Fresh off the July 6th release of his sophomore LP Confess and a Brooklyn-to-LA move, George Lewis, Jr., otherwise known as Twin Shadow, speaks slowly, sweetly, and earnestly. Lewis chases a creative life unified in its vision and its intensity—a quest made all the more singular in view of his decision to self-produce Confess and write a novel, The Night of the Silver Sun. BULLETT sat down with Lewis on a grassy hill at FYF Fest and indulged his ardor, his motorcycle obsession (turned first novel plot), and his inspiration from Sade.
What prompted the move to LA?
Riding my motorcycle, pretty much. It’s better to ride it out here than in Brooklyn. I’ve been here since November, because I was working on my record here.
The motorcycle thing—is it a lifelong passion?
I’ve been riding for eight years now, so it’s been a while.
How have you been finding LA?
It’s great. I love it. It’s peaceful. A little boring.
What distinguishes your newest album Confess from Forget? Is it more personal to you since you self-produced it?
No, they’re equally personal. Even with Forget, I pretty much had the whole thing done by the time I started working with Chris Taylor, so they’re both very personal. The only difference that I can really mention is the fact that I’ve learned so much just about producing and about myself in the last two years, and that’s made a huge difference.
Your lyrics are so richly poetic, and your music videos connect to your recent novel. Do you view your literature and your music as linked enterprises?
I view all of them as creative expression. I don’t think about all these things so much. I just do them. I personally consider everything in my life. I try to make it all one thing. I don’t really feel the need to separate things.
What did your parents listen to growing up?
My dad listened to a lot of Jethro Tull and—what else did he like?—a lot of Gypsy Kings. A lot of Spanish music. Roberto Carlos was huge in my house when I was a kid. There was a band called Cuatro Cuarenta, which is Four Fourty. My mom listened to Sade. I was listening to a Sade record yesterday and I was thinking ‘Wow, there’s a lot of stuff I pulled from this’.
“Tyrant Destroyed”—where did that song come from?
It’s funny—that song almost didn’t go on the record, because I felt it was almost a little too personal. Obviously I believe music is strong when it’s personal, but sometimes when it’s too much, it can be a little distracting to a listener, because they can’t get into the experience. And I’m speaking very specifically to a person and mentioning things that aren’t related to everyone’s life, so it is very personal. It was about my long-term ex, and just me sitting there in December of 2009 really bummed out thinking that I had made a big mistake in letting that relationship deteriorate. So I didn’t want to put it on the record, and my manager actually called me. He was in the UK, and he said he was walking around listening to it. He convinced me to put it on the record, saying it was going to be a very important song. And it was—it ended up being the first song on the record. I love that song. It’s one of my favorites. To me, I feel like I’ve never heard a song like that written, so I’m very happy with it.