TWYN, the ultra-versatile and ever-evolving duo from Miami, FL are ecstatic about the release of their new single ii. Headlined by two “jazztronica” tracks Ravana and Mercury, TWYN masterfully fuses electronic, hip-hop, funk, pop and the vibes of their spontaneous live shows. Ravana has been featured on Spotify’s State of Jazz Playlist for the past week
We had the pleasure of catching up with Jason Matthews and Aaron Glueckauf while they were touring Florida, promoting their new release. This is new music Friday with Verge Magazine.
Paulie: So you said you guys are on the road right now right?
Jason: We’re still in Orlando now. Were just doing these little three shows for the promotion for released today.
So how do you feel about it? Tell me a little bit about the feeling of, while being on the road, you release something new. Tell me a little bit about the release.
Yeah I mean this is our first instrumental release really. Before we had released a bunch of singles of and Aaron sings on the first one. Those releases were more geared towards I guess like songwriting, with sort of that pop mentality. This new one is more instrumental and pertains more to our live thing, our live shows. So touring on it and having it come out is awesome because people are seeing us play live and then they’re getting exactly what they’re seeing live. Which is a combination of a lot of work because our live show is just two of us. It’s interesting to, to bring this duo around especially in Florida, we’re seeing how people respond to it because it’s just two people. We have to make a lot of sound with just two people. I use a lot of looping pedals, Aaron uses a drum pad and effects pad, all this stuff. So we’re kind of learning how to, you know, make it as big as it can be while also trying to match the record as best as it will be. So it’s been interesting and fun seeing how it all works. We’ve been playing live together for a while, so this is our first time really bringing it out and touring on it.
That’s awesome that you get to sort of piggyback off of a concept that you’re really excited about in-studio and then you get to let it transform on stage. It’s a really creative direction you’re taking. I’m always a fan of moving away from the generic and trying to do something exciting and genuinely innovative.
That’s the idea. We’re trying to do something that’s unique and we’re not trying to force anything cause it really is just me and Aaron have been playing together since 2010 and you know, we’ve been in a lot of other groups in a lot of different styles of music. But we’ve always written music together, playing as a duo. This release for us was a serious step to really put the band into the world. It was more of a statement than the previous releases.
It sounds like the journey you two have been on has paved the way for this release, especially your early years working together.
It just feels so different from how we did things in the past. Going back to when we first met in college Aaron came up to me and he was like, man, “I know this dope rapper, I want to start a band. I want to start a hip hop band.” So we started a band called The Politix. That group was together for like five years before breaking up.
That must’ve been difficult but It’s part of the territory though. You start a band, it breaks up. It’s just what happens.
But this band broke up into a bunch of other things, and hip hop, fortunately, stayed with us all these years. It’s a genre that was in our roots in some ways.
Gotcha. You know, I hear a lot of fusions. A lot of different genres come out in your music. I hear electronica, I hear hip hop, I hear that nineties boom-bap and some funk, some jazz, a hint of pop. So if there are a couple of artists off the top of your head that you can think of that have inspired you over the years or recently, who would you say they were?
You know that’s an interesting question. I think that we are a combination of artists that we love from a nostalgic point of view. Those nineties bands that we grew up listening to such as Incubus, Smashing Pumpkins of whatever we were listening to at that moment, all that kind of stuff. Actually, the one band that’s continued to stay with us down the line and is probably our greatest influence as humans and artists is Radiohead.
Right you know I can hear it too, that’s solid.
Yeah and you know they’ve got the electronic elements as well. Then as players, you know, we’re trained in jazz, so there was a whole period of time where we were delving into that music and genres and sub-genres. Then the third thing I think that brings it all together was when we spent that time with The Politix in the hip hop band. That kind of was our training for how to create groove music that makes people move, makes you dance. The Roots were actually a big influence for us then because the Roots are one of the only hip hop bands to bring as much jazz as they do. The electronic influence is sort of the last element. When we started thinking heavily about production and lights and focusing on our live shows, everything came together and that came along with the bands and the bands that influenced that side of what we were doing. Of course, we’re talking about Aphex Twin, Jojo Mayer / Nerve and um, Mark Guiliana.
Yeah I mean even just from face value, when you tell me two of your biggest inspirations are Radiohead and the Roots, I’m going to be onboard every single day of the week. Especially when you think in terms of versatility, Radiohead has covered it all at a high level and so have the Roots. Over the years both of those groups have set such a high standard for innovation in music creation. When it applies to you two, I can definitely tell that you have that appreciation for making something that is, you know, game-changing and revolutionary.
As a band, we just want to take the nuance of production and songwriting and all that stuff from places that really inspire and motivate us. Where everything needs to be placed, in its right place, you know what I mean?
Our mentality should be that everything we put out should have a purpose. Every musical element has to be purposeful and have an emotion and should feel genuine and intentional. Radiohead are masters at that. You know what I mean? It’s a masterclass, and that’s really where we take the influence. Whether it’s electronic music or jazz or whatever were making., were crafting with intention and that’s the whole goal really.
