Growing success as band brings with it increased access to the type of opportunities you don’t get when you’re just starting out. Home-brewed projects suddenly find themselves in professional studios with any number of mixers and producers sitting on the other side of the glass. As is often the case in life, however, gaining one thing means the loss of another. After recording two albums the “professional” way, Omaha’s Twinsmith were feeling the loss of the intimate songwriting process they had when they were starting out in their parents’ basement.
Thus, for their forthcoming third full-length, Stay Cool, the trio brought things back to the basics. With just some old synths, ’80s drum machines, and a solitary producer in Graham Ulicny (Reptar, The Faint), Twinsmith set to work writing and recording a restrained, intimate collection of synthpop.
The first track to come out of those sessions, “You & I”, is being shared today. It’s full of floating bubbles of synth that hover above looping sparks of drums, a bright combination that never lets the tension burst. “’You & I’ was the first song we wrote for Stay Cool, which really lead the path for the rest of the album,” the band’s Jordan Smith explains to Consequence of Sound. “We wanted to keep the chords very limited but have a rhythmic drum loop to help carry and drive the song along as the focal point.”
Take a listen below.
Pre-orders for Stay Cool, out July 14th via Saddle Creek, are going on here, and you can find Twinsmith’s live schedule here. Below, read the band’s Matt Regner’s detailing of how “You & I” came together in the band’s home studio.
“The song started out as a simple two chord sketch with the intention of adding parts throughout the process. After scratching a few different bad ideas, we decided to just stick with the two chords and instead focus on the rhythmic element. Having been way into West African pop grooves while writing the album, we found a cool filtered djembe/bongo loop that fit the chorus and completely brought the song to life. After that, it was just a matter of adding different rhythmic layers; arpeggiated synths, syncopated guitar lines, and the like. The guitar in the chorus might be my favorite example. Totally inspired by the Orange Juice song ‘Rip It Up,’ we wanted the guitar to sound more like a percussion instrument than simply strumming along. Switching the focus from melody to rhythm early on in the process really gave this song a cool identity in the end. It’s all about the groove with this one.”