“Alberta, what’s up?” The voice on the other end of the phone is George Lewis Jr., also known as Twin Shadow. It’s early Friday morning and he is driving to Philly for his next show. It’s been two weeks since his latest album, Confess, was released and he’s entrenched in a summer of touring — living life on the road.
“I’ve been working on my golfing swing,” says Lewis, randomly adding, “George Carlin thinks golfing is like the worst thing in the world. I love George Carlin but I think I’d disagree. I think I’m starting to get into it.”
Interestingly, Lewis was introduced to golf because his uncle is part owner of a driving range in the Dominican Republic, Lewis’s birthplace.
Golf may seem like a strange pastime for someone wearing a studded leather jacket on the cover of his album, but the world of Twin Shadow is a mosaic of seemingly disparate elements: he has a Soundcloud with two pages of remixes, including Lady Gaga’s Born This Way; he DJs (“I think anyone who’s fighting against DJs not doing enough on stage should probably just shut the fuck up and join the times…The fans just want to be entertained and if you’re not entertaining them, then you’re not doing your job”); models denim for GQ; and cites punk rock as one of his first influences.
“I’m wearing studded jeans right now actually,” says Lewis. “I didn’t even like punk until later in my teens. I was kind of more of a hippie in a way.”
Once punk rock became one of his main interests, it shaped his music in ways that can still be found in his work as Twin Shadow.
“I loved the energy of it,” says Lewis, “[and] I think our live show has some of those elements that I took with me. Those things will never die inside of me.”
According to Lewis, this energy was a key factor in influencing the sound of Confess.
“I wanted to capture that energy that we created as a live band, put that onto the record, and make it a little bit more exciting sounding — make it sound like it’s on a big stage, in a way.
As Lewis tells, the lyrics on the album remain an introspective view of his world.
“I don’t know if I believe that music is therapy,” says Lewis. “It is life. Music and life, they’re the same thing, they’re reflections of each other.
“All I’m writing about is what’s actually happening and what’s true, or my perception of something or someone else’s perception of reality. It’s not me trying to teach any lesson to anyone and it’s me really trying to teach a lesson to myself. I will continue to fall in and out of love and make stupid decisions. There’s nothing I can do about that.”
Despite this, Lewis urges people not to shy away from relationships.
“I think everybody should be in as many relationships as they possibly can in their life,” he says. “Maybe at the same time even.”
When asked if this means he supports polygamy, he replies, “For a five-year period, I think women should be the only ones allowed to practice polygamy. Women should have 10 husbands and their husbands should wear chastity belts for the next five years just as an experiment.
“Then we’ll get into discussions from there.”
This quote offers a glimpse into some of the radical beliefs that swirl around in the mind of this calm, collected man — yet another example of the mosaic that forms the Twin Shadow experience.
In the end, Lewis summarizes the Twin Shadow experience with just five words:
“Nirvana, true enlightenment, majestic, euphoric. That’s about it.”
Catch Twin Shadow at the SAIT Gateway on August 10.
By Jonathan Crane
Photos: Alex John Beck