’ video looks a lot more expensive than it was. A lot of people did us favours.
Motorbikes seem to be a recurring theme in the world of Twin Shadow. How long have you ridden for?
I’ve been riding for around eight years now. My friend bought a motorcycle, like literally I said to him ’you should buy a bike’ and the next day he turned up with one. He taught me how to ride. I then went off to Copenhagen and made some money, returned to America and bought my own bike. I’d been riding for about three years when I crashed with a friend on the back and that’s when I started to ride less.
What happened with the crash?
I had my friend on the back, it was Winter time and I was showing off really. He jumped on the back and he was a bit heavy. We were riding through snow and the bike slipped out from under us. It could have been worse but it was not good.
Have you considered going out on tour with your bike?
I’m not sure. I tend to get a bit bored after about three hours riding so I’m not sure the travelling would work that well. What I do like the idea of is bands like Arctic Monkeys and Black Keys who take their bikes on the road with them and ride when they arrive in new towns.
Twin Shadow's new album 'Confess' is out now. Read our review here.