Right. I think a lot of people are a little too focused on, you know, what genre your music is, which is unfortunate. You know you guys are heavily electronic, but that’s just like the vehicle that you drive in order to get to the end goal. It’s not like you’re attached to the idea of being an electronic band. You do what you gotta do to make music. Speaking of making music, you two are based out of Miami. How do you like it there? I mean Miami is such a vibrant city and I feel like to a certain extent you two encapsulate a lot of what Miami is as a city.
Aaron: We love it because Miami’s afforded us the opportunity to create our own paradigm musically while also being able to make a living, you know, as full as musicians. We don’t have day jobs, we don’t make coffee at Starbucks or something. We’re good at what we do and we can do a lot of different things. So we can play a jazz gig or we can play a corporate gig or any type of gig. A lot of bands, you know, guys, they just do their band and then their sound as players and are dictated by the requirements of the band’s music.
Exactly. I mean if you’re a punk rock drummer, you’re not going to most likely play a jazz gig. Unless you’re Travis Barker or someone who looks to be versatile. Right?
It’s interesting cause there are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches. And I, it’s not even, like you said, you don’t set out to do them purposely. It’s just sorta the way it goes. When we started playing, the scene was starting to change and the culture of Miami was shifting and there was a huge influx of like art and venues opening up that wanted a more creative aesthetic and kind of rejection to the corporate band world. So we’ve been really lucky that as we’ve grown as artists, it’s coincided with the growth of the city and we’ve literally been kind of pioneers on the scene during it, helping push that along. We’ve been part of this young wave of pushing clubs, showing bringing original music to, to clubs and you know, it’s helping them promote their venues.
Your sound feels sustainable in a way that is very self-made and um, you can say like your music is original. Anyone can say your music’s original, but for you, it’s more genuine than that. It’s like this thing that’s built from the ground up and you had to do something else after trying a bunch of different ideas for such a long time. So what do you think your guys’ formula has been to get you on the journey that you’re on now and the success you’ve been afforded? If there is one that is. We all know it doesn’t always work that way.
We learned the business when we were in The Politix. We cut our teeth, learning the business of music and being a DIY band. That’s been a huge part of our formula. You know, the honest thing is we’ve learned the business by playing for our other people. We were side acts for a bunch of other people, all types of like Cuban artists, Blues Artists, uh, rock artists, Latin artists. We’ve toured with all these people. So we’ve seen it all come together. I think that’s why we have a bigger scope on music than if you were, just like a rapper, for example. If our scope was just a matter of making a beat, going to the studio and putting out songs, then we probably wouldn’t be where we are no. No, we’ve seen all the whole scope of it, you know what I mean? But we’re are still learning, there’s still so much to learn. There are so many genres and it’s all different languages too. You can’t teach the desire to learn or the versatility that only comes with experience. Unless you’re lucky. Someone comes and picks you up out of the blue. But you know we’re never been people to wait around for anything.
And all of that comes through in your music cause there’s not an ounce of laziness in what you two create. There’s a certain level of generalization that comes with making music and then you just get lucky and someone picks you up and loves what you make. I’m with you guys. It feels like you have spent years meticulously crafting what you are now today.
Jason: I just think that like you can see people blow up on Instagram faster and faster. Nowadays you see a lot of facades. All were trying to do is make the image match the music in a way that also fits into this modern aesthetic, right? We just want it to be authentic but also fit into the modern world. You know what I mean? But we’re still learning on all this.
That’s all you can do, brother. All you can do is learn. So now my last question is what is next for TWYN? The world is kind of in your palms right now. But what do you think is next?
Aaron: What’s next is I think we want to get a full-length album done of our instrumental stuff. Maybe taking some live cuts of some gigs we’ve done in the past. A lot of what we do is a representation of our live shows which can be kind of tricky because we do everything analogue. It’s not the most stable system. The analogue looping and just a lack of being reliant on technology. But that’s all a part of the process and one of the next things we will try to improve on. I think we’re going to, in the future, we’re going to continue to seek out our own pathway, technologically speaking. We want everything to come to life in a way that makes the process of creating a full-length record more doable in less time. Then I think the other thing, the last thing we’re going to keep doing is pushing more songs out and singles with lyrics or maybe rappers and singers. We’ve always looked at this group as not just a band that we’re going to do our own thing. But also as a platform to create any kind of music we want. Anything that comes to our heads. We don’t feel like there’s any rules or restrictions on what we do because we love to do all that stuff and we know that if we get in the studio and we do it with somebody who’s going to come out sounding like our music anyway. It doesn’t have to just, we don’t have to just do the instrumental stuff. We don’t have to just do vocal stuff. We can just put music out, whatever that music might be
Be sure to check out TWYN’s brand new single ii, available now on Spotify and Apple Music!