Wednesday 15 February 2012

K&A with Eugene Twist

OK folks!  Time now to say 'hello' to a guy from Glasgow who just might have thee best name in Scottish music at the moment... Eugene Twist.  He's recorded his debut album The Boy Who Had Everything with the good people at Elba Studios, and to be fair, the title is pretty accurate.  For Mr. Twist is not your typical singer/songwriter.  Where most are at home with an acoustic guitar, Eugene has written, recorded and produced the album with a trusty band of brass, strings, percussion... you name it!  The end product is as ambitious and as impressive as all that sounds.  So, without much further ado, here's what he had to say about the album, his plans for the year ahead, and the answer to the question on everyone's lips.  Just what do you get for the boy who has everything...

Kowalskiy:  Who is Eugene Twist?
Eugene:  A 25 year old from Glasgow with one antenna submerged in the leagues of musical history and the other balancing high on the wire of musical relevancy. Still somehow moving forwards with just the odd electric shock.

Kowalskiy:  How would you describe your 'sound'?
Eugene:  For a long time I've felt like my singing voice is my own. In terms of a sound I've always been more of an explorer/magpie than a fashionista in the hope of gravitating towards something unique. My focus has been somewhat song over style but I feel like my music is my own. People say there are elements of Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan in there right through to Radiohead, which I can accept - even if you don't listen to these artists you can't help tread on their territories sometimes. I just try to write as organically as possible and pay attention somewhat selectively in the hope that I'm doing my own thing. I feel like songwriting is infinite and its limitations are merely a red rag for me. There are always new things to say.

Kowalskiy:  Your debut album The Boy Who Had Everything is out now... here! So yeah, what do you get for the boy who has everything?
Eugene:  Anything he can get his greedy hands on.

Kowalskiy:  What can you tell us about the album?
Eugene:  Eight tracks of the most ambitious music I could pull off. Recorded meticulously in a small studio with a very patient and attentive engineer. My friend Nick and I performed the majority of it and had some other folk come in to play. I've always recorded my own music but never with a view to releasing it properly, this time as the producer it was a massive learning curve and I found myself growing up a lot as an arranger and even as a writer in the process. Consequently accommodating for an ever-expanding vision from June - October last year.  Now very delighted and proud of the end product.

Kowalskiy:  Given you had a trusty band of friends play on the album, how will the album translate to the live stage?
Eugene:  For the moment the focus is on delivering the songs and vocal in a way that is suited to touring/supports etc. - a practical set up consisting mostly of myself and Nick. I feel it's also the most engaging at this stage and still packs a punch. Ultimately it's the platform to build a strong band around.

Kowalskiy:  What'd be your ideal gig?  Who'd be a Tough Act To Follow?
Eugene:  I love the Hammersmith Apollo in London, it's grand yet has an intimacy about it. 1960's - Mose Allison as my cocktail waiter and Leonard Cohen as my cigar caddy, then they duet... leaving a long interval before I go on.

Kowalskiy:  It's probably still early enough to get away with this one... which bands would you like to see do well in 2012?
Eugene:  Some friends of mine from Glasgow, Andrea Marini and also David Robert Bova are very good.

Kowalskiy:  What else can we expect from you this year?
Eugene:  Hard work - gigs, many new songs, videos, maybe some collaborations.

Kowalskiy:  Last one... which actress would you like on a mattress?
Eugene:  Assuming it's acting by profession - there is something about a young Meryl Streep I find very beautiful.

Presumably, she'd be quite difficult to wake up cos... that lady's not for turning!  Getting back to the album (probably for the best), you can buy it in digital form over here from Eugene's Bandcamp.  And, if you're in Glasgow this weekend and fancy seeing how much of a punch his live show packs, then he'll be at The Captain's Rest on Sunday 19th February.  Cheers Eugene!

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