Twin Shadow’s music exudes mystery and excitement. It’s the kind of music you’d expect from someone who lives dangerously, passionately and on a whim. He’s someone who has women do his hair when he can’t control it himself; someone who plays guitar so intimately that you’ll be mesmerised and a little turned on; someone who rides motorbikes really fast and doesn’t always land on his feet.
Twin Shadow and George Lewis Jnr are two entities of the same person, but you’d be forgiven for thinking that these are the twins his moniker refers to. One oozes rock ‘n’ roll. The other can’t stop yawning. One loves motorbikes and claims that was the inspiration for his newest album. The other hasn’t read his press release. If it’s Twin Shadow you’re after, you’re better off listening to his music than talking to George, because George is lying in bed and is not in the mood to give anything away.
Not that you can blame him for being fatigued. Since his hugely successful debut album, Forget, was released in 2010, George has spent the last two years “inside of a van, inside of a plane, a boat, back in a van – on the road pretty much exclusively.” His latest record, Confess, is bigger and shinier, but has maintained all the New Wave hallmarks of Forget. It’s also just as captivating, with its throbbing beats underneath creepy, shimmering sounds.
When asked if there have been any major changes in his life between album releases, all he’ll say is that “a lot of things changed for me over the last year. You know, finding out who your real friends are and all that. I’m sure there have been changes I can’t remember right now.”
He’s just as vague on other subjects. His inspirations? “Just my life in general.” His song writing process? “Every time I think I have a song writing process I realise that I don’t have a song writing process.” What about musical influences? “I can’t really think of any. I didn’t listen to a lot of music while I was on tour; I feel like I listened to almost none. I couldn’t really tell you.”
The press release for Confess says that the inspiration for the album came from an epiphanic moment after a motorbike crash. How did he manage to put those thoughts into music and capture such a devastating moment? “I didn’t intend for that to seem like the inspiration for the record. I should probably look at my press release.”
It turns out that the accident being referred to took place six years ago. He didn’t touch a motorbike for two years while he was recording but bought a new bike in December and went to California to ride. “It was just the reason I ended up in California and it just made me think of that time when I crashed. It wasn’t true inspiration, I was just thinking about it a lot.”
Fifteen minutes later and the true inspiration for Confess remains as enigmatic as the man himself. Sometimes the best and most beautiful things in life are clouded by mystery and trying to get a little closer can end with an awkward conversation that leaves you more confused than you were to begin with. But the mental images of Twin Shadow talking on the phone in bed aren’t bad at all.
Confess is out now.