Twitching Tongues came out of nowhere and blew everyone away with their demo released in 2010. Since then I’ve been a huge fan of their sound, until they put out Disharmony in 2015. That was it for me, I thought “alright they’re done” after I first listened to it. But guess what ? I now love it. This record is weird, it’s a blend of many styles and riffs that don’t always match together but yeah, I love it.
Anyway, how can you go wrong with a name taken from an Only Living Witness’ song?
This interview was conducted in May 2015 and was supposed to feature in S&A Fanzine #2.
Even if you probably need no introduction for anyone who’s been into hardcore for the past few years, can you introduce Twitching Tongues, its members and how everything got started?
Twitching Tongues is: myself – Taylor Young, my brother – Colin Young, the legendary F. Sean Martin, and the best backbones we could ask for, Anthonie Gonzalez & Cayle Sain. Originally the band started in 2009 with Colin and I wanting to do something a little different from our band at the time (Ruckus), and we released a demo in 2010. Things sort of spiraled out from there.
It’s obvious you are heavily influenced by Only Living Witness, Life Of Agony or Section 8 but I’m sure you have many other sources where you draw elements from, either it’sDeath Metal or NYHC. Could you tell us what feeds your ears to come up with that unique sound Twitching Tongues perform for more than 5 years now?
Well you pretty much nailed it right there. Only Living Witness and Type O Negative were the two original influences for the band with the demo, and then on the first LP we added more Exhorder and Carnivore type stuff and just added more metal from there. The thing we jokingly say is that we want to sound like Suffocation and Fleetwood Mac slammed together.
What’s up with the lineup? Not trying to get the latest gossip but I was just surprised to see Michael and Keith left the band when you didn’t have any lineup changes since you started, except hiring Leopoldo for “In Love There Is No Law”.
Keith hasn’t been in the band since 2012. Leo actually played on the Preacher Man 7”, where he did the guitar solo in the Candlemass cover. Kyle and Mike left to take Forced Order to the next level, which they definitely are doing and Leo decided touring couldn’t be his main focus anymore, but still plays in God’s Hate with Colin.
And so, how did you get Sean Martin from Hatebreed to join you? I’m sure you guys have been playing Hatebreed records a lot as many hardcore and metal kids. Isn’t it a bit weird to now be playing with him?
It’s definitely surreal. We have some mutual friends and I saw him joking about starting a band with one of them, so I sent a shot in the dark email to him and he loved the idea. We all became great friends fast and we have a great time hanging out.
It’s undeniable your new album “Disharmony” stands as a turning point in your career, first on a musical level but also by getting signed by one of the biggest Metal labels, Metal Blade. What kind of reaction did you get about it? I’ve seen a lot of people bashing it in reviews here and there. But I’m sure you also got good comments about it, maybe from different people than before?
With any new step we take comes a new flood of people who dislike us. We’re weird and not for everybody, and that’s fine. We honestly got mostly favorable reviews from a lot of new places, and some familiar, but some general-music fan reviewed it on YouTube and it got a lot of views, and a guy who reviewed the record for Decibel Magazine who had a personal vendetta against me and my brother was allowed to review the record and gave it a negative review also. So because those were big places, a lot of people saw those, but we got many many more positive reviews than we did negative.
Since you released it, did you see any evolution among your fan base? Maybe more metal kids and less hardcore kids?
I don’t think there are any less hardcore kids, but we definitely saw an upswing with some metal people. Largely we remained the same, which is totally fine with us. We love what we’ve got and we’ll play the way we do forever.
Did Sean Martin contribute to write “Disharmony”? Did the songs just happen to be sounding like they do or did you guys plan on making your sound evolves into something new? If so, is there any particular reason behind this decision?
Sean joined after the album was recorded. We just wrote songs that we wanted to hear really. It wasn’t a conscious decision to be heavier or whatever, we just wrote what we felt like writing. The next album could be totally different, who knows!
