Interviews

The Twees

-Interview with Gabriel Don of Indie Band Guru on Wednesday, November 18th 2009
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Jason Abrishami (19,Guitar and Vocals), Alex Schwartzberg (19,Guitar), Will Mazoli (19, Bass) and Logan Sorrentino (17, Drums)

Gabriel: How did you guys form as a band, I know Alex – you just joined, but how did you meet?

Alex: Facebook.

Jason, Will & Logan: Craigs List.

Gabriel: You just went on Craigs list and Facebook and said, “I want to play in a band?”

Alex: He sent me a message to my inbox in Facebook saying, “ Hey, want to be a drummer in my band?”

Jason: I put a posting up and Will responded back to me. With Alex, we both put postings up at exactly the same time and I just responded back to his post as soon as possible.

Alex: And he was just the first person who responded…

Will: Did anyone else respond?

Alex: Yeah I got three other responses…So I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll just jam with this kid.”

Gabriel: You were the only guitarist before Alex joined?

Jason: Yeah. We worked as a three piece. On the E.P we used two guitarists because we wanted a more dynamic sound. Then we realized we need another guitarist.

Will: A. To recreate it live and B. To basically have better guitar parts.

Gabriel: Literally, none of you knew each other, although you all live in Long Island, before you met on the Internet?

All in Unison: No.

Logan: Plus they’re all in college and I’m still in high school.

Alex: It’s an unusual way to start a band, I think. It’s been a modern way.

Jason: The first time I met those two [Will & Alex] was at a recording studio and the first time I met him [Logan] I picked him up from his house. It was awkward for like a minute. It was like, “Oh your Logan.” “Oh your Jason.” And then we met up with Will and we jammed for about like five minutes. Then we just started shooting out ideas and started working on songs. The first time. It worked out really well.

Gabriel: You three are all studying at college, what are you studying?

Jason: Pre-dental

Will: I’m kind of in between sociology and English literature right now.

Logan: Besides music, of course, when I finish high school, I was leaning more towards bio-medical engineering.

Alex: I was studying culinary arts, for a long time, with the intention of becoming a chef. I spent a lot of time in the industry and just grew to dislike it. I wasn’t ready to make a twenty plus year commitment to it. So I’m studying engineering. I really want to work with green technology. I want to help move something in the right direction. I’ve got a love to cook but I also feel that it’s also not contributing enough.

Gabriel: Talking about contributing, you guys did a benefit concert recently.

Jason: At public sound voice. To feed the needy.

Will: Food bank.

Logan: It was give back live music series.

Will: And basically all the ticket money and stuff went to this charity that helped feed hungry people.

Gabriel: What was it was like when you first together, did you just jam?

Everyone: Yeah.

Will: Basically.

Jason: First all, Logan just went in there, didn’t say anything and just started playing.

Will: I mean, I pull into the parking lot and Jason comes out and his hair is just like… he had an afro and it was just outrageous.

Jason: I remember the reggae song… I don’t know how but we had this one reggae song.

Logan: You made me think I was joining a reggae band .

Will: Yeah, that was funny.

Gabriel: What bands are you influenced by?

Jason: I’d say Julian Casablancas from The Strokes, Lou Reed, Block party. Tokyo Police Club, The Killing Ends…

Will: Phoenix.

Alex: Yeah Phoenix has been huge for me. I love Phoenix. I love classic rock. I love the Beatles. I love jazz. My dad’s a jazz pianist so just growing up around the sound has definitely influenced

my rhythms and stuff like that. I’m just into anything you can dance to. Anything that has a good beat. Anything you can really groove into.

Gabriel: What’s your favorite thing about performing live?

Will: Basically there’s just a lot more energy to it. It’s a lot easier to get into. It’s really easy to get into it when you’re in the practice space playing but there’s just something different about playing live.

Logan: I actually like trying new things when I’m playing live. Say we ‘re playing one of the songs, you know, I’ve always played a certain way and then like to just add a fill that I’ve never done before and just nail it. That’s cool to do in front of people and it’s cool for me.

Alex: Dancing. Getting really into it. You know if you’re on stage and you’re having fun and there’s people watching and they start having fun. It’s important to have a lot of energy and I just like getting that out on stage. I thinks it’s absolutely essential to match the sound you achieve in the studio in the live settings.

Jason: I’d say the thrill. I like to get up in front of people and working up to that one moment where we just have to start.

Gabriel: How important is important is the recording session to you?

