A Word with Twin XL
BY BARBARA WITHEROW
When bands form, it’s usually on purpose. People come together to create music, with the intention of releasing as their own. The Ready Set’s Cameron Walker and The Sumer Set’s John and Stephen Gomez started Twin XL in a different way. The music came first; the band came afterwards.
The trio has known one another for over a decade, running into one another at parties after all three relocated to Los Angeles. “I think we went into it, not deciding to start a band or anything, we just decided to write some songs, just to see what would happen or if it’d be for someone else and we ended up really liking what we came up with,” Walker explained.
“[We] decided to be in a band that [we] didn’t plan on being in,” Stephen confessed. “Which some people will be like, ‘that’s weird. What the fuck, you didn’t plan on what your band sounds like?’ I think what’s cool about us is that we got to create all this music without putting ourselves in any kind of box or having a preconceived notion of what we wanted to sound like. We let the music happen first.”
Twin XL wrote half of their debut EP, How To Talk To Strangers, before they even knew the songs would stay together or they would claim the music themselves.
It’s ironic the group never had the intention of the band forming when there’s a lot of lyrical themes throughout the EP.“There’s a lot of nods to society’s ever-growing social anxiety epidemic,” Walker explained. “It feels like everyone’s just sitting on their phones, freaking out about everything constantly and I think that’s something we wrote about and then we wrote about it and then we wrote about it. And growing up and the world getting grey. When you’re a kid everything is colorful and bright. You’re excited and then you’re like ‘I can’t wait to be a grown up.’ And then you get there and you’re like, ‘this kind of sucks, I wish I was a kid again.’ That was something that we talked about a lot.”
“There’s themes of loneliness and realities living in the modern world,” Stephen continued. “It sounds like it’s so dark. It’s funny, because a lot of other bands are so groovy and upbeat, and yeah, we’re a really groove-orientated band, we want to make people move at our shows and move to our music, but lyrical themes, I think sometimes the choruses are so anthemic and simple. I don’t know if you’ll read the verse lyrics, but you’ll be like, ‘oh. this isn’t a happy song.’
While there’s some dark undertones in the Twin XL’s music, there’s still those songs that are happy all around.
“There’s a couple like ‘Neon Summer’ that’s just a feel-good,” Walker stated. “‘Thrills’, I don’t even know what the fuck is going on in that song. So, there’s definitely those songs where we’re not angsty. I think the angstiness is kind of something we really like and it’s something that separates what we’re doing here from a lot of the other stuff we’ve written in the past for other projects.”
\While there’s definitely a pop feel similar to the trio’s previous projects, the group strongly feels that they couldn’t do Twin XL with anyone else.
“I think weirdly it doesn’t sound a whole lot like any of our other projects,” Walker told us. “That’s another reason why it felt like a really cool thing for us to do. It was something none of us could go recreate elsewhere. This was very unique to the dynamic of the three of us and that was inspiring to us.”
“It happened all organically,” Stephen recalled.
Twin Xl formed a only year ago and have already gone on one tour and played a handful of shows between 8123 fest and LA. Within the the past few months, everything blew up for them.
“We’ll see if we like doing it, or if anyone likes it,” Walker recalled the thought process the group had when they decided to become a band. “So a few months ago we put out the music, and it’s like all of a sudden we’re eating, sleeping, breathing Twin XL. We’re in a band together. We’re talking about the band 24/7, even if we’re not together. It’s a really positive, creative atmosphere and luckily we like each other. Obviously, John and Stephen grew with each other and they’ve made me feel super welcomed. We’re having a good time doing it.”
Since the guys have always had their hands full with other projects, writing, and recording for other musicians, it’s seems impossible that they would have time to put any energy into Twin XL. They’re all still writing, recording, producing, and mixing, but as for playing music, the band is their main focus.
As for the ᴌ symbol? While the band’s logo was already made by Jade Ehlers, the director behind the band’s music videos, first photos and art, Stephen found that if you hold down the “L” key, it becomes ᴌ.
“It seems like we planned it and we’re really smart, but Stephen is a genius,” Walker confessed.