AUGUST 2, 2010 | THE GROG SHOP | CLEVELAND, OH
PHOTOS BY JOHN DANNER
Kesley, Danner and I piled into my car and headed 2 hours due north to Cleveland. Just a few months prior, I had interviewed Bear in Heaven in Columbus and they were back in Ohio. This would be the first time reuniting with a band I had previously interviewed -- I was ecstatic. Their tour mates, Twin Sister also happen to be my current musical obsession. This show was their last stop before they returned home to NYC. What luck!
Twin Sister played an extraordinary set; lovely, soft, swaying with just the right dose of weird stirred in. Andrea has a sweet and yet slightly unnerving stage presence. Her breathy voice simultaneously sounded innocent and wise. Her big eyes opened, exposing the whites around her irises wide as the music rose and softened demurely as it fell. Dev masterfully layed out the synth lines, weaving them expertly with Brian's syncopated drumming, Eric's ethereal guitar and Gabe's driving bass.
John, Adam and Joe from Bear in Heaven danced enthusiastically with every song, shouting declarations of undying love for the band. Everyone felt the bittersweetness of the exchange, they didn't want their tour together to end. These two groups regard eachother with such fondess. It was obvious a special bond had formed between them, the kind of bond that only months on the road together can create.
Eric, Andrea and I stepped out onto the streets after the show, the hot muggy night working against our desire to cool off.
Andrea: Just to start, we are the two airheads of the band. I am Airhead Andrea the singer.
Eric: And I am Airhead Eric. I play guitar and I sing.
Andrea: We usually go by… He’s Shmin. And I am Shman.
KP: [Laughs] That’s only a vowel difference!
Andrea: Yeah people have a hard time understanding us when we are like, “SHMIN!”, “SHMAN!” Yeah, so that’s our introduction.
KP: So you’ve been on tour with Bear in Heaven for how many weeks now?
Andrea: Almost 3.
KP: They love you a lot!
Eric: And we love them.
KP: So hows the tour been going?
Andrea: Wonderful. We’ve had a lot of fun we’ve been really lucky our van hasn’t broken down. it’s been a lot of driving but we’ve managed to have a couple of fun days with Bear in Heaven.
Eric: Yeah. It was definitely a good balance. This tour had some very intense drives, we drove from Minneapolis to Salt Lake City for a show.
KP: Oh wow!
Andrea: Yeah it was like 24 hours. We drove through the night.
Eric: That was a wild night.
KP: So did you have a show the next day and you played? Or was it a day off?
Eric: No we kind of arrived at the hotel at 9 in the morning, and then had a show that night.
KP: That’s pretty intense.
Andrea: It was a festival so it was actually pretty early.
Eric: Yeah, It was nice though it worked out as great as it could’ve been.
Andrea: We take shifts sleeping in the van.
KP: Everybody contributes equally to the driving?
Andrea: Well except Brian cause he doesn’t have his license which isn’t his fault, he’s lived in the city so he doesn’t really need a license.
KP: So on this tour with Bear in Heaven I know they have some crazy stories, have you guys created any crazy stories together since you’ve been on tour with each other?
Andrea: I think we’ve had some crazy girl stories.
Eric: Yeah in Toronto we met this girl!
Andrea: Don’t say her name.
KP: Groupie girls?
Andrea: Kind of or just like girls that want to hang out. They’re really sweet girls. There was this one really young Philippine girl, she was hanging out with us and was showing us around Toronto. And there was a bay and she was leaning up against the chain and around like 2 in the morning the chain just broke and she just silently fell into the water.
Eric: It was so scary!
Andrea: And then she popped up and was like “I can’t swim”. So the guys were on their knees trying to pick her up.
KP: Oh my god!
Andrea: She got a little bruised up, but she was a good sport about it and she didn’t know any of us. I would’ve been bright red, I would’ve just let myself drown. Tell the other crazy girl story, last night!
Eric: Oh no…
Andrea: Oh Come on.
Andrea: Why not?
Eric: We’ve had a lot of fun on tour… [laughs]
KP: Yeah, they’re great guys to hang out with.
Andrea: Bear in Heaven? Yeah, super sweet! We’re hoping to have a lot of fun with them tonight
Eric: Yeah we’re thinking of a good prank to pull on them. We have a couