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Escape Velocity

Good Music For A Hangover: Twin Sister Interviewed
Emily Bick , October 26th, 2010 06:40

Emily Bick talks to Twin Sister's guitarist Eric Cardona about tape decks, Long Island and mean dance moves

Twin Sister's dreamy and off-kilter songs of suburbia gone to seed are more than your average shimmerdreamchillgazedraghouse or whatever the hell people these days are calling stuff that sounds vaguely like it might have come out of September Studios 20 years ago. If you're going to go reaching that far back, Twin Sister recall an east coast take on 'Just You and I', the pitch-shifted theme song of Twin Peaks' doomed teen lovers, but with added yearning, feedback, tapehead friction and the odd slow disco shuffle beat. They've been stewing their sinister sweetness in Long Island for the last few years, building up a substantial log of demos before landing a deal with Domino for their two EP's, Color Your Life and Vampires With Dreaming Kids, both out now.

When I talked to Twin Sister guitar player and co-vocalist Eric Cardona, he was driving around Brooklyn with bandmates Dev and Brian, on the lookout for a new studio. They're over here in November, and in London they're playing the Lexington. Regulars at the Hangover Lounge there on Sundays will be familiar with their music because the DJs are such fans they play multiple Twin Sister songs in a single set. It's good music for a hangover, or just hanging around with memories and what-ifs: the perfect music for summer shutting up shop.

In all of your artwork, you seem to have a lot of found images, and a look that is very consistent, and it's kind of ghostly. And that's a word that people throw out to describe your sound. Who puts together the visual stuff that goes with your work?

Eric Cardona: For Color Your Life, the visuals were all a dollhouse that [co-vocalist] Andrea built. She made everything and decorated it. We all helped out a little bit with the photographs, but the cover's just a picture of the kitchen of that house. Something about it fit really well with the songs.

What was it like growing up on Long Island? Because a lot of people, they know New York, and they know Brooklyn, and if they know Long Island at all, it's like they know Long Island iced teas and they know, like, the Hamptons?

EC: If you don't live there, there's no reason to go. I guess it's known for its beaches, which are very beautiful, and the scenery is great, but there's a lot of suburban sprawl, so there's not much of a music scene there, you know?

If you had to make an analogy, would you say, Long Island is to New York as what is to what?

EC: That is a good question. Long Island is to New York as...help me out with this. [Conferring in the back] Okay, Long Island is to New York as pizza crust is to pizza.

You all use older sounds and older technology but you make it sound both current and haunted by the past. I was watching this thing on YouTube, the Big Ugly Yellow Couch show, and Andrea had a tape deck, an old school tape deck, and someone had a Casio. I love that you used that, and you called it an acoustic set and you played with all this old technology.

EC: Oh, yeah, that was fun! It was Brian playing the little tape deck, we had just recorded some sound on it and you can adjust the speed and everything. That tape deck, it's a very old one, it's used of a lot of the recordings, actually, the older ones on the first EP, Vampires With Dreaming Kids.

That's cool - so what do you do with the tape deck?

EC: In the past, in songs like 'Dry Hump', the acoustic guitar in the beginning was recorded onto that tape deck, and then just played back, you know the whole song was played on the tape deck and then, you know, brought into my computer and recorded over. but it served as the base track. and it's been used in a lot of different demos of ours on our website. It's been a handy tool.

On your website, it says all your music is creative commons licensed, so people can mix it and do whatever they want with it?

EC: Right, as long as they, you know...

Don't steal it?

EC: Yeah, right! But we've gotten a lot of very interesting remixes done, so doing that has really paid off. It's just so cool that people want to take the time and do that. Now, with home recording, it's much more common, so the remixes have varied from a kid in his bedroom to somebody who's kind of been doing it a bit longer.

Are there any remixes that you'd really recommend for people to look for?

EC: [There are more sounds of conferring in the van] There was one done by - they're called The Hood Internet, we were laughing pretty hard. They chopped up 'Lady Daydream', put Raekwon over it, they also photoshopped the picture of us and you know, they put Raekwon right in the centre of us, like Raekwon doing Scarface with like a pile of cocaine in front of him, and it was great.

You're signed now, so you have official versions of what's out there. Has anyone at Domino had a problem with that?

EC: They haven't done much more than recommend how we handle that in the future. If it's not all right with them, they've been really low key about it! But yeah, we want to keep things like that on the website as long as we can. They've definitely been very cool about everything.

Have you seen the fan video for 'All Around and Away We Go'? It's archive footage of a carnival, and it's all scratched... it's like someone's gone to Coney Island, it's beautifully faded and it's set to that song.

EC: Oh yeah, that was made by a friend of ours, Mark, who runs a blog called yvynyl. He's been very supportive of us, so it was cool to see that. We're actually working on the official music video for that right now, we've done some filming and hopefully by the end of the year it will be all wrapped up.

What's the concept for that, or is it a secret?

EC: It's going to be funny. Andrea, who is also a very talented dancer, she and her sister wrote a dance routine for the song, so they'll be performing that. She has some mean dance moves.

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