Twist Helix is a three-piece synth-pop group based out of Newcastle upon Tyne (Vocals & Keys: Bea Garcia, Bass: Michael Humble, Drums: James Walker). They are deeply influenced by the music that surrounds them at their homebase but are simultaneously concerned about its future. I asked them some questions about the origin of Twist Helix, their creative process and their upcoming single, “Pulse.”
MFL: What inspired the name Twist Helix for your musical project?
We took the inspiration for the name from the double helix model for DNA (a twist being the same thing as a helix); we are fascinated by concepts of evolution, change and identity.
MFL: Tell me about your upcoming record, Ouseburn. What is this story and why do you wish to tell it through music?
Music is an integral part of the Ouseburn Valley, it is the creative heart of the city of Newcastle, so to tell its story in music was only fitting.
Ouseburn [the album] is as much about a place as it is a person. It is about one individual’s rise and the corresponding decline of an area. The story is a fiction but is rooted in a real threat that the artistic spaces of the Ouseburn Valley will eventually be swept aside to make room for new building developments… The protagonist, [and ourselves as authors] are of course to an extent complicit in this process of gentrification, giving the narrative a bitter-sweetness and irony.
MFL: How and where did the three of you come together to make Twist Helix?
I (Bea) am originally from Alicante in Spain. I came to Britain to find work (as a result of the financial crisis) and eventually met James and we began writing songs together. A demo we recorded was picked up by our local BBC station. Not long after that we found Michael; grew from a recording project into a touring band and have been Twist Helix ever since.
PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Murray
MFL: Are there any particular musicians that inspire your sound?
For us inspiration is different to influence; while our sound is influenced by many internationally known synth-pop groups, what inspires us has always been closer to home. We write from experience and are inspired by our community; the underground, unsigned and undervalued avant-garde that makes our city so unique.
MFL: What is it about the track, “Pulse”, that made you choose this to be the single that was released in advance of the full record?
Pulse was not the obvious choice for a single; no chorus, sparse lyrics, jagged percussion and industrial rock bass on what is ostensibly a ‘pop’ song… And yet it is a song people remember. In live shows it is the song which people have always came to talk to us about. Moreover, being in Ouseburn as I write this, in the depths of this sea of change, I know Pulse to have a significance and a resonance which elevates it above all we have written before.
MFL: How is Ouseburn different than your previous release, Manifesto, in terms of both sound and content?
Ouseburn marks a significant shift in direction for us. The absence of guitar on the new record has given us a greater clarity and focus in terms of sound and composition. And while this album in parts taps into the energy and optimism of Manifesto, we do so knowing we must first build our home in order to tear it down.
MFL: How have the first shows of 2017 gone so far? Any highlights?
This year has gotten off to an incredible start. We started our tour in London at the New Cross Inn on the 04th of January before going on to Middlesbrough, then returning home to a Sold Out concert on the main stage of Newcastle’s iconic Cluny music venue [see pictures]… The Cluny has always held a special place in our hearts and that night with a new sound and lighting rig behind us, the atmosphere was electric.
MFL: Are there plans to make a music video for any of the tracks on the new record?
Yes! We’re happy to announce we’ve already shot the video for “Pulse” on location in the Ouseburn Valley under the direction of Ian and Matt Brown of Flashlight Films. The video is being edited and will be available for streaming in the run up to the single launch on 2nd Aprilat the Tyne Bar (Newcastle).
Thank you to Twist Helix for reaching out to MFL and agreeing to let me pick their musical brains! Follow them on Facebook and look out for their new record, Ouseburn.