By the way, how do you work on Twitching Tongues songs? How do you make use of the inspiration you receive from music / bands you listen too? The two of you, on your own when writing riff, or altogether in the rehearsal room? Is the creation process similar for all your bands?
Colin will have some ideas or I will have some ideas and we’ll just make songs around them. We’ll use song structures we love from certain bands, or maybe note progressions to make different kinds of riffs. Every song is different really. It’s definitely different for each band too.
About signing with Metal Blade records: First of all can you tell us how did it happen? Did you guys think twice before giving them a green light? And second: I ‘m sure there are benefits about being on a bigger label (better audience etc) but there might also be some bad things in return (records sold at higher prices for instance). In your opinion, what are pros and cons about being on Metal Blade, and on a professional label in general?
Our friend Andy from Every Time I Die really pushed us with them and they were interested so we just went for it. We knew Closed Casket had to be involved so it was a joint effort with vinyl. A big label meant we could make really nice vinyl packaging, and we were able to make oversized Stoughton jackets which I love, and Europe had a 180 gram version. I don’t mind the higher price since we really made a high quality product. The label definitely gave us more of a push, helped us with the music video and promotion of our band in some really great ways, while remaining true to our aesthetic and the way we do things. We honestly couldn’t be happier with the Metal Blade/Closed Casket combination.
Last one about “Disharmony”: was the deal with Metal Blade set before or after they heard the new album? I know some big labels announce they will put out one of their band’s new album even before it’s recorded, if it happened, weren’t they surprised to hear a new kind of Twitching Tongues?
They heard a few demos of Disharmony, Insincerely Yours and The End of Love before we signed and they loved it. We honestly also thought Metal Blade was a great idea just because of how the new songs were sounding.
I’m sure you are aware of a sad recent event in the Metal world: that lame video of Phil Anselmo shouting “White Power” and doing the Nazi Salute at a Dimebag Tribute Gig. Even though it was probably a really bad joke that shouldn’t have been filmed this leads me to ask you what’s your opinion on dissociating a band’s music from its members, and by extension, from their ideas. For instance, Burzum and VargVikernes, One Life Crew or other extreme metal bands such as Disma, Drudkh … To make a long story short, can you enjoy / support a band if you are aware of its members being more than sketchy but their ideas wouldn’t appear in their lyrics?
That’s a tough question. I think each band has a different scenario. The Disma singer claims he was just being edgy to shock people, and in some ways I appreciate that but definitely don’t condone racism. One Life Crew was just super right wing, which technically is just an opinion and they made great songs. I like those two, and I love Pantera and all of Phil’s bands. I do think it was a joke in very poor taste, but he’s also made that joke a few times so I really don’t know how to judge on that. I’m also a white male so I don’t think I’m the person to ask. I could have an opinion all day but in the end I’m not the type of person being oppressed by these things so I can’t say what effect it’s having on other people, and whether that’s ok or not.
On your end, Twitching Tongues lyrics are far from dealing with hardcore / metal clichés and seem to be more introspective and deep. What’s the writing process? Is only Colin behind every word the band puts into music?
He’ll pick a topic and go for it. It’s definitely all him with me kind of being the executive decision on certain things. Typical hardcore stuff can also be great, but it’s never been the way we work. I love old NYHC but it’s all been done, so we take pieces of the shit we love and add to it.
Let’s talk about “World War 5”, is this song dealing with pure fiction or is there another meaning idea behind?
It’s both a spiritual sequel to Carnivore’s “World Wars III & IV” and a view on what the future holds for our world.
After reading “Deliver Us To Evil” lyrics I can guess you guys are not religious. However it feels like there is a strong religious imagery around the band. In your opinion, what’s the place of faith in the Hardcore / Metal scene? After all it’s a strong belief, just like straight edge or other values can be. Are you comfortable with bands preaching or just even talking about it, in a scene born from Punk?
The song is anti-religious and we have many songs on the topic, and even our band’s logo is of that nature. We usually don’t fuck with Christian bands, but mostly just because they’re bad bands with shallow words that can’t be held up.
