Exclusive interview with "Little War Twins" by Mike Gibson
Little War Twins already raise a mighty ruckus as a mere two-piece outfit. Husband-and-wife duo James Grey (drums, keys) and Gaetana Brown (singer-guitarist) conjure crashing electronic psyche-rock, symphony-sized anthems led by Brown's soaring warrior-woman vocals and girded by Grey's grandiloquent keyboard arrangements and flourishes of exotic percussion.
But prepare to see the roof raised a little higher when the Twins -- who have made Knoxville a regular stopover through the years -- visit Scruffy City Hall again this Friday, as Grey and Hall have recruited Brookyn, N.Y. bassist Eva Lawitts as the third member of their now-misnomered band.
Brown says she and Grey had been taken with Lawitts since seeing her perform with her erstwhile unit, the Brooklyn-based Sister Helen, a sort of Dillinger Escape Plan-cum-Mars Volta progressive four-piece. When Sister Helen broke up last year, the couple moved quickly, recruiting Lawitts as the newest Twin.
"We felt like we were doing well as a two-piece," Brown explains, "but she just has such a super unique sound. She adds her own colors and soundscapes to the music. It wasn't so much that we wanted to work with a bassist, as we just wanted to work with her."
"She isn't playing just bass lines," Grey adds. "She sees the instrument in a lead capacity as well. And she's incredibly versatile. She has a vast background, in piano, jazz, hip hop, and progressive metal."
Lawitts will be there when the Twins enter the studio for their next album, the follow-up to 2015's "Warrior" deluxe EP. The band is currently waging a kickstarter campaign to fund the release, which will be recorded under the auspices of three-time Grammy-winning producer Sylvia Massy. Massy is a multi-talented producer, performer, mixer and engineer, having worked with a vast array of artists across many genres, including Tool, Patti Smith, Prince, Bjork and System of a Down.
"We were on a trip, and James on a whim reached out to her," Brown says. "She has a really great private studio, and we wanted to check it out. Then she listened to our music, and she said she wanted to produce our record herself."
Grey says the band already has plenty of new songs in the works for the forthcoming album, and the Knoxville audience can look forward to hearing some of the latest material at the Friday show. "Our focus now is on creating more organic sounds," Grey says.
"On the 'Warrior' record there was more electronic stuff. There may still be some soundscaping on the new album, but it will start from a more organic place. After all, we have a bass player now.
"It's still going to be Gaetana's songwriting, that kind of mystical psychedelic rock with folk touches that she does, and then whatever the rest of us add from there.
"She had a creative rush and came out with about 40 new songs all at once, and we're excited about all of them. Her songwriting has gone up yet another level. Now it's just a matter of turning them into full-blown Little War Twins material."
Check out their new video for "Mother Pulls" and we will see you at the show!