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INTERVIEW: Twist Helix

Pic by Katy Blackwood

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Terrified! This is our first release in a year and a departure for us in terms of style and sound. There’s no guitar on this track, it’s more ambitious in its scope and a lot darker than anything we’ve explored previously.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Pulse”?

Pulse is going to be released 31/03/17, and is the first single taken from our forthcoming album ‘Ouseburn’.  The song is a dystopian vision, delivered by a protagonist who returns to Newcastle after a long absence only to find that the once vibrant Ouseburn Valley creative hub has been abandoned.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Lost underneath everything else that happened last year, our home city Newcastle and particularly the city´s arts hub ‘Ouseburn’ began to fall victim to some pretty aggressive building developments. The trend seems to be that the arts and community spaces are getting edged out to make way for monolithic (and largely unoccupied) student housing developments. As a result we lost our community cinema and music venue, two fringe arts spaces and very nearly lost our city farm.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

We’re happy to say that a video is already in the works, we’ll be filming with our long term collaborators Flashlight Films and hope to have the video ready in time for the release.

Why name the song Pulse?

The song’s focal point lyrically comes in the second verse “Silence from flax chimney bough, now that pulse has changed these veins feel numb” – that flax chimney is the site of the legendary Cluny music venue (a former cotton mill) for us as musicians, the Cluny is the artistic heart of the Ouseburn; if it were ever to fall silent, if the vicious developments that are encroaching upon it were to reach their conclusion, the heartbeat of the city, the vitality of our home would be no more.

In some way would you call this a concept album?

Absolutely, we tell stories, it’s what we do; every fragment for us is part of a much bigger picture that will become apparent when our album ‘Ouseburn’ is released.

How was the recording and writing process?

For all the gloominess of the new single and the stern warning behind it, we actually have a lot of fun when we’re writing. It is no secret that we’re a little bit nerdy; we’re happiest when we’re delving into history, architecture, as well as the works of our contemporaries and working in allusions. Doing that gives us a sense of pride; Newcastle is often sold short as a party city, somewhere to get wrecked on a weekend, we’re hoping to change that impression.

I can hear some Cranberries and London Grammar in your music – do any of them play a role on this band?

Compliment accepted! Weirdly enough we used to play a Cranberries cover (Dreams) when we were starting out, and we do get that comparison a lot; possibly because Bea’s vocals have a similar color to Dolores O’Riordan? London Grammar is a new one though!

What aspect of the space and the universe did you get to explore on this album?

While the geographical “space” of the album is firmly rooted on planet Earth (Byker even); we always had in mind the dystopian cityscapes of science fiction, cities like “The Sprawl” of William Gibsons ‘Neuromancer’ and our synthesizers seemed the perfect soundtrack to  the “alien” developments engulfing us.  For this, we commissioned Trevor Storey to produce Pulse’s artwork (featuring The Cluny) which follows on from his earlier series of North East futuristic designs.

Any plans to hit the road?

Oh gosh it feels like we’re never off the road ha ha! Yes we’re touring again and loving it, after a little Christmas break we jumped straight back into it and kicked things off on the fourth of January at the New Cross Inn in London we’ve got some big shows coming up soon in Newcastle, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow with more TBA, for full details and dates follow us on facebook.com/twisthelix

What else is happening next in Twist Helix’s world?

We’re going back into Blank Studios in February working once more with John Martindale (from Shields) who recorded the single. John has been simply amazing to work with; he really gets the idea of mixing analogue and electronic elements that gives our music its drive. With a bit of luck, the next single and then the album shouldn’t be too far off.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/twisthelix/

Twitter: @twisthelixband

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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