Electronic alt-pop Twist Helix made quite a splash in 2016 with their energetic, minimalist debut album ‘Manifesto’. Returning only twelve months later with their follow, ‘Oseburn’, an album imagining a dystopian future of the Oseburn area, the band sound refreshed, refocused and, well, darker than their pop sounding debut. We caught up with Twist Helix to find out more about the new album, and their show at Evolution Emerging.
Damian: You’ve just come back from a Spanish and UK tour. How was it?
Twist Helix: It was amazing. We were touring our new single ‘Pulse’ and ended up playing 20 dates across the UK and Spain ending up with the single’s launch in Newcastle. It feels nice that we’re getting good feedback and people are complimenting us for ‘Pulse’.
Damian: That sounds great. So it’s a short break and then Evolution Emerging?
Twist Helix: That’s right and it all feels like the best of timing for us. We will be opening the main stage, Cluny One, which elements of ‘Pulse’ are about so Evo feels really right for us. We hope Evo will be a good way to introduce people to our new single, and also give them an idea of what will come next, which is an album based on Oseburn.
Damian: Wow that’s perfect timing for Evolution Emerging. You’ll be playing some of the new tracks?
Twist Helix: Yes, we’ll open our set with a track which itself is a homage to the Evo festival.
Damian: Brilliant. The album sounds interesting. Can you tell us more?
Twist Helix: We’re about two thirds of the way through recording it. The album is based on themes about redevelopment. Our take is that we have these lovely arts venues now, which have made Oseburn an attractive place to live, however it’s had a knock-on effect that some venues can no longer afford to be based here. The irony is not lost on us that we are complicit with this in some way.
Damian: And that’s set to a narrative or a collection of songs?
Twist Helix: A narrative. The album is based on a local artist and how she arrives in Oseburn before returning years later. There’s a personal journey to it as well as a geographical one as well. There will be a map accompanying the album, so you will be able to follow the album by taking a walk from the city centre around the quayside and ending up at the Cluny. We worked out the geography and the story arc before writing some of the new songs, which meant we threw away some really good songs because they didn’t do exactly what we needed them to do.
Damian: The sound of Pulse sounds darker than anything on Manifesto. Was the theme of the new album a contributing factor to the new sound?
Twist Helix: Absolutely. Pulse is probably one of the darkest tracks on the album. Pulse itself is a tale about a distant future where these redevelopments get out of control and eventually end up moving the arts venues out of the area. Part of our music tries to uses drone and subsonic sounds to imitate explosions or buildings falling down.
Damian: Wow. I thought Pulse sounded more like say Depeche Mode, than your earlier work which was closer to Saint Etienne.
Twist Helix: It’s no secret that we’re huge Depeche Mode fans so we’ll take that as a compliment, thank you. We always had those influences but with this album our subject matter lends itself closer to the darker sounds of electronic music. We really liked the post-industrial elements of the UK synth pop sound and we’re trying to amend them to fit the current landscape.
Damian: Brilliant. Good luck with the new album and your Evolution Emerging show.