Q: Tell me about the experience you had that led you to write “Not My City.” What was the feeling? What were you thinking?
TWIN SOLITAIRE: While not completely autobiographical, the idea of “Not My City” came from a recognition that as I was getting older, I was feeling less connected to Seattle, the city where I had lived for over 10 years. I was experiencing the social turnover that naturally happens in life. Around the same time, I realized that the connection I had to the town I grew up in outside of Seattle was also fading due to my own decisions and experiences. It was the alignment and similarity of those two experiences that led me to write “Not My City.”
Q: You did an amazing job with the 90s grunge rock sound. Is that what you were going for or did you just stumble upon it?
TWIN SOLITAIRE: I’m most comfortable playing and writing with the guitar and I was going for a guitar-driven sound for sure. Growing up around Seattle in the 90s, it was hard to not be influenced by the grunge sound and I’m sure that influences me even more than I realize now. I can spend days exploring and capturing what I think is a cool tone or effect and because of that early influence of rock, punk, and grunge I just naturally gravitate to those types of sounds.
Q: Have the people close to you heard the song? If so, what was the reaction. If not, how do you think they’ll react?
TWIN SOLITAIRE: The song has been around for a while actually. Most of the music and all of the lyrics were written while in another band. We played “Not My City” at a few shows—but the band broke up before we could record anything. It always got a pretty good reaction from the audience, so when I decided to record produce a few songs on my own, it was an obvious choice to include on the EP.
Q: What’s the best and worst part about writing music?
TWIN SOLITAIRE: The best part is the moment when a song starts to come together into something that starts to make sense—when the puzzle pieces of the music, lyrics, and arrangement start fitting together. It’s this moment when a song still needs a lot of work, but the fog has cleared and there’s a clarity for where I need to take it. From there the writing and composing start to flow and it’s exciting. But getting to that point takes time and a lot of work. Trial and error. Banging my head against the wall trying to figure out the puzzle of the song. There isn’t a worst part for me, but that’s definitely the hardest part.
Q: You’ve played in a few bands in Seattle. Why did you go solo on the Twin Solitaire project?
TWIN SOLITAIRE: Being in a band takes a lot of commitment, time and trust. Especially when it’s all for fun and everyone has work, family and friends outside of the band. It tended to be hard to make progress and play as often as I would’ve liked. Working alone, I’ve been able to write, record and produce music on my own time at my own pace. Plus, the tools that are available to create music alone in a home studio are really amazing. It’s been a huge learning experience for me and something I’m really enjoying. I will say that the energy and connection of playing in a band is much more fun. Something I miss.
Q: What does Twin Solitaire mean?
TWIN SOLITAIRE: Going from playing in bands and writing music collaboratively with friends to creating alone in my home studio was a bit isolating, honestly. Making music became a solitary experience. I was also going through the creative process on my own, so it felt like I was split between writer/musician and producer/critic. The name came from having to embody those two different versions of myself in an isolated environment.
Q: What is something you want your listeners to know?
TWIN SOLITAIRE: That it’s all for fun and I’m trying not to take things too seriously. For a long time, I didn’t want to share my music until it was perfect. But I realized that was an excuse not to share anything out of fear it wasn’t good enough. There’s a freedom in letting go of that and not caring so much about perfection. So, whatever you’re doing, just put it out there, collaborate, get feedback, don’t hold back. Also, I realize there is more great music out there that is more accessible than ever before—so, if you’re taking the time to listen, thank you. I truly appreciate it. I hope to release more music soon.
Interviewed by Taylor Berry