I remember seeing Twist about a year ago supporting the Llama Farmers at the Garage in London, and I thought they were pretty impressive, even though they were relatively new to the live circuit and still a bit rough around the edges. Over the last few months however, a diet of almost constant touring, coupled with some ferocious new songs, has transformed Twist's live set into a snarling and spitting beast, and a devastatingly loud one at that. The band are reluctant to speak much onstage, but when I had a chat with them after their gig at the Aldershot West End Centre, it was evident they had plenty of opinions.
Twist are Emma (guitar and vocals), Vanessa (guitar), Lisa (bass) and Leanne (drums).
What were your influences for forming a band?
EMMA: 'Cos that's the only thing we're half decent at.
VANESSA: It was what we were told not to do when we were at school. (laughs)
Was becoming an all-girl band a deliberate move?
EMMA: It was for me, yeah.
LISA: I was in band before I was with Twist, and it was all girls...apart from the drummer who was a bloke. (laughs) So we weren't all girls, alright!
VANESSA: I was in a band that was all blokes but that...just ended. On a bad note.
Is it harder being in the music industry as a girl band, or does it have more advantages?
LISA: At first, I don't think they took us as, um...what's the word?
LISA: Yeah, seriously. But now, right, I think they're taking us more seriously than they did in the beginning, 'cos it's not the fact that we're an all girl band, it's the fact that we play music that we like.
How did the Fierce Panda deal come about, and are you staying with them in the future?
EMMA: They came to see us play at the Red Eye, and they really liked us and said let's do a single, and the single went well so they said do two more singles and a mini-album. But we're now finished on Fierce Panda, and are hopefully moving on to some other fucker (laughs), but we don't know what.
VANESSA: We're trying to sort out what's going on with our lives, but we don't have a clue!
Would you sign to a major label?
LISA: Of course we would. Y'see, with an independent they haven't got the amount of money to put into you as you need.
VANESSA: No, it depends right, 'cos if they want to be complete arseholes and say, right, you've got to write pop songs and sugary shit, we'll probably say no, we don't want to do that. They'd have to love us for what we are and what we do.
The 'Magenta' mini-album is a compilation of singles and things. Is it representative of how you sound now?
VANESSA: No, not at all. We finished recording that last August, and it was supposed to come out in late October, but they put it back for about five months...and it came out in February.
So what's your new material going to sound like?
EMMA: I think it sounds better, different, more mature.
Why do so many bands that release mini-albums then feel a need to 'mature'?
EMMA: Because if you don't, you get dropped, simple as that.
VANESSA: You don't plan to mature, it just happens with age.
LEANNA: The human body matures doesn't it?
VANESSA: You write better and better songs...
EMMA: You're only as good as your last song.
Who are the best bands you've played with, and do you feel part of any scene?
EMMA: We love The Junket, Llama Farmers...
LISA: What do you mean by a scene?
Sort of like a group of bands playing together...
LISA: We all get on and stuff...but I don't get the scene thing! (laughs) I'm just gonna go away!
VANESSA: There is a kind of scene, but it's difficult 'cos in Birmingham there's a scene and half the bands haven't been picked up by any labels. They kind of look at us and say 'you bitches!', like really jealous, but not in a nasty way. But now we're not on the label anymore they think we're great.
Why are your lyrics so angry? What are you getting angry about?
EMMA: Because I'm full of joy...um, no, I'm a very bitter person.
Last question, what have you got coming up in the next few months or so?
VANESSA: We're finishing off this tour, hopefully releasing a new single in a couple of months...
EMMA: Playing Reading hopefully, fingers crossed please everyone, cross something!
VANESSA: Maybe releasing an album at the end of the year if all goes well. If we've written it. (laughs)
Issue 6 Contents
Issue 6 Summer 2000 © Tim Bragger