Welcome to the weird, wonderful and often completely made-up world of new UK vibe meddler Twiddy
He writes skittish ditties and pretends to play them live in made-up places. He plays a number of different instruments. He seems to have come out of nowhere. He’s got an impressive one-man live show set-up on the bubble. He’s from the UK. He’s chop-slappingly funky. He’s called Twiddy, and his music might just make you feel all warm inside.
Located in a balmy spot slap-bang in the centre of the modern beat wilderness, Twiddy’s tightly woven, cleverly layered funk blasts are blink-and-miss experiences. Sometimes they flash with jazzy bravado - see, for instance, Daydream. Sometimes they’re slinky and just a little bit sultry, as is the case with You.
And sometimes they’re even shorter shanties, performed as if they’re on location. Live From The Bowling Alley, The Food Court, The Open Mic Night... over before you know it but loaded with atmosphere and a wry humour, Twiddy's Live From... creations are a genuinely unique and refreshing addition to the ever-sprawling world of uncategorisable, instrumental beat-based music. Or vibes, for short.
He landed out of the blue on Majestic Casual earlier this year. He’s just released his most substantial EP to date, Trolleyboy. He’s called Twiddy, and this is his first ever interview...
I get the vibe from your music that you play a lot of instruments?
"Yeah, I play one or two. I’ve been playing guitar since I was nine and can play the bass pretty well as a result. I also play the drums and I’m trying to teach myself piano because that’s really helpful for production anyway. But, funny story: the Live From... tracks aren’t actually played live at all."
But you do capture the ambience of these places - the bowling alley in particular.
"Thanks! This is just my opinion but to give a track some real character it helps to give it a situation or place to exist in. With Live From The Bowling Alley I thought about going to these places, trying to remember what you’d hear and what happens there, then recreate it."
Cool concept. You could go anywhere with this!
"My friends have suggested a Live From The Pub one with the background recording of us in the pub. It could be interesting."
I like the mundaneness of the locations...
"It could be anywhere. I like keeping things generic and not too specific."
And also open to future endorsements. Live From Sainsburys!
"I actually work in Tesco on the weekends! I think they’d expect me to ask them first, but they might be up for it..."
So what inspired all this?
"The first track was Live From The Food Court. There’s a food court in the shopping centre by my uni, so it’s inspired by that. I made the drop part and thought that was quite cool, so I started to work on the intro and I was playing with some convolution reverbs in Ableton. I thought, ‘Wow, this sounds like it’s inside the food court’. It was a joke at first but people seemed to like it."
There’s more than jokes going on here. Daydream is a different type of groove altogether, there’s a jazz fusion kinda feel...
"With the recent stuff I’ve been doing, I’ve been using a lot of brass samples and horns. I’ve always loved those old jazz and soul records where the horns really pop, and I wanted to try and capture that feeling in the tracks."
They feel like more fully composed tracks while the Live From... ones feel like skits that could go on for much longer
"Yeah, I never take things too seriously in life. I think my attitude comes through best in those moments."
Were you brought up in a musical family?
"The only person in my family who plays music is my dad’s brother, my uncle. He was the first person I saw play guitar and I was like, ‘Right, I want to play guitar’, but no one else plays instruments at all.
"My dad used to listen to a lot of old school heavy metal, Metallica and Pantera, which was the first stuff I learned when I first started to play guitar. My mum listens to more mainstream pop and so does my sister. I’m not sure about my brother, I’ve no idea what he listens to."
What are you listening to right now? I’m sure I heard some country on your Twiddy’s Beats & Gems playlist on Spotify...
"That’s probably Bros Landreth. They’ve got two guitarists who are just incredible, and the vocal harmonies they do are so good. It’s like bluegrass blues, I guess. I love it. I like to listen to a lot of different things, really. The more the better - it helps when writing about music."
What can we look forward to?
"I’ve got something coming out next month which I’m actually singing on, which has been a new experience. I’m also working on another track which is probably going to be another Live From... piece."
Where will it be live from?
"I’m not sure. I’ll make the music and think of somewhere, and then try and work it around that location."
What else does the world need to know about you right now?
"I want to start playing live shows and going to places, meeting people and having fun!"
Have you played live anywhere so far?
"In other bands when I was younger, but not for this Twiddy project. But I’m really hoping to do some in the next few months."
How will it work?
"My guitar, my laptop running Ableton, a tiny APC40 MK2 that controls the audio clips, a Novation Launchpad which I can trigger from my hand, and keys to play live synths on."
That’s a lot of kit for one person!
"I’ve tried to keep it simple but also fairly challenging. It’s more fun that way. If it’s hard and you can do it without mistakes, you feel it’s more of an accomplishment. I’m sure I’ll mess it up a few times but we’ll have some fun along the way."
So the Live From series just got real?
"Hopefully. That’s the plan!"
Words: Dave Jenkins
The Trolleyboy EP is out now on Majestic Casual. Hear/buy it here.