Get ready to hear something a little different from one of Iowa's longest-running bands. TWINS will be releasing their first record in four years this spring. The new album, called "Dream On," is due out on June 5. Lead vocalist and guitarist Joel Sires, who is also the primary songwriter in the band, took the band in a different musical direction this time around.
Past TWINS albums have been raucous, hard-rocking affairs. This one is quieter and more contemplative, with much more obvious Americana and singer-songwriter influences.
This is the first TWINS record that features Toby Sires on guitar and Ben Rendall on keyboards. Their unique playing styles helped bring about some of the changes in the band's sound. Devin Ferguons (bass) and Luke Sires (drums), both founding members of the band, continue to make up the rhythm section.
TWINS have shared the music video for the album's first single, "Buffalo Snow," which was directed, edited and filmed by Ferguson at Sires' home. Sires spoke to IPR about the album and the music video.
What were your inspirations behind the different sounds on this record?
“To me, these types of songs aren’t different or new so much as I just went back to what I did and was interested in years ago. To me, ‘Square America’ and that ‘70s hard rock sound that we did for a few years is sort of the outlier. Even when we were finishing that record in early 2016, I had already steered my songwriting and listening focus back to more singer-songwriter stuff. It just took me probably 3-4 batches of songs in a similar vein to ‘Buffalo Snow’ to finally write a song in that mold to my satisfaction. The whole record isn’t necessarily laid back songs like this one. I would be wasting the great band I had if I didn’t bring some rockers to the table.”
Toby Sires and Ben Rendall are both relatively new additions to TWINS. When did they join the band? What do they add to TWINS and its sound?
“First and foremost, they brought a fun, fresh attitude and inspiration along with them. Specifically, what Toby brought to me and the band was a whole new style of lead guitar playing that we’d never really had the luxury of having on our songs. As time went on and I got a feel for his playing, it helped me realize I could try some of these softer, more subtle ideas, and have a nice melodic player to utilize. He’s very subtle and tasteful beyond his years.”
“Ben Rendall came to us via a Tom Petty tribute band we were putting together, and he and I just clicked musically and personally. Having his piano and his ear added instant sophistication to the new material I was bringing. Like Toby, Ben is super comfortable supporting the song and never overplaying. Considering he’s such a fine songwriter in his own right, I rely on his ear a lot for arrangement ideas and songwriting choices.”
What led you to choose “Buffalo Snow” as the first single? What is the concept behind the music video?
“‘Buffalo Snow’ is the song that I’m just a tad bit more excited about and proud of. I wanted to lead with one of the lyrically-driven songs out of the gate, because that’s what I’ve been enjoying as a music fan myself. I’m very proud of the words I wrote for that song, and the band’s performance is very dynamic and inspired to my ears. I love it a lot.”
“The concept for the video is pretty true to the old saying ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’ I knew we needed to have a video, and I wasn’t comfortable pretending to sing into the camera. So Devin Ferguson, our bass player and video producer, basically grabbed a camera and shot whatever looked interesting around my house and property. My wife has a neat, quirky style, so we figured we would get at least half a video’s worth of stuff just filming her knick knacks and home projects. It turned out that was all we needed, and I think it turned out as a very charming and honest depiction of our home and lives.”
The video has a lot of rustic, “homey” imagery, and a lot of shout outs to bands who were big influences on TWINS. Was this always the idea? Does that tie into the band’s “new sound,” or is there something else you’re trying to communicate?
“We didn’t change anything around the house for the video, so whatever references to bands we love are just because they’re bands we love. I have that stuff around the house to keep me inspired. I know we wanted something that was sort of a peek into my life, since the song is basically a love letter to my wife and the life she’s created for us. Since we’re so far out in the country, I don’t often get to show off her quirky and unique style, so we thought this would be as good a chance as any to do so. It was also very practical and cost-free, because Devin did all the shooting and editing himself. We set out to give a charming slice of life, and I think we accomplished that.”
What are your plans once the record is out?
“We had a nice year planned out to go out and support this record, which we all consider the best stuff we’ve ever done, but as you know the world had other plans. Right now, we are going ahead with a release date of June 5, and we’ll still be shipping out vinyl. But as far as when we’ll be able to get back on the road, anyone’s guess is as good as mine. But I think if you take a chance on this record as a listener in this current climate, you’ll find things to like. It’s certainly more of a ‘sit down and listen in any mood’ type of record than any one we’ve made in the past. We’re all very excited to share it.”