Have an exclusive sit down chat today with three of CT's hottest musical commodities, Twin Berlin! The guys have left an indelible impression on me as of late, and absolutely tore to shreds The Middle East Downstairs a couple of weeks ago which I had the pleasure of attending and interacting with some of the members afterwards. Lead vocalist and guitarist Matt Lopez was nice enough to take some time out to talk to MusicBoxPete about the group's beginnings, their most recent effort "Sleazebrain", and what makes them so unique and original. Here is the transcript from our chat:
Give us your names and what you do in the band?
Sean plays bass, James plays drums, and I (Matt) play guitar and sing.
How did you guys meet and when did the band form?
James and I met in Boston and played together in an earlier version of the band. Sean and I grew up a town over from each other in CT and met at the bar.
How did you decide on the name 'Twin Berlin' for your band?
I had a live Lou Reed record, American Poet, and there’s a song on it called “Berlin”. It’s partially named after that.
What musical influences inspired you growing up and how has it helped shape or influence the sound of the group?
The Strokes were definitely very influential on me when they came out. And records like Pinkerton, In Utero, and Surfer Rosa. When I was writing songs forSleazebrain I was thinking about how all the little inaccuracies in each record gave them so much personality, and I’ve always been more into a rawer writing and recording style.
Take us behind the creative process of writing your music, who handles what aspect of the writing process?
I write the songs in my parent’s basement and record them on an 8 track. Then I usually drive over to Sean’s and play it for him in the car to see if he likes it. If he’s into it I send it to James, and then we get together to practice it and mess around with different drum parts and dynamics.
What was it like recording "Sleazebrain" and what are your thoughts looking back on it?
It was really laid back and stressful all at the same time. We recorded it ourselves in our friend Tim’s house in Vermont, who was playing guitar for us at the time and is on the record. Since we weren’t in a studio there weren’t time and budget constraints. But I was stressed out because it was my idea to record it ourselves, so the whole time I was worried I was going to fuck it up and waste everyone’s time. Everyone was having fun the whole time we were making the record and I think that really translates when you listen to it. I’m really proud of it looking back. After we recorded it we worked with Jay Frigoletto for the mixing and mastering. He totally knew what we were going for right off the bat. He had some great ideas and helped get what we were hearing on the finished product.
Describe the energy and nature of your live shows, how amped up do you get when you see a crowd gathered to watch your set?
We definitely like to get crazy. You have to get into it, run around, make a fool of yourself, otherwise what’s the point. It’s great to see a crowd that’s excited to see us right before we go on stage, it kind of throws any last minute doubts you might have out the window.
To pass the time, what do you fellas like to do away from making music?
Sean and I are country boys, so as long as the sun’s out we’re usually out on the river or in the woods. James is a city boy, but we’re working on converting him.
What’s coming up next for the band, planning any more shows or new music?
We’ll definitely be filling up dates for the fall. And right now we’re in the early stages of recording new material.
Lastly, what would you like people to know about you who've never heard of you?
Our shows are a lot of fun. If you’re not into the music we still guarantee you’ll have a good time…unless you don’t like your personal space being invaded.
Thanks once again to Matt Lopez for being so awesome in doing this interview! These guys have been one of those bands that I've heard of, but never got the chance to see live until a couple of weeks ago and I'm so glad I did because I've developed an impression of them that will last for a long time to come, and I know for a fact what tremendous and good natured musicians they are. For more info on Twin Berline, 'Like' them on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter right here.