An Interview with Mihali Savoulidis of Twiddle
Conducted by Cait Deane
Photo by August J Photography
After the highly anticipated reveal of PLUMP chapter 1 & 2 I had the fortune of speaking with Twiddle’s Lead singer and guitarist Mihali Savoulidis about the journey behind the album. Twiddle will be performing at the Baltimore Soundstage 5/3, which will be the next opportunity to catch the new material live!
How Does it feel to have finally unveiled the new album? Are you happy with the reactions from PLUMP chapter 1 & 2?
It feels amazing. It was two and a half years of ups and downs. The first disc was definitely a struggle for us, just where we were mentally at the time as a band, but, we worked really hard on the whole thing and we’re glad it’s out, and the response so far has been amazing! We are really excited that everyone is so stoked on the music.
What was the most challenging part of recording, and how did you guys overcome it?
We were struggling a bit with the first album, so it felt like a bit of a heavy time for us. When we finally got that finished and put out, our feeling was that we really did not want to go about it the same way for the second disc. So for the second disc we really focused and set goals for ourselves. We said we really didn’t want to rush anything. We really wanted to make sure everybody felt great about it before it went out. We wanted the quality to be top notch. We had a lot of other songs recorded, some songs we had been playing live for awhile, and they were all recorded and intended for disc two, but we decided to completely start fresh. It had been so long since we all got together and sat down, and we got to my house and started writing, and it was the first time me and Ryan had got together in a year- me Zdenek and Ryan got together, we had never done that, Brook got together with us, and it was a really nice collaborative effort. All the songs were brand new. We had never recorded them, and we just got right into the studio. We never played them live. We recorded a few versions of each- they were so fresh and they were constantly developing in the studio. We told ourselves that we were not going to rush it and that we were going to do it right.
One of the best things, in my opinion, about Chapter 2 is how much diversity the album has. How did you decide to balance individual style and taste to create the album’s sound?
Well, with us, a lot of those songs were written and figured out together. It happens in the recording process, if something didn’t feel like it was jiving we would change it. As far as the songs that were only written by one person, we let the primary songwriter make the calls. If they really liked a part it would stay, if they didn’t really like a part it would go. We gave them complete control over their song. The songs we worked on together were really fun. It was fun to toss around ideas and compromise to figure out what is best for the song. I think there is a lot of that on the album. There is a lot of discussion, I think almost every time the best decision is made for the song, but it also allows the songwriter to get their vision out. For example Ryan’s piano tracks- we were finishing up one of the sessions, and he went and recorded something real quick, and he just rolled in there, and did it in one take. Maybe he had it written, but for the most part, it really just seemed like it was pure emotion coming out. When we decided it should go on the album he had also had the Purple Forest piece already written, and I thought it would be really cool to split the album up into three instrumental tracks. And that was just spur of the moment- if he hadn’t asked and wanted to do that than those songs would have never been on the album.
Chapter 2 has many references to your earlier work, as well as new musical influences. Where did you guys pull inspiration from?
It was a specific goal we had, with the album, to get back to the roots while keeping the music fresh and relevant.
I think there is always room for growth in a band, to try out different things, and see what works. When we started focusing on songwriting that was when we noticed a huge growth in our fans, and our exposure, to have something that was relatable for different groups of people. There is no reason you can’t do both. Going back to the storytime lyrics for me, was so much fun, but I think Twiddle will always be a really crazy, genre free band. We do what we think sounds good, and what is fun for us, every song is different stylistically from one to the next. Our music will always have a smorgasbord of sounds.
What are you particularly excited about on your tour?
We’re going to be trickling the new songs into the set list, we’re all just having fun and experimenting with what works on stage to put on the best show possible. We’re constantly upgrading gear, and how we want it to sound. I think the sky’s the limit. We are really stoked for all of our favorite East Coast venues.
Anything else you would like fans to know about the new material?
I know we’ve said so many times how much time we’ve put into it but we really tried hard on this one. Everybody in the band put more of an effort into this than anything we’ve done, and I think that’s why we’re really proud of this one.