TWINS, the solo debut of CGI and DKA Records co-founder Matt Weiner transports you to an ‘80s basement filled with fog, laser lights and people dressed in black dancing to Joy Division, New Order or Wire. If you’ve ever been a fan of any punk band that isn’t afraid to get digital and unusual, don’t miss TWINS. It’s a fresh take to the old school version of punk rock–mixing post-punk and Krautrock with experimental aspects like crashing glass and computer effects.
“Most of my earliest music making experiments were more indebted to Krautrock as that lends itself much more to improvisation, which is how we taught ourselves to play in the first place,” Weiner tells BTRtoday. “It was only after I felt more competent and confident at some instruments that I decided I wanted to finally try and live out my post-punk dreams.”
His debut self-titled album, out May 4 via 2MR, is emotional and exciting—think Neo and Trinity romance in The Matrix. Weiner says that while the songs are very personal, he tried to keep enough perspective to appeal to the world at large. The last track, “The Sky Remains The Same,” Weiner says is the most straightforward of them all, a song about a relationship he jumped into too quickly.
“In January 2015, I broke up with a girlfriend who was essentially just a buffer for my emotions, which were still extremely raw from a break up of my partner of 10 years not too long before that,” he says. “That second break up really reopened all of the original wounds I thought I was healing and left me as hurt and raw as I’ve ever felt—in that state I went into the studio with a blank sonic canvas and walked out 90 minutes later with that song, fully formed and recorded.”
Hear TWINS’ new record live this Thursday, April 26 at Kind Regards in Manhattan joined by Gel Set and read the entire interview with Matt Weiner below.
BTRtoday (BTR): So what came first, the acronym or the name? What made you come up with “That Which Is Not Said?”
Matt Weiner (MW): The name came first. My parents were initially told I’d be born as twins, I guess ‘80s medical tech wasn’t as accurate. I also happen to be a Gemini, but the project started more as a side-project just-for-fun kind of thing while I focused on some bands and collaborations that all ended up floundering after a bit of progress. That left me feeling that my solo project should take precedence and any future band endeavor will be treated as a side project. Then I realized how many other bands are called “twins” or have the word twin or twins in the name and wanted to make the name my own, so I came up with that acronym because music gives us the power to express the things that words fail to capture.
BTR: How long have you been playing post-punk for? Who are some of your favorite post-punk artists?
MW: My initial infatuation with the genre came in high school when I discovered Joy Division and New Order. The first thing from that genre that I actually ever heard was New Order’s Movement which I bought on a whim at Tower Records as a 16-year-old because something about the jacket design appealed to me. That record really made an impression on me, the cold and introspective atmosphere and vocals with driving drums and insanely unique production really hit me deep. I actually drove it 30 minutes out to my high school girlfriend’s house at 6 a.m. after an acid trip and left it on her front porch with a note that said something like, “this is fucking amazing you have to hear it.” But her dad found the note first and didn’t appreciate the f-word in there so she never got to receive it.
Most of my earliest music making experiments were more indebted to Krautrock, as that lends itself much more to improvisation, which is how we taught ourselves to play in the first place. It was only after I felt more competent and confident at some instruments that I decided I wanted to finally try and live out my post-punk dreams.
BTR: Has your work as co-founder of DKA Records influenced your own music making at all?
MW: That’s hard to say, I don’t think it has in any direct-conscious sense. I think they both inform one another but they are also separate in the sense that what I am able to express musically is by no means the boundary markers of my musical interests.
BTR: Tell me about this self-titled—what was your main focus when creating it?
MW: The record didn’t come about in the linear sense of me sitting down one day and saying, “ok, I’m going to write an album and this is what it’s going to be about.” It’s more the result of writing tons of songs over a several year period, testing those songs out live to see what works and what doesn’t, refining them from there, and then narrowing the list down to the ones that work best together and form a complete statement without the need for me to beat anyone over the head with the concepts. The themes of my music are generally very personal, but I try to deal with them through abstraction and trying to zoom out enough to see how these ideas relate to the wider world outside of my psych.
What’s your favorite track to perform live? Is there any track that has a very specific story behind it you could share?
MW: At this point most of my live set is my favorite song to perform live. I’m very happy with the present state of it. That being said, I have played “Stuck” more than any other song of mine live and I’m still not tired of it, so maybe that one.
As far as a track with a clear-cut story, the most straightforward one I can tell is about the last song on the album, “The Sky Remains The Same,” which is also the oldest recording on the album. In January, 2015, I broke up with a girlfriend who was essentially just a buffer for my emotions, which were still extremely raw from a break up of my partner of 10 years not too long before that. Needless to say, it was way too early for me to have another girlfriend by then, but anyway that second break up really reopened all of the original wounds I thought I was healing and left me as hurt and raw as I’ve ever felt. In that state I went into the studio with a blank sonic canvas and walked out 90 minutes later with that song, fully formed and recorded. It’s about as much of my raw self as I can put into a recording, so of course I had to have it close the self-titled album.
BTR: What’s your music writing process like?
MW: Generally speaking, I turn on the mic, load some drum sounds and hook up some synths and start tapping out some rhythms and playing some riffs or bass lines or chords on a keyboard or sequencer. Kind of start jamming with myself over that until I can feel something starting to form and then it really depends from there how it ends up coming together, but I usually rely heavily on recording a few takes and then listening back to see what’s working and what isn’t and then refine it from there.
If I really get stuck then I’ll take the track and listen to it in the car. For some reason driving is the right amount of distraction for my brain to access whatever other part I can’t normally access to hear things clearly. Vocals usually involve a lot of scratch takes and mumbling until some words form and I start to sculpt it from there—I rely very heavily on intuition and almost never do anything consciously until the editing and mixing stages.
BTR: How has touring with Gel Set been so far?
MW: It’s been awesome so far. Her music is so good and also we get along great on a personal level. We have similar dietary needs and preferences and are in general on the same page about most things.
BTR: If you had no boundaries, what would your ideal live show be like? And I mean zero boundaries. It could be on the moon if you’d like.
MW: I’d really love to have maybe like two other people on stage with me to open up what is possible musically, and to free me up to focus more on other aspects of the performance. Maybe one day.
BTR: What are you pumped for in the future of TWINS?
MW: I’m really looking forward to the festivals I’m booked at in DC (Tiny Cat) and Sweden (Kalabalik) this August. I’m especially stoked about the new music I’ve been writing and really can’t wait to finish the next album up after tour is over.