Our video series presents a closer look at -- and an exclusive performance from -- artists hitting the Billboard Tastemakers chart, which brings you the top-selling albums each week based on an influential panel of indie stores and small regional chains.
In our most recent installment of Tastemakers, we sat in with Brooklyn's Twin Shadow at Mophonics Studio in New York. The indie-pop act did not disappoint, performing a few tracks and speaking on the group's success to date. Light, airy synths from Wynne Bennett wafted in and out of George Lewis Jr.'s new wave-inspired vocals and guitar, while bassist Russ Manning picked his way through grooving basslines and drummer Andy Bauer kept the pulsing beat.
All this came from 2010's "Forget," Twin Shadow's debut album. Recorded almost entirely by Lewis, the album is a healthy slice of '80s nostalgia, with inspirations from Depeche Mode to New Order evident. But according to Lewis, keying in to a genre of yesteryear was not necessarily on the mind when making the record."I don't try to achieve any kind of nostalgia or anything like that," Lewis explained. "It's just the way it is."Twin Shadow's low-budget, throwback video for "Slow," which solely stars Lewis singing and playing the drums, grabbed the attention of music fans. The clip brings to mind the sexualized clothing commercials of the '90s -- which, according to Lewis, was the whole point."The 'Slow' video is a simple idea: It was just kind of an homage to the old Calvin Klein advertising campaign that was banned," he said. "It's a weird thing that was going on in the '90s, where sexuality was... it was a little more clever, I guess; a little less blatant. I just want to pay tribute to that time when selling something with sex had a little bit more flavor to it."Video Below: Twin Shadow Performs Perform "Slow" Live
"Forget" was produced by Chris Taylor, best known as the bass player for fellow Brooklynites Grizzly Bear. According to Lewis, the partnership was an amicable venture."Chris got a hold of my music and he contacted me out of the blue from an e-mail, just saying he was listening to it on tour and he was really loving it," Lewis revealed. "I was kind of under the impression that I was going to re-record the entire record. Chris was the one that pushed me to not change anything, to take what I had done and bring it in together and comb through it and make sure that everything that needed to be there was there, and that everything that didn't need to be there was taken away."They [the label] were really supportive of me doing whatever I wanted; they didn't put any pressure on me to do more than what was already there."With this freedom, one might think that Twin Shadow might really let loose and draw on an unending sphere of influences for their music. Lewis believes that, while it's true that multiple influences go into his band's music, Twin Shadow is not exactly revolutionary in this respect."I think everybody who does anything creative is influenced by everything that has been, every single thing that's ever been," Lewis said. "We have so much information. There's no way to just be influenced by one thing, regardless of music. It's happening in art, it's happening in fashion, it's happening everywhere. I don't think that we're any different than anyone else in that respect."Video Below: Twin Shadow Performs "Forget" Live
The future may still be a mystery for Twin Shadow, but at least one thing is for sure in Lewis's mind. "The next record is gonna be... I don't know what that's gonna be like," he said. "We may all be involved, we may not. I don't know yet -- we don't know yet, as a band."I think we're growing as a live band, and that's the important part right now."
Text by Kevin Rutherford