Working “in reverse order of my influences” has led Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba to Twin Forks, a new band that will release its self-titled debut EP on Sept. 17 and hit the road for its first full tour the same day.
Carrabba tells Billboard that Twin Forks — which also includes Suzie Zeldin on mandolin, Jonathan Clark on bass and Ben Homola on drums — was born because he “needed a creative break from Dashboard,” whose last album, “Alter The Ending,” came out in 2009.
“I stared writing my own kind of more traditional singer-songwriter songs that had a lot of fingerpicking and melodic vocals along the lines of Joshua Radio, Paul Simon, those kinds of things.”
That led to the covers set “Covered in the Flood” and a tour that included an appearance at the 2012 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco, which Carrabba says “was a turning point for me because we played the songs I’d been working on, the ones that would become the sort of template for what Twin Forks would become, and the way the audience reacted I just felt, ‘This is right.’ So from there we came home and I seemed to be writing a song every day. It just turned (on) a switch for me.”
And even though Carrabba began Dashboard Confessional as an acoustic, singer-songwriter type of project, he says what he’s doing with Twin Forks is entirely different from that.
“With Dashboard, it was almost an anti-folk thing,” Carrabba explains. “I really was trying to make sure those things I’d lived with so closely as a music fan weren’t what I would be replication with my (music). So that led me to do weird open tunings, anything to get away from the pitfalls of a more traditional kind of song structure, songwriting, chord arrangements and all that. Now, all these years later, it’s just time to embrace it. I don’t need to trick myself out of writing away from those things I love anymore. I think it’s OK to let people know that I do love this.”
The “Twin Forks” EP features five songs, and Carrabba says there’s certainly more where they came from, with plans for a full album in 2014.
“We’ve recorded so much. We have so many songs, so many covers,” Carrabba says. “I’d say (the EP) is a good indicator of what the band is, if not what the (album) will be. There’s part of me that would like to release a song a month from the stash that won’t be on the record, but we’ll see how that goes.”
During the tour, meanwhile, Carrabba says Twin Forks plans to play not only the group’s own material but also songs by Dashboard and his other band, Further Seems Forever.
And while Twin Forks is his priority now, Carrabba says both of those other concerns are still active.
“I love Dashboard. I love Further. I love my bandmates in those bands, and I don’t have any plans to not do those bands with those guys,” Carrabba affirms. “But (Twin Forks) is where my heart is and where my creative reward is coming from right now. And I feel really, really lucky that I’ve got the opportunity to be in another band that I care about this much.”