Nexus Meets… Twist Helix
If you are a fan of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Klaxons, then you will love UK-based trio Twist Helix. Embodying the sound of Depeche Mode and bringing it to the 21st Century, the English trio is building a reputation for energetic and intriguing music. We speak with Twist Helix about their new single ‘Vultures’, future plans and much more!
What is the backstory to your new single ‘Vultures’?
Well, lyrically, it’s a reflection on some of the horror stories we’ve heard over the years from friends. For some reason, there are people out there who prey on creatives, either sexual abuse of bands and their members or financially taking advantage of bands who aren’t business-savvy. When we wrote the song it stemmed from Bazz mucking around pretending to be Jesse F. Keeler during practice and it just took off from there into this dark dance tune about grifters.
Twist Helix has toured extensively but which is your favourite gig to date?
The single launch for ‘Louder’ in a sold-out Cumberland Arms in Newcastle was the last gig we did and, to be honest, was such a rush I’d have to put it as my favourite so far. Honourable mentions to the Ouseburn album launch in 2018 at The Cluny, and Stereo in Alicante last year when a load of guys travelled through from Benidorm on a whim to see us and created an absolute party in Bea’s hometown.
Your latest album was released via the Madrid-based record label Paul Back Music. What are the benefits and drawbacks of working with a record label?
This is a tough one to answer because we know we’re lucky to be working with PBM. They give us a lot of support and allow us to take our music in whichever direction we want to. Sure, they’ll give us feedback, but they never push us to do anything we’re not comfortable with. They’ve also really helped with the PR side of things, like when they introduced us to Julio Ruiz on Radio3 (he’s like Spain’s Steve Lamacq) who’s become a great friend and supporter of ours.
On the flip side, we’ve known bands who have no communication from their labels, who’ve been forced to split because they can never hope to pay back the money the label is demanding from them for their recordings, who’ve been given deals where they surrender any rights to their music, who’ve cried when getting their mixes back because the people who signed them have told them they should sound different… that’s part of the message of ‘Vultures’ really. As an artist, you have to be very careful with who you put unconditional trust in as not everyone has your best interest at heart.
If you could give advice to new musicians, what would that be?
If your band is based in Newcastle, try not to move to Nottingham. It makes practices a real ball-ache.
If you could change one thing about ‘Vultures’ what would that be?
Nothing. If we weren’t 100% happy with it we wouldn’t be putting it out as a single!
Which is your favourite lyric in ‘Vultures’?
I think lyrically this is one of our most straightforward songs. Usually, James throws his English degree around, but we thought it best to keep it quite simple here to go with the dance vibe. It’s difficult to pick a favourite, but I guess I’d go with “We’ll pick apart what we can if you fail/Turn you round into something new”. It’s right at the end of the song and it’s basically a reference to the camaraderie within scenes that leads to bands being formed out of the ashes of other bands.
What do you hope people take from ‘Vultures’?
I mean, if they take a lesson from the lyrics that’d be great, but really, we just want people to put it on and have a dance.
Describe Twist Helix in two sentences.
Recorded: dramatic Europop with post-punk leanings and a Georgie lilt.
Live: a little Spaniard with a voice twice her size pounding a keyboard backed by two Teessiders hyped up on E numbers and disco lights.
Where do you hope to be this time next year?
Preferably back on tour without enforced social distancing, but is that too much of a moonshot?
If you could tour with any artist (living or dead), who would it be and why?
I reckon it’d be fun to see Bea play with that massive synth Rick Wakeman has. Well, for me, maybe not the audience…