By the way, your logo is a reversed Patriarchal Cross. Why did you choose another religious related symbol and what’s the meaning behind it for you?
Well for us it’s an upside-down cross, with an extra line to create two T’s for Twitching Tongues. It happens to be that French cross but there’s really no correlation.
You guys play/played in various bands. If I’m right it’s a total of 8 bands in addition to TT (Nails, Skinfather, God’s Hate, Ruckus, Disgrace, Downpresser, Forced Order, Mizery). Plus now Sean who’s active in other bands as well. How do you deal with being in so many active bands? And don’t you think scattering in various projects can affect the quality of each of them?
The current line up of Twitching Tongues doesn’t have many scheduling conflicts. It usually works out. Colin and Anthonie play in God’s Hate, Cayle plays in Mizery, God’s Hate and Downpresser but none are full time, and I have Nails which is another part time thing. Sean does DJ stuff, and he makes sick beats but we’re the only band he plays with live currently. It’s rare that there’s any conflict, and each band has its own set writers so it never hurts the song quality.
Taylor, you run “The Pit” Studio, which also keeps you quite busy I’m sure. Are you guys now living out of your music activities? Otherwise, what are your jobs or occupations?
The bands really don’t make much money, and if they do they usually go back into the band to do other stuff. Yeah I run the studio as my day job. Colin works in Television. Sean tattoos in Connecticut and Anthonie & Cayle do various jobs in LA.
Among all the records that you produced/recorded, which one are you the proudest of and why?
Lately I really love Disharmony and the God’s Hate album. I also just finished recording the Mizery album which I think is really great and it was mixed by Arthur Rizk.
About recording, why did you decide to re-record “Preacher Man” and put it on “In Love There Is No Law”? This usually happens when a band picks up a demo song to put a better recorded version on a proper record, but here the 7” version was just fine, and pretty similar to the LP version. Moreover both records were released pretty close in time. Is that because this song is special to you?
7” singles get lost over time. It would have been forgotten in the following years. It was always going to be on the album but we wanted to get some new music out faster since “Sleep Therapy” was delayed by almost a full year. 75% of “In Love There Is No Law” was written before Sleep Therapy was released.
Every time you come to France you mention Kickback when you are on stage (you even covered them once in Paris), actually most of American bands do too. What’s your favorite KKK record and why? According to you what makes that band special, stand out from the crowd, almost worshipped that much overseas?
They are the best non-American hardcore band of all time, and even in my top 20 hardcore bands ever. They have a certain grit and realness, and they also just had very high quality songs and albums. A truly unique and amazing band. They are legendary in the USA because no one has seen them, but their albums are of a grade that is unmatched by most bands of their age and era.
Have you ever listened to any other French band than Kickback? As you may have heard of, Kickback members are also involved in (Diapsiquir, Arkon Infaustus…)? Are you into it?
L’espirit Du Clan has some cool songs. There was also another band in the mid 2000’s that sounded like Kickback that was pretty cool but I can’t remember their name.
What are your 3 favorite Twitching Tongues songs and why?
That changes depending on the day but right now I’d say “Cannibal”, “Insincerely Yours (Tears & Blood)”, and “Asylum Ave”. They’re my favorite songs to play and to listen to on the record.
What are you best and worst memories as a band?
For me it’s all about the shows. The worst was a show we played in Copenhagen to literally 0 people, and right now the best was our set at United Blood a few weeks ago.
I’m sure you have tons of plans with Twitching Tongues, can you tell me more?
We’re currently on part of Bane’s final tour, after that we head to Japan, and we play the final Rain Fest as well as the resurrected Sound & Fury. After that we’ll have a few more one-offs at the end of the year in the USA, and maybe get over to Russia & Australia in 2017.
Thanks for your time, is there anything you’d like to add? Bands we should check out? Questions you wish I would have asked and didn’t?
Check out God’s Hate, Mizery, Regulate, Lost Souls, Criminal Instinct and King Nine.
Some TWITCHING TONGUES records are available on the store !