Branded as the new D-list supergroup Twinsy is the brainchild of (Yacht Club Djs), Michael Belsar (Hunting Ground) and Ajax (Under Your Sink/ Bang Gang). Having only just dropped their first EP Music Feeds Senior Reporter Pat Abboud cut loose with Ajax to find out where these dancefloor-loving lads are going to take you in what at first might sound like a best buddy boys club reviving a high school music project…but rest assured, it’s far from amateur.
MF:Twinsy is the creation of Guy Chappell of Yacht Club DJ’s, Michael Belsar of Hunting Ground and yourself – how did your coming together happen ?
A: I’m originally from Sydney and I moved to Melbourne, had no mates and I met the guys touring on a Parklife tour and we kind of hit it off. I have always been into different styles of music, but it was getting harder and harder to sustain that kind of energy on my own. I wanted to do something new and collaborate. And then Guy said he’d been working on some stuff and he sent it to me , and this was at the same time when my record label was still in its infancy. I didn’t know really what to expect from him – he sent me some crazy stuff – it was really raw , some of it was really brilliant and other parts was mental in a good way. I said to him, “maybe we should work on this stuff together and see if we can make something out of it”, so he’d be sending me his stuff from his home in Ballarat and then he’d come over and we’d do some little tweaks here and there. He (guy) is a genius, not only a mad DJ but he is really gifted musically. He can play a billion instruments and sing like a cat so I was blown away and I thought it was something really great that I wanted to be involved in. He had already layed down a good half of the ideas and so I just wanted to come in almost like a producer and polish them up and edit them down and try and pull the hooks etc. And then we were like, ‘yeah this stuff needs a vocal’ and Guy knew a Michael from Hunting Ground because he is also from Ballarat – there is like a bit of a music community up there – its certainly a bit of a hot spot for young bands at the moment. When I heard his voice (Michael) I said, “fuck we gotta get this guy – his vocal is perfect”, so I invited them for dinner and we worked on 3 or 4 tracks and then, yeah we ended up with an EP basically.
MF: Why form a supergroup if you’re all doing so well individually?
A: Well, basically Guy’s partner, the other guy in Yacht Club DJ’s, started up a punk band and so Guy was feeling a bit left out and I knew that feeling because when the guys I used to do Bang Gang with all did the record label thing without me I kinda felt the same. It was like we were both the kind of guys at school that got picked last on the team (laughs), so when Guy and I met we felt like, ‘oh yes this is like a bit of a revenge’ (laughs) and we didn’t think it was going to be as good as the finished product is. And now for us both it’s like a serious priority, like basically we are getting all our film clips done, we are trying to work out exactly how we are going to do the live set-up. As soon as the album drops in probably May, I would imagine that I probably won’t be DJ’ing as much under my AJAX guise cause I just want to focus on Twinsy basically. Like, I’m prepared to pretty much sacrifice AJAX for Twinsy. I don’t know if Guy feels the same but you know when we get drunk (laughs) we do certainly speak about it and he is just as excited as I am. Don’t get me wrong, I like doing AJAX but the whole thing about touring by yourself and just DJ’ing – the lack of creativity in that after doing it so long has kinda worn off. Yeah man, totally, it’s hard to bone up, for sure. It’s really hard to get motivated when you’re always at it alone.
MF: Listening to the EP’s carries a tropical calypso vibe throughout, but it’s hard to nail the sound of Twinsy – how would you best describe it?
A: I think we just want to create more stuff in the tradition of like The Avalanches – you know, kinda more an experimental kinda dance-cross-over-hip-hop-whack thing – I don’t really know how to explain it. Just good danceable catchy sing along songs; um, at the end of the day though, you want to have something that you can play at a festival and that you can jump around like idiots on stage to. I mean look at Hot Chip, the first Hot Chip album was so mellow – we all loved it and were blown away by it, but if they just kept doing that like say Junior Boys and putting out mellow releases they would not really have held people’s attention. Hot Chip have actually stepped up over time and changed. While keeping their essence, they’ve made their stuff more festival orientated and more dancey and catchy and fun – and I think that’s what we’d like to do, we want to make sure that our music gets you up out of your seat and on the dancefloor – it’s that simple.
MF: Have you been dropping the new tracks out and about – what’s been the response from the dancefloor ?
A: Yeah – response has been great. From the outset, we thought ‘you know what we are going to do is to keep it really fucking honest and talk about just really simple concepts in the songs’ (not that we were trying to dumb anything down) but we didn’t want it to be too clever like some art band. Just good fun! And you know the best thing was my brother who lives in Dubbo – he called me up and said this stuff is fucking great – my girlfriend sings to it in the car – my mum loves it and even I’m singing along with it in the car. And that’s the thing with this project – we actually wanted to write fun songs that everyone – all kinds of people – can get excited about.
MF: Ajax – you’ve been 2 times Australian number 1 DJ and 3 times 3rd best in the world…they’re big accolades to uphold….and you’ve been playing and producing for years;…you said earlier it’s hard to stay motivated – how do you keep at it?
A: Well, I think there are a couple of things – I don’t want to say I’m like a Madonna and I constantly kinda reinvent myself, but even way before I was DJ’ing, even when I was at school, I used to hand out mixtapes and just like give them to friends…it was always like new stuff that I would try and hunt down…this is going back years ago. I love hearing new music much as the next guy so I think I’ve always been a selector and I guess my longevity has always been that I’ve always been involved in music full-time – weather it be promoting Gang Bang, which was a big deal, doing AJAX stuff, then winning the awards and then starting the label Sweat it Out and now co-producing Twinsy. I think it’s just that kinda constant reinvention, and also I put in a lot of effort, so when I do my own DJ sets much like Yacht Club does – everything gets remixed before I DJ so it does not sound like a normal or standard DJ set.
MF: What can we expect from the album – when is it set for release?
A: The EP would have dropped by the time this interview gets out actually, and then after that there’s going to be singles released with remixes, just from some of our friends and stuff. I would say that the album is set to release in roughly May.
MF: Who’s on the cards to do remixes?
T: Oh, I can’t as yet. I’m just confirming. But you know Jack Beats were out here recently and I got them really drunk (laughs), I took them out for dinner and played them some stuff and they were like “yeah, lets fucking do it, lets do it”. People like Switch have written to me and said the sound is amazing, but I still haven’t heard so hopefully if we get those guys on board that’d be great – but, as I said, nothing confirmed yet.
MF: And plans for the live set-up?
A: I think what we are going to do is have Michael sing live and there is going to be some live instrumentation, but then there is going to be like a bit of improvisation and stuff, so it’s not going to be just like one song after the other. That’s were the difference will be when you hear Twinsy on the radio, you will hear the actual songs, but when we do it live – it’s actually going to be more like Ajax and Yacht Club mashed together, you know what I mean.