Some things have changed in the couple of years between Twinkids’ first EP, Boys Love, and the new Lizard House, premiering exclusively below. And some things haven’t.
“I think (Lizard House) has a lot of the same things we’ve always been writing about, which is heartbreak, yearning, gay relationships, manipulation in relationships,” says Matt Young, half of the Los Angeles electropop duo he formed with Gene Fukui, whom he met while both were studying at Oberlin Conservatory of Music. “I think what’s different about this EP was more where we were at in our lives.”
That would be a different kind of yearning for Young and Fukui. During the spring of 2018 Twinkids opened a national tour for Matt & Kim, playing sold-out theaters for audiences that also treated Twinkids “like we were these superstars.” Coming off the tour, however, was a reality check.
“It was pretty harsh,” Young recalls. “Neither of us are supporting ourselves full-time with music, so going back into that way of life, working day jobs, was really shocking coming off that tour. These songs (on Lizard House) were born of that period, coming to terms with that reality. That’s what this feels like to both of us.”
But even though Young works as piano teacher and ballet class accompanist and the Tokyo-born Fukui is a translator, music is still Twinkids’ primary goal. The duo released a pair of singles last year, while the four songs on Lizard House run a carefully constructed range from the shimmer of “Eighteen” to the buoyant dance-pop of “Psycho” to the ambitious soundscape of “Lizard House/Number One.”
“It’s a spectrum — ‘Eighteen’ being, I think, the poppiest thing we’ve ever done, and ‘Lizard House/Number One’ by far the most experimental,” says Young, a Florida native who counts Bjork as a primary influence. “For ‘Eighteen’ it was like, ‘We don’t have time to not make more immediate music. How can we make this more listenable?’ I wanted it to cut to the chase as quickly as it can. But with ‘Lizard,’ coming back to reality made me feel like, ‘Fuck everything else, we’ll do everything we want for this song,’ which felt good to do, too.”
Young says he and Fukui are hoping “that stars might align again” for another national tour; in the meantime, they’re headlining a School Night show Monday (Nov. 25) in Los Angeles to celebrate the EP.
Another difference as Lizard House rolls out Nov. 22, Young says, is that Twinkids feels like it has company in its musical mission. “I think when we started music we were sort of on the cusp of the period we’re in now, with mainstream queer pop icons singing about being queer,” Young says. “You have Troye Sivan, the band Luna…I don’t think that was there when we started making music. It’s exciting to feel like we’re a part of this community of just queer people, maybe not even singing about their queerness super specifically but being out there, singing love songs you know is a boy singing to a boy. It’s really cool to see that is happening now.”