TWIN SHADOW

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writer / Britt Perkins

photographer / Sam Evans-Butler

stylist /Jessica Zamora-Turner

The latest Twin Shadow album, ECLIPSE, sees George Lewis Jr. evolve with a more mature and sensual, similarly brooding yet distinctly less synth-heavy album, perhaps finally allowing him to shed those previously unavoidable Morrissey comparisons. If any comparisons are due, fans of The Weeknd will be pleased.

Lewis’ latest record is pared down, sexier, rougher and more exposed than even 2012’s CONFESS. The richer sound creates an image of a man who is assertive and adult, less boyish and petulant. 

Though you might not hear the influences of Radiohead in the music of Twin Shadow, those Thom Yorke influences are there, albeit indirectly. “I used to see this kid in my class, and I wish I could remember his name,” Lewis said. “I used to see him sitting around and I would hear him playing a song from the first Radiohead record. He’d be playing guitar, and it really impressed me how much attention he got. Girls would crowd around him, and guys would crowd around him. It was at the end of band practice, and as soon as I saw that, I remember asking him if he’d teach me. And he said no. But he was probably responsible for me wanting to pick up guitar so bad.”

ECLIPSE, the third album for Twin Shadow and the first to be released on the Warner Brothers label in March 2015, marks a movement away from the instrument that so
inspired Lewis during his initial discoveries of what moved him as a musician.

“For a large part of my life, I was in a punk band, and it was more about screaming your head off,” Lewis said. “And now, I’m really interested in becoming a great singer. Getting better at that is something I really want to do. With guitar, I feel like I’ve reached this place where I’m happy with my guitar playing…[Vocals] are the thing that carry the most weight. It dictates the feeling for everything.”

So while the kid with the guitar may carry a very heavy responsibility in what has ultimately become Twin Shadow, Lewis has come full-circle to his early days in the church choir in Florida where he first exercised his vocal range.

When it comes to discovery, technology–specifically YouTube–stands as a major
influence in the inspiration of Lewis and his music.

“I really do remember YouTube having the greatest inspirational impact on my life. Even when I’m an old man, as funny as it will be to say, I think YouTube really was the single most important thing that provided inspiration.”

It started with black-and-white footage of young Nina Simone crooning “I Love You Porgy” and from there branched out to others including Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
performing his singular “I Put A Spell on You” and David Bowie’s record “Low.”

“It’s a really good place to go down different lanes of music,” Lewis said. “There are records on YouTube that you can’t find anywhere else.”

ECLIPSE stands out as a more personal, reflective record that encompasses Lewis’
influences without too closely imitating them. Few of the songs rely on the 80s sound Lewis became known for on his earlier records, though he doesn’t shy away from the power ballad. “To The Top” is broad and anthemic. “Old Love/New Love” is the
catchiest track and most eligible as a dance-ready single. “Half Life” is a serious and raw plea, while “Locked & Loaded” is exposed, anticipatory and vulnerable.

Many of the songs written on the record were taken directly from Lewis’s mind without traversing a paper trail of writing and rewriting. Lyrics were not written down prior to recording and whichever lyrics he chose and felt right are the words that stand on the album today. 

“It’s less about originality,” Lewis said. “It’s more just about communication. I feel like
I have a more direct sense of communication.”

This wasn’t an intentional process, but one that simply evolved out of this need for communication and immediacy.

“I kind of keep reminding myself that as soon as you think you have a process, you don’t have a process at all,” Lewis said. “I didn’t set out to do this…I never go into it with any kind of law. It’s just more like an unspoken law that naturally happens. And then in
hindsight, obviously you’re able to see that pattern.”

Lewis cites his mother as a major source of inspiration for the record as their relationship grew exponentially during the penning and recording of Eclipse. During his youth, she was distinctly the matriarch of the family who owned a hair salon, a clothing store and a jewelry shop. Lewis’s adulthood has given him the time and interest to learn about his mother as a person instead of the head of the family.

“Who was she with before she met my dad? What was it like to be the youngest of four siblings? Because I’m also the youngest. Things like that never came up when I was younger, and now they are coming up. I want to ask her questions all the time.”

Taken as a whole, the light and dark notes of the record result in an inspiring sound.
Becoming more open to collaboration as well as the influences of his past and present have allowed Lewis to discover and reinforce his own singular voice–one that blends masculinity and femininity and old and new in a further revelation of the Twin Shadow project.

“Overall for me, it’s a more positive record,” Lewis said. “I had to double check my lyric sheets…I was surprised at how uplifting certain songs are. About how much they are kind of about opening doors rather than closing them.”

Bowie’s record “Low.”

“It’s a really good place to go down different lanes of music,” Lewis said. “There are records on YouTube that you can’t find anywhere else.”

ECLIPSE stands out as a more personal, reflective record that encompasses Lewis’
influences without too closely imitating them. Few of the songs rely on the 80s sound Lewis became known for on his earlier records, though he doesn’t shy away from the power ballad. “To The Top” is broad and anthemic. “Old Love/New Love” is the
catchiest track and most eligible as a dance-ready single. “Half Life” is a serious and raw plea, while “Locked & Loaded” is exposed, anticipatory and vulnerable.

Many of the songs written on the record were taken directly from Lewis’s mind without traversing a paper trail of writing and rewriting. Lyrics were not written down prior to recording and whichever lyrics he chose and felt right are the words that stand on the album today. 

“It’s less about originality,” Lewis said. “It’s more just about communication. I feel like I have a more direct sense of communication.”

This wasn’t an intentional process, but one that simply evolved out of this need for
communication and immediacy.

“I kind of keep reminding myself that as soon as you think you have a process, you don’t have a process at all,” Lewis said. “I didn’t set out to do this…I never go into it with any kind of law. It’s just more like an unspoken law that naturally happens. And then in hindsight, obviously you’re able to see that pattern.”

Lewis cites his mother as a major source of inspiration for the record as their relationship grew exponentially during the penning and recording of Eclipse. During his youth, she was distinctly the matriarch of the family who owned a hair salon, a clothing store and a jewelry shop. Lewis’s adulthood has given him the time and interest to learn about his mother as a person instead of the head of the family.

“Who was she with before she met my dad? What was it like to be the youngest of four siblings? Because I’m also the youngest. Things like that never came up when I was younger, and now they are coming up. I want to ask her questions all the time.”

Taken as a whole, the light and dark notes of the record result in an inspiring sound. Becoming more open to collaboration as well as the influences of his past and present have allowed Lewis to discover and reinforce his own singular voice–one that blends masculinity and femininity and old and new in a further revelation of the Twin Shadow project.

“Overall for me, it’s a more positive record,” Lewis said. “I had to double check my lyric sheets…I was surprised at how uplifting certain songs are. About how much they are kind of about opening doors rather than closing them.”

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jacket & shirt, Jessica Walsh.

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jacket & t- shirt, Public School.

look 1:jacket & t- shirt, Public School

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