While Emmaline Twist is technically a new band, each of its four members is in some way a veteran of Kansas City music. Their combined powers are on full display in Emmaline Twist, a sonic amalgam of so many right elements: shoegaze, post-punk and atmospheric dance rock, for starters. While the band began only a year ago, 2016 saw the release of two songs, "Vega" and "Moon Eyes", that will make anyone eager for a full-length. We are thrilled to share an interview with Emmaline Twist's baritone guitarist, Krysztof Nemeth.
Please introduce yourselves. Where do you live and work?
Meredith McGrade - Vocals & Guitar - KCMO
Kristin Thompson Conkright - Bass - KCMO
Jonathan Knecht - Drums - KCMO
Krysztof Nemeth - Baritone Guitar - KCMO
Emmaline Twist was formed in 2016. What brought you all together?
At the end of 2015, each of us found ourselves “between projects”, and having conversations amongst each other individually about what to do next. Krysztof and Meredith had been talking for years about their shared love for “Dark 80’s” bands like The Cure, Joy Division / New Order, etc, and “Shoegaze 90’s” bands like Slowdive, Jesus & Mary Chain, etc. The idea was born to try our hand at writing that kind of music, ourselves, because simply, it’s what we wanted to hear.
Jon was asked to come play drums, and Kristin soon after joined on bass. The vibe was immediately positive between all of us, finding a focus in our vision of what we wanted to become, and gelling perfectly as a unit. All four of us took this sound that heavily recalls the music of the fore mentioned eras and styles, but updates it with a contemporary rock groove that makes it sound very fresh and new.
In terms of songwriting, who brings what to the table? What drives the inspiration of the band?
The songs start out as demos that Krysztof works up, but then grow into the songs after each member of the band brings their voice, style, and taste to the mix. The joy for us is taking an idea and making it “ours”, and imbuing it with each of our styles and experience to make a song distinctly “Twisted”.
The inspiration for our music is driven by what we can do with that previously described sound. We know the palette we are working with, but we don’t want to specifically mimic any band from the past, so we find what we can do with all the influences we know fit into those categories, and make something new out of it.
Talk about your recently released single “Vega” / “Moon Eyes.” When can fans expect a full album?
We are very proud of these songs. “Vega” is our “big radio statement” that announces our sound in a way that’s driving, and danceable. It’s also very moody, but upbeat at the same time. It truly encapsulates everything we want to present to our audience as a band, like a good single should. We just released a video for it, as well, directed by local film-maker and musician Steve Gardels.
“Moon Eyes” is our big, atmospheric, and anthemic set-closer. It shows the other side of the band; the enveloping, droning, and uplifting power of what we do as a musical force.
Both of these songs rely on instrumentation and lyrics that let the listener find what they need in their interpretation, never being about anything specifically. We like to let the listener decide.
What inspires you about music and art in Kansas City?
This town is an awesome music town, both to be a musician and a listener in. It’s very welcoming, and not as competitive or as exclusive as a bigger city can be. There’s a tremendous diversity in style and presentation of the music being played. There's also great opportunity to collaborate, between bands, film makers, and more. There's a true spirit of collaboration and cross-pollenation that helps build a better scene for everyone. It’s inspiring to us to be part of uplifting our community with our contribution.
Krysztof's recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog:
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo
The Rise of the Creative Class, Revisited by Richard Florida
Totally Wired: Post-punk Interviews and Overviews by Simon Reynolds