TAP Exclusive Interview: Twin Sister

By Ace Ubas

Long Island’s Twin Sister has been generating a ton of buzz since their Color Your Life EP was released last year. Comprised of vocalist Andrea Estella, keyboardist Dev Gupta, bassist Gabe D’Amico, guitarist/vocalist Eric Cardona, and drummer Brian Ujueta, the quintet look to keep the momentum going with their debut album In Heaven (released on September 27 via Domino Records).

At FYF Fest, they were one of the first acts to start off the festival. After their set, I had a brief chat Dev Gupta:

With your debut album In Heaven coming out, how did you approach it differently from your two previous EP’s?

We got to spend most of our days together playing and writing. Before when we made these two EP’s, we lived far away from each other and had jobs, school, and things so we could only get together occasionally to write. For this record, we rented a house and lived there together; all of us were there. You could wake up everyday and make music.

The band recorded in the Hamptons right?

Most of it was recorded at the studio in Philly. We wrote a lot of it in the Hamptons and we did some overdubs in the Hamptons.

Did the Hamptons provide any creative inspiration?

It was kind of lonely, really. In the off-season, nobody is out there. Basically what happens in the summer, all the rich New Yorkers come out to the Hamptons then they all leave for the winter. The rent drops, there’s nothing out there, half the things there are closed, and it was just a little eerie.

Would you go back there to record?

I don’t know. It was kind of weird. I just want to not be in Long Island all the time.

You guys have some pretty interesting artwork.

That’s mostly Andrea (vocalist). You should talk to her about it. In many ways, she’s the visual part of the band.

Did she design the album cover?

For the new artwork, our friend Jonny Negron did. He and Andrea have been friends for a really long time. Andrea had a couple of ideas and Jonny basically brought them to life. He’s an amazing visual artist.

Does her artwork influence your music?

Yeah. Some of the songs we have are derived from stories that Andrea’s written; they’re almost in comic book format. Kimmi in a Rice Field on our new record is based on something that came from Andrea’s mind and so does Lady Daydream.

What do you bring with you to keep you sane on tour?

This tour, I’ve been listening to podcasts like Radiolab. Andrea has her sketchpad with her. We have a bunch of cassettes in the van. It’s hard to stay sane.

Twin Sister has remixed Blackbird Blackbird, How to Dress Well, and the Morning Benders. Is there an artist you would like to remix that you haven’t had a chance to?

Yeah, but it’s hard because the ones you really want to remix are really good so their songs don’t need to be touched or destroyed. I would love to do remixes of world music like folk artists from around the world. I think that would be really fun. I think taking something from Korean folk music or Indian folk music and remixing that would be kind of fun. But specific artists, I don’t know.

I read that worldly music plays an influence on your music.

A lot of the stuff that we listen to is definitely non-English speaking. Andrea’s been into Japanese music for years, all of us really like J-Pop, and we all love Yellow Magic Orchestra. I’m from India, so I grew up with a background of Indian pop music and film soundtracks.

It’s so nice to hear that change-of-environment affect how the sound goes. It’s really refreshing. Also the chords and melodies they use are a totally different sensibility. It puts you in a different mood and mindset. It’s so nice after hearing the same five chords over and over again.

It’s like Gang Gang Dance, who utilizes worldly music into their sound.

Oh man, yeah! I saw them at the Empty Bottle (in Chicago) for the first time a couple of months ago. It was amazing, totally blew my mind.

Going back to remixes, what artist would you like to see remix one of your songs?

I would like to see people who are involved in the dance music world get involved. It’d be amazing to get a remix from some of the dudes who are doing newer house stuff like Wolf + Lamb, those guys are great. I think a lot of the times we get offers from bands that are like us to remix us, and its like ‘well, you guys are going to do the same thing we would do.’ I would like someone to stretch things out, take things out.

Twin Sister is currently on tour with Explosions in the Sky. Later on in the year, they will open for Wild Beasts and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart before they head over to Europe at the end of the year.

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