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Twist - Interview

  by David McNamee

published: 13 / 1 / 2002

Twist - Interview


“This song’s about waking up every morning in a shit situation and not being able to do a single fucking thing about it.” Emma Fox is literally choking with disgust. Full of flu and struggling purpose

“This song’s about waking up every morning in a shit situation and not being able to do a single fucking thing about it.” Emma Fox is literally choking with disgust. Full of flu and struggling purposefully through a shortened set, the Twist frontwoman is oozing anger from every pore. Back in Blonde, and quite admirably simply not giving a damn about any parallels journalists may draw with a certain Gucci-Rock group, Emma and co. unload a set that’s like a truckload of Monday mornings on a collision course with your FACE. There is no sense of style over substance with this band. It’s not about dressing up like Barbie and wishing your life away, when Twist get on stage and sing about their lives it isn’t the precocious whining of Angst Rock’s latest supermodels, its delivered with defiance and spit. Four working class teenage girls growing up on a terrible estate in the West Midlands inspired by Nirvana to start a band is no different to Strummer and Jones hearing the call of hacked-up R&B across Hammersmith Palais. And I bet you anything their first proper album is gonna have a lot more tunes. Guitarist Vanessa, looking for all the world the vampish blood ‘n’ shandy sipping femme fatale, is disarmingly down to earth. Hand springs to her mouth and she mutters a quick apology on the one ‘fuck’ during this interview. Lisa Lavery - bass and possessor of a magnetic conviction that prevents you from breaking eye-contact whenever she speaks - sits to her left and for two people supposedly in one of the coolest new bands in the country, I’ve never seen anyone get so gigglishly frantic about an upcoming support slot with (of all people!) Muse. Twist, formed by aforementioned singer Emma Fox and drummer Leanne Taylor at the age of 14, released their debut mini-album ‘Magenta’ on Fierce Panda at the beginning of this year. They’re, um, about 19 now, I think. Lisa and Vanessa found themselves drafted in after previous members failed to grasp that being in a band wasn’t all about money, fame and boyfriends. Well, that’s the Rock n Roll lifestyle for you. “Yeah, I wish.” Grumbles Lisa. “Like you can afford the Rock ‘n Roll lifestyle on our budget…” Still without a proper deal, they’ve yet to receive “a single penny from this band.” So is being in a band like you thought it’d be? “I thought it would be less about politics and more about music.” Vaneesa emphasises firmly. “I didn’t realise that everything was political.” Their songs span the whole emotional spectrum - from edgy and uncomfortable to skin-flaying blowtorch guitar haemorrhage. “There is no songwriting agenda.” states Lisa. “Our lives haven’t been rosy. And the songs just reflect that, that’s our lives.” Vanessa: “But if we want to write a really poppy, happy song then we will.” “It might happen,” smirks Leanne. “One day.” I get bollocked for suggesting that in an increasingly parochial national music scene, the Smash Hits guitar bands like Travis and, um, Muse might push Twist to the peripheries of any new scene set to emerge since Spiceworld hammered the last few nails in Britpop’s Sleeper-stickered coffin. Rock being, as it is, a much undervalued currency in this country. No, and, anyway, Muse are so not commercial. Obviously. ? VANESSA: We’re not annoyed that people pigeonhole us into other bands. Because everyone’s gonna do it. It’s just the same one band that we get classified as. [give you a clue, it starts with the letter ‘H’ and ends with ‘courtneylove’] If you listen to us we don’t really sound… LISA: The music… VANESSA: The music is so not the same. I mean, it’s probably because we’ve got a blonde lead singer. Y’know what I mean? And that’s probably about it. I don’t get it… it’s just… LISA: We’ve never… all we’ve set out to do is, like, be in a band and write our music. It’s never been about doing photoshoots and being on the front cover. If that happens then, y’know, wow! It’d be amazin’, but… VANESSA: But all we wanna do is, like, sell records [catching herself in a breath, nice one Vanessa], all we wanna do is for people to enjoy what we do and come and see us play and enjoy watching us play and smile. And just before you go out, stick our single on, man, have a boogie… leave the house! LISA: The image thing is not something that I don’t think that the band should create for themselves. It’s something that… y’know, it just happens to them. As they grow. Y’know, how people perceive them. If the fanbase grows then the image kind’ve grows on you. D’you know what I mean? You don’t set out to purposefully… get… do you kn-? DAVID: Yeah. LISA: I can’t explain it. We’re just not much bothered about it [laughs]. That’s probably why. That’s probably why we’re here! In the Flapper! [laughs] DAVID: I interviewed another band here the other week [if I spend any more time in the Flapper & Firkin they’re going to have to tattoo that rubber stamp thing onto my hand…], Sahara Hotnights, who are in a similar position to you and they were talking about how they get asked if they write their own songs and they get comparisons with, like, 21st Century Girls, Hepburn… VANESSA: Yeah. That’s the problem. Because you’ve got, like, bands who don’t write their own music and were put together they think all girl bands can’t manage to get together by themselves and obviously can’t manage to write music. Which is just… not true. I mean, we were never put together – we met each other. And we just sit there and we just write tunes. D’you know what I mean? I don’t understand why people have like this preconception that, like, “Oh, so who actually writes your music then?” or “Who put you together or who makes you look like the way you look”. But… it’s gonna happen, you know what I mean? Until people can get together with the fact that an all-girl band do actually do their own stuff then it’s always gonna be like that. [pause] I sound like a proper feminist don’t I?! LISA & VANESSA: We’re NOT feminists!!! LISA: Not at all!! VANESSA: Absolutely! LISA: It’s the principle of the thing! VANESSA: It is! DAVID: But it’s dangerous because if that perception is attached to the music… VANESSA: That’s what’s happening anyway. LISA: The music is the basis of it all. Y’know, so many people forget it really. It’s the music that gets you there. VANESSA: Bands have so much money thrown into them because they’ve got one great single, y’know… like- like that guy! Who got to Number 1… that… ‘Glori- DAVID: Not Andreas Johnson!! VANESSA: Andreas Johnson!! Have you heard his new single?! DAVID: No, I haven’t. VANESSA: It’s nothing like what he did. Cos they chucked that much money at it… LISA: They did it the wrong way round. VANESSA: They did! They did it completely the wrong way round! LISA: It should have been the third single. VANESSA: Exactly! LISA: We know what we’re talking about! [giggles] DAVID: [awestruck] You should run a record label! VANESSA: We should do, man! LISA: Bear with us. We do really desperately wanna get this single out. [erm, their single, not Andreas Johnson] But… VANESSA: We’re tryin’. It will be out. Someday! LISA: It’s just sortin’ it out. VANESSA: And come to Reading! Cos even if we’re not playing you’ll find us. On the floor somewhere. LISA: We’ll do an acappella concert. VANESSA: Yes. We’ll fuckin’ set up in the middle of a field. We’re playing! By the time you read this hopefully Twist will be proper paid musicians on a proper record label, until then you can hear them on their three singles and the mini-album ‘Magenta’. The band insist they will be playing Reading & Leeds, despite not having been confirmed by the festival organisers.

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Twist - Interview

Twist - Interview

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