SXSW Feature: TWEN

I lowkey fell in love with TWEN earlier this year when they opened for Naked Giants at The Empty Bottle in Chicago. An indescribable yet palpable allure exuded from the stage throughout their set that night, and they brought the same undeniable magnetizing vibe with them to Austin for sxsw last month. Sitting outside on the sidewalk of Austin, TX with members Jane Fitzsimmons and Ian Jones after their killer set at Hotel Vegas perfectly epitomizes their inevitable forthcoming rise into the forefront of the newest brand of shoegaze: (literally) grounded, yet full of dreams and wonder. If you haven’t heard TWEN’s sound, they had it described by a fan in Raleigh, NC as “ethereal rock and roll,” and they quite like that, and it is a perfect summation of their dreamy yet hard-hitting sound.

From the sidewalks of Austin, TX…

Gozamos: How did you meet and form the band?

Jane: “We were all from different bands (in the Boston area), but we were all like let’s make music. Ian was in a very Americana folk rock band, he was in a grind core band.”

Ian confirms, “I was in a grind core band. Maybe this (project) is like halfway between the two.”

Ian: “Some are fun and sassy and slappy and dance, and then some are really fucking biblical.”

Me: How would you describe your singing?

Jane: “It’s really tough, because I didn’t grow up singing, so what I do is like what I would do in the shower. I listen to a lot of people, so it’s just like what my voice can do. Whatever you can make that sounds good.”

Ian: “Utilitarian.”

Jane: “Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, Bjork. People that push the highs and the lows and the extreme contrasts.”

Me: And how would you describe your guitar playing?

Ian: “Delta blues finger picking, a lot of folk patterns and stuff I’ve been doing since I was like 16. (Deadpans) I haven’t grown at all.”

Me: What’s next for TWEN?

Jane: “When we get home, we’re gonna build out our van.”

Ian: “Touring a lot for the past two years, so we’re just trying to keep fucking going in that direction.”

Jane: “Album is coming out this summer, so we want to be prepared to tour as much as we want.”

Editor’s note: Debut single Waste off of said album is ill. They’ve performed it live, where it totally kills, and the fresh recording with French Kiss sounds so solid. Check it out here:

Ian: “We’ve been touring for two years on a live EP, and that was our first show ever.”

Jane: “That’s not typical.”

Ian: “That’s not typical. We didn’t mean for that to happen, but it just happened and people really liked it, so we’ve just been peddling those cassette tapes for two years. To actually have recorded music out, a proper record out, feels really strange.”

Me: “Wait. Your first show ever?”

Ian: “Yea dude. The myth. The legend. We didn’t plan for it. The show was in a basement. The guy just showed up, had mics up and was like, “Do you mind if I record?’

Jane: “Yea, it was his hobby. He went to Berklee and really wanted to do live sound.”

Ian: “His name is Nick Ertman (sp.?), he’s from Philly. He drove from Philly just to record the show. We had never had a show before…”

Jane: “He recorded our last show, he’s great!”

Ian: “Yea! He’s just such a serendipitous dude.”

Jane: “He shows up when it needs to happen.”

Ian: “Now everyone that knows us knows that EP, it’s weird. Now we’re gonna be like here’s a proper studio recording and can see really see if it sinks or floats or sails. We feel really passionate about all the songs.”

Me: How did you arrive on the name TWEN?

Jane: “TWEN was a really innovative German graphic design magazine from the ’70s.”

Ian: “TWEN in German means ‘people in their twenties. We were originally called The Twen Furs, and then we cut the ‘furs’ when we moved to Nashville.”

Me: Any last words for our readers?

Ian: We hope you like the album and we’ll be in a town near you soon. Please come to a show, we hope you like it…

Don’t just take it from me. Here’s what Saul in Nashville had to say about TWEN: