Twin Shadow: "I would fall asleep in a $1000 suit if I was tired enough."With Ferris Bueller on his way back and the 80s resurgence still in full swing (whether you like it or not), a New York hipster has charmed critics and fans alike with his love letter to the dayglo decade. Twin Shadow's debut Forget shimmers with jittering synths and soaring girlie vocals that conjure the dreamy ambience of slow dances and melancholy lyrics and new wave breaks evoke the bittersweetness of teen obsession.
The man behind the moniker, George Lewis Jr was born in the Dominican Republic, raised in Florida – the troubled son of a hairdresser and a teacher who “lived many lives” - dabbled in punk in Boston then headed to the Big Apple when he had the pop calling. While squirelled away writing in his Brooklyn apartment, his pop calling led him to Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, who co-produced the album and released it on his newly founded Terrible Records in 2010.
As Lewis attempts to scoff some lunch before his gig at Laneway in Melbourne, we swapped hot tips about gators and dags.
So how are you liking your first trip to Australia?
It’s great, really nice.
Is it very different to Florida?
Not too much, it gets pretty hot there too and we have crocs and gators. Except if we were in Florida you would have seen a gator by now.
Oh yeah, all the time.
Do you have gator education classes at school?
You’re taught that if you’re trying to get away from a gator you should zig zag, because they can’t zig zag. But gators are smart. They'll just work out where you’re going to end up and head straight for it.
Also, gators have magnets in their head. If you put a gator in a van and blindfold it…
As you do…
Yeah, as you do, and drove for miles, it would go straight back to the spot you found it in. So you’ll see gators with these bricks strapped to their heads so that the magnet doesn't work anymore.
Technical. So someone wanted to ask me, how long does it take you to get your hair like it is?
Puerto Rican women it takes two hours. Japanese women are a bit slower, it takes them four hours. I’m not very good at it myself.
And how long does it stay that way after you've had it done?
Until the rain comes.
You've been called one of New York’s most stylish by Time Out magazine. Is that a lot of pressure to live up to? What if you want to just get about in a pair of tracksuit pants?
I don't wear tracksuit pants, or any sport wear. I would fall asleep in a $1000 suit if I was tired enough. It just kind of comes naturally, I like to put an effort into my appearance, for now. I don't know if I always will but…
Twin Shadow - 'Castles In The Snow'
It’s been over a year since Forget came out. Does that seem like quite a while to you as far as a lot of touring in between and how has it changed in your live set?
The songs have taken on a whole life outside of the record, for the live show. It’s been a while but I just finished the new one.
Where did you record that?
Just before I came here, I was in LA for two months.
Was this with Chris Taylor again?
No, just me. And the band came out and worked on that as well.
So what can we expect from that? Is it a big change?
Not a huge change. It's a lot louder, a lot more energy I think. It's a bit simpler in certain ways, the arrangements I think are more to the point.
Yeah, I think. I mean the critics probably wont say that. We’ll see.
Do you care what they think?
I only care about selling records. And making sure the fans are taken care of emotionally.
And how did the relationship with Chris come about?
I just met him through his sister, actually. He heard my music and contacted me and said I want to put a song out on my label and that slowly evolved into doing an EP. And then we said ‘No let’s not do an EP, let’s do a whole record’. It was like a friendship which grew.
And do you think that changed your music at all, was there anything that rubbed off on you from him?
I certainly learnt a lot from working with him. Musically, the music was done. When it got to him so not much changed musically.
So what kind of music did you grow up on? Because there’s an obvious 80s influence in there.
I grew up on Prince, Bob Marley, a lot of 90s R & B is really what I was listening to. Biggy, Tupac was huge for me. Boyz II Men, I wanted to be in Boyz II Men.
I think a lot of guys in the '90s wanted to be in Boyz II Men, they just couldn’t admit it.
Then really I got into punk music. That was kind of the biggest musical discovery. The Buzzcocks, Dead Kennedys.
You played in punk bands?
Yeah I did.
So was Mad Man Films, your old band in Boston, was that punky?
You could call it that. Punk/funk.
And did you know that you wanted to break out on your own? How did that come to an end?
It was just members in fighting, me not being interested in punk music anymore, starting to write songs by myself that were based in pop music.
You had the pop calling?
I always had the pop calling. The punk was just a way of pretending I was tough.
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