Jason: We kind of rushed our EP. Like me and Will spent about four – six weeks just sending back and forth demos and not even fully structuring them. Just sitting down and putting out songs. Then jumping head first into the studio. We did all four songs in two days. We did all the instrumentals for all the songs in one day and the vocals and extra guitar parts on the second day. But it came out pretty good. But right now with Alex, we’re really stripping down all our songs . We’re writing new music and we’re really just getting straight to the point and making sure that it sounds one hundred percent. Like amazing.

Gabriel: Who writes the lyrics?

Jason: Me and Will

Will: Yeah, me and Jason have been writing lyrics. That might change later on.

Gabriel: Who is this person who inspired them?

Will: It’s kinda like a real situation.

Alex: It’s more fun to keep these things ambiguous.

Jason: Lets just say whatever happened to Lessons to Connect, happened at the same time to me and Will. We both realized it happened so we kinda wrote an EP about it.

Gabriel: How do you come up with ideas for songs?

Alex: The song writing process is really different for all of us.

Jason: Yeah.

Alex: I’m really methodical and I’ll spend literally months working on something that could end up being twenty seconds in the song. I’m a perfectionist. I’ll spend months pouring over four chords and then decide I don’t want to do anything with them. Jason can come forward and be like, “ I was messing around with this and I think it sounds cool.” And we’ll be like, “Alright. We’ll make a song out of that.”

Will: I’d say I’m in the middle.

Alex: I like working with them because they’re not as methodical about it and they ‘re more, ‘Lets go with the flow.’ It helps balance me out and it keeps me grounded in reality.

Gabriel: Where did you learn to play instruments/sing?
Jason: I’ve been playing since I was twelve and singing my entire life. I asked my parents if they could get me a guitar and they said, “Yes.” Squier strat. I was just playing that and my neighbor started playing drums. So I’ve always been accustomed to writing music and being in a band. I took a few guitar lessons. I’ve taken piano lessons.

Alex: I was introduced to music at an early stage. Literally every night I’ve been at home, I’ve listened to my dad playing piano before going to sleep. Music has always been a part of my life but I picked up guitar around 5 years ago. I spent first eight months teaching myself by playing The Beatles’ songs. Just sitting there strumming out the rhythm and singing along. Then I got a teacher and I started learning more. Learning how to sing and play at same time and follow a rhythm. I think that’s why I enjoy playing rhythm rather than lead guitar. I’ve grown accustomed to it and it’s what kinda of carries the music along. It’s the rhythm of the drums and the bass and the guitar keeps things progressing.

Logan: I started playing the drums in forth grade. So that’s around eight years ago, I guess. I was just playing a drum pad that doesn’t really count. I’ve been playing set for about five – six years. It’s been interesting. I started teaching myself from the beginning. The first song I learned to play on drums was actually,“Eye of the Tiger.” I got some lessons after that and things have been going smoothly.

Will: Well, like five years ago, I wanted to play guitar but then it was because I used to be a track star, running 8 to 9 miles a day, then I got hurt so I needed something to fill the gaps. So I picked up guitar. When I’m alone I don’t touch bass at all, I play guitar. I consider myself a guitarist as a bassist. But in terms of playing with other people and playing live I ve just grown more accustomed to play bass.

Gabriel: How important is autonomy to your recording process?

Jason: It’s very important. You know, we want to keep our distinct sound and we want to mature with it. Especially with artists that sign to major labels, they completely change their sound. I think it’s a very important thing to us. It’s funny, when we went into the recording studio, it can get really frustrating because you have to continuously play something until you get it perfectly. Not a lot of people know that. But it’s funny, our producer, if something sounded bad, would just mike it and be like, “Stop, stop, stop. That sounded like shit. Lets do it again.” It got frustrating but we eventually got through the process.

Alex: You can loose a lot of things. You can loose a lot of character from a song in the studio and that’s something I want to stray away from.

Gabriel: Is important for you guys to remain an indie band?

Everyone: Yeah.

Alex: It’s important just to maintain our musical integrity.

Will: We obviously want to take it as far as we can take it. As long as we are not creating any music that’s false, that we can’t create live, and that we are making the music that we want to make. So as long as we have those two things, we’re accomplishing something. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with pop music. Cheery, upbeat music that makes you want to dance. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Gabriel: How hands on are you guy with the music production?

Jason: We get very involved with every piece. When they were mixing and mastering our EP, we sat there for hours and days, right next to them.

Will: Yeah, we sat there in the room with the guy. We were like, “We want it to sound like that and this to sound like that.” I think for this next release we’re going to be even more like that.

Alex: Everything really has to be good. We are putting all of our names on it. It’s something I really want to proud of.

*keep a lookout for The Twees playing live around NYC. Visit their website at www.thetwees.com

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