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Interview by Eddie Baker
New Herts-based band Twin 50 are currently turning heads in London with their melodic-yet-raw power rock sound and are now a regular feature on Kerrang! Radio, who are championing them as their tip for 2006.
Together for little over a year and already having played a whole bunch of gigs in key venues in London, there is little doubt that the band are onto bigger and better things.
The four-piece rehearse in the quiet village of Thaxted, just far enough away that the residents cant hear them over the flight path into Stansted. Inside their rehearsal space however the volume certainly comes close to that of a jumbo taking off, thanks in part to drummer Terry Mascall's Bonham-esque drumming technique.
They play me three new tracks they have been working on ' 'Let The Snake Out', 'Strap' and 'Whores' run the familiar theme of Twin50's sound ' massive rock riffs with melodic harmonies and catchy choruses that tip the nod to the likes of Foo Fighters, QOTSA and Soundgarden. 'Strap' has a degree of funkiness similar to the Chili Peppers before they got old, whilst 'Whores' ' a comment on celebrity culture and reality TV, packs a crunching riff that could give prime Rage Against The Machine a run for their money.
It is awesome stuff, and if melodic metal floats your boat, you're gonna love Twin 50
The band came together after Terry's former band Fat Dragon fell apart. He formed The Hurt with Fat Dragon guitarist James Reid. A tip-off from a mate led them to bassist Scott (no longer with the band) who in turn introduced them to singer Gareth. A second guitarist Bobby (formerly of local heroes Babypaint) joined a few months later, after which James left to pursue other interests. New boy Andy formerly played bass with (Iron Maiden frontman) Bruce Dickinson's solo projects has only recently joined Twin 50 having been in touch with Gareth over a number of years..
So now a four-piece, Twin 50 are writing new tunes at a furious pace and finding their fan base increasing rapidly as Kerrang Radio continue to feature them on their shows.
Bobby: 'Before I joined I was trying to poach Terry to join my band but the reverse happened. He played me 'Swallow' and I was an instant convert and asked him if they needed another guitarist. Luckily for me they did and I immediately left my band to join The Hurt. I was doing everything in my former band and was getting increasingly frustrated. I want to be in a band environment where all members are equally pro-active, particularly with the song writing and that's what we have in Twin 50. You pick up that vibe with certain bands, like Led Zeppelin or The'Chili Peppers where the whole band love writing and performing together.
Gareth: I have spent a good few years on my own writing with this sort of band in mind. I've been hearing Twin 50 in my head for years but I gotta say it's better in real life obviously.
The band describe their sound as 'Heavy and dynamic, it grooves without being overtly funky'. The verses can be as raw as fuck, but the epic, harmony-drenched choruses hook you in and don't let go. The songs were still in my head days after the interview and that's surely a sign of great song-writing.
Bobby: If you wanna try and describe our sound, it's easier to say what it isn't; we're not EMO, we're not nu-metal, we're not a generic post-grunge band like Seether or Puddle Of Mudd, Staind although that's all great stuff etc. We're all big fans of RATM, SOAD, Muse , Foo's , Linkin Park .
Saying all that Twin 50 have a definite British edge. It's certainly more Kerrang than NME.
You've already had a couple of line-up changes in your short life together in Twin 50 has this changed the song-writing and dynamics at all?
Gareth: The songwriting has changed somewhat since (former guitarist) James left. His style was a bit more spikey and similar to the art-rock bands that are 'round at the moment perhaps, but there are tracks in the current set that haven't changed since James was in the band ' Swallow for example'.
Gareth: Scott's (former bass player) style of writing was more prog, and obtuse in many ways.
Bobby:The songs we have in the set now wouldn't be in the set if Scott was still in the band He couldn't deal with that 3 and a half minute rock song with that catchy chorus.
It's pop in same way the Foo Fighters or My Chemical Romance do it.
In many ways writing in this way makes us heavier.
Bobby: When Andy came in everything clicked after one rehearsal, so it was meant to be I think.
Gareth: Andy : I did some writing with him some years ago when I lived in London and it is kinda surreal to be now playing with him in Twin 50
Bobby: Andy added an extra dynamic to the band ' the songs groove at lot more with his style of playing.
Are you all involved in writing the music?
Gareth: In different capacities, yeah. Bobby and I write the bulk of the tunes together and Terry's element is the fact that he's a great arranger. With his discipline and experience most of the songs seem to hit that magic three and a half minute length.
What do you think set's you apart from other 'Kerrang!'-style bands?
Gareth: I don't think we've met a band that does what we do ' we've been out-heavied, if you like, but never out-songed by any of the bands we've played with.
How are you as a band going about getting noticed?
Gareth: Good management is important ' our management are booking us gigs ' regional but predominantly in London, the places where it's important to be seen ' the Camden gigs etc. The other important thing to do is record the best possible demo you can and get it out there to labels, to promoters and to anyone who might like what you doing. Web-sites are vital these days ' both your own site and networking sites such as MySpace, which is a fantastic tool for uploading your own songs and then networking on there to attract the people who might like your band and to essentially build a Fanbase.
What media interest have you had so far?
Gareth:: Kerrang! radio has been the most important for us so far ' Emma Scott has been playing us loads on RAW, which is fantastic as KerrangRadio! is exactly where we want to be. Our management contacted Emma and I have to say, she and her producer loved it. She promotes our gigs and websites either side of the tracks.
We've had a major uplift in people at our shows because of this so this has definitely been responsible for the buzz the band is experiencing right now.
Total Rock radio has played the tracks on a good few shows too.
Chris Dale has really plugged the material and asked the band to go in for a live interview ' He played the tracks and turned up with some pals to our gig at the Borderline that evening.
What do you think of the UK music scene at the moment?
Gareth: There's a healthy regeneration going on at the moment with certain bands that are popular having an obvious Brit-pop influence. I like a lot of it, but some of it I just don't understand, y'know, why it gets the attention ??'..
Bobby: It seems to me , It has been trendy to sound like crap musicians for a while now.
Gareth: Depends what you think is cool, I suppose'.some of it's not for me!
Where do you think you fit in?
Gareth: Well, I hope they get us'..
Bobby: We're definitely for the Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, MTV2 crowd. There is some middle ground with bands like Nine Black Alps, or even Feeder and we see ourselves to the right of that, where QOTSA, or the Foo's come in.
So what does the future hold for Twin 50?
Gareth: There's talk of some amazing support slots coming up, maybe even somethin' at Download and possibly a single release on a Indie label, but that's all a bit hush hush for now'..we'll know more soon'.
Bobby: Hopefully signing something near a worldwide record deal! That hopefully is something we'll get to do this year'.. We're playing shows everywhere right now and hope fully the buzz will keep building, bring it on!