TDOA: Okay, first off, who all is in Dead Twins and how did the band come about?
GC: Dead Twins has had several line up changes over the past 4 years. In the beginning my brother Nick and I started the group and began playing shows as a two piece band and using a sequenced Mac to play bass and synths. We wanted to find other musicians but were having a hard time doing so and we were having fun doing things as a two piece. Eventually we picked up Justin Young to play bass and we experimented with additional guitarists here and there and friends would play with us on occasion. At one point it was hard to say who exactly was in the band and who wasn’t, ha! Ironically, line up changes have been a constant for Dead Twins.
On Polarized, that’s my brother and I and Justin Young on bass. This fall, my brother moved to go back to school, so currently the line up is Justin Young on bass, Patrick Gathings on drums, and me singing and playing guitar.
TDOA: The first word that comes to mind when I listen to your debut, “Polarized”, besides “ass-kickery”, is “grunge”, in the best sense of the term. I’m reminded of the iconic bands of that era, such as Dinosaur Jr., Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Tool, Rage Against the Machine, etc., who wrote songs that were massive, edgy and hard-hitting, yet personal. Do you cringe at the comparison or embrace it? Would you cite these bands as influences?
GC: I don’t cringe at all. The bottom line is that our main influences have been 70′s and 90′s rock artists. We’ve always been huge classic rock fans (Zeppelin, Doors, Pink Floyd) and hell, we grew up in the 90′s. The “seattle grunge sound” made an impact on everyone during that time period. All of the bands that you’ve mentioned were extremely influential to us at a time when we were just soaking up the music, We like the sound of albums from that era, we like the instruments that those groups used as well as their tone and approach to song writing and making albums.
Recently I was at Guitar Center and a teenager behind the counter was talking to me about stomp boxes for guitars. We were talking about different distortion tones and I could tell he was really into music. Somehow the discussion turned to the band Nirvana and he said that he’d never listened to them. When I was driving home, I blasted Breed from Nevermind about five times and was trying to imagine what I would be like had I not spent my teenage years under the influence of albums like Nevermind, Superunknown, Evil Empire, Ten, Weezer, Undertow, Aenima, Purple, The Downward Spiral, Siamese Dream, Ok Computer, Melon Collie, Mellow Gold, Loveless, Dirt, In Utero, You’d Prefer an Astronaut, This was a special time in music and in the music business. There was a quantity of quality, if you will. I feel lucky to have been so immersed in that art and of course it shaped who I am and the kind of artist that I am today.
TDOA: Stemming from the previous question, in the strange landscape that is rock ‘n’ roll in 2010, there seems to be two distinct factions. On the one side is the emo/nu-metal/nickelback garbage on commercial radio, and on the other is the equally obnoxious cutesy indie-pop and scene-ster art-rock from all the hipster blogs. Would you agree with this analysis? If so, where do you see Dead Twins’ place in all this mess?
GC: I completely agree. I wish it wasn’t like this, but I try and think optimistically about what will happen in future because of this. There is a lot of good music out there but it just seems that the best bands and the best music being made right now is hidden under the radar of commercial radio and it’s steering clear of the hipster indie scene. I think that Dead Twins is definitely in this category. Polarized isn’t cookie cutter enough to fit in with the Clear Channel crap and and the folk-hipster scene can’t fucking handle the rock, man. Seriously, it’s sorta sad.
TDOA: I love how “Polarized” has an us-against-the-world attitude and isn’t afraid to express it. I love the chorus of “Action/Reaction” which states, “Hey, remind yourself there’s a reason/Cause no one else cares/Hey, remind yourself there’s a reason/Cause no one else will.” Simple, but powerful. I’m wondering what you feel are the record’s lyrical themes and what events in your life inspired them…
GC: Thanks for picking up on that. The reality for us is that it is us against the world. Twins is a brotherhood and we share in a special creative process that is completely supported and nurtured by us only and we’re responsible for it. Dead Twins is at point as a band where we don’t give a fuck about anything but doing what we want to do. We don’t write or play music for anyone but ourselves– because it’s an escape for us. It’s that getting out of the day to day unimportant bullshit way of thinking- thinking about your job and your income and success or your problems, failures or worries, fears and hurts. This is our escape from one stream of consciousness to another and it’s a very real thing for us. It’s taken a long time to get to that type of thinking, but we got to that place when we realized that we alone have to remind ourselves of the reasons that we do this. Because no one else will. Sometimes the day to day way of living makes it hard to remember that. The song is a reminder.
TDOA: I’m dying to know how you reanimated John Bonham from the dead and convinced him to join your band. Not to diminish the singing or guitar playing, which is top notch, but the drumming’s amazing! I particularly love how it has so much groove, which is the antithesis of everything happening in rock drumming right now. Is this something you’re conscious of, or is it a purely an subconscious expression?
GC: Absolutely. That is 100% Nick’s deal. He plays those huge Ludwig drums and cymbals just like Bonham did. His drumming is all about power and the groove. We went to certain lengths working with Casey Diiiorio who helped produce the record at his place, Valve Studios, to use the same techniques that were used to record Bonham’s drumming. It was a big part of the sound that we wanted for the album. Mission accomplished!
Nick’s an incredible drummer. He’s a great guy with a special talent. His playing has made it impossible to ignore the band. I hope we play together again soon. I feel lucky to have a brother like that.
TDOA: “Polarized”, as well as parts of the songs “Hanger” and “Good Dope” , hint at a more ethereal side to the band. Is this an indication of territory Dead Twins might explore deeper on the next record?
GC: Yes. It’s something we’ve always tried to do. The music is so loud most of the time, we like to work a good bit of dynamics and mood into our performances and recordings. It’s a great contrast and it helps to maximize at the emotional heart of the music.
TDOA: We’re based on Dallas, but came here from Detroit. So…. we’re a bit confused by the Dallas scene. Some touring bands draw huge crowds, others are completely ignored and it doesn’t seem to matter if the bands are huge nationally or not. What’s your take on the Dallas scene? Is there a market for alternative music here? Really?
GC: Ha! What to say? I moved here from Los Angeles, so I was pretty culture shocked myself. The thing is, there is a scene here and there are a lot of really cool, focused and hard working artists. The ones that are responsible for the way that the scene is are the people that live here. If you want a better scene, help make it a better scene. That’s how I look at it.
TDOA: What’s in store for Dead Twins in the future? Any plans to tour outside of Texas?
GC: Yes! We’re trying to get the album out to everyone we can. Part of that is definitely playing everywhere that makes sense for the band. We’ll be performing the material from Polarized through out the next year for sure.
Check out Dead Twins at The Boiler Room in Denton, Texas on September 25th. To learn more about the band visit them on MySpace.
Interview by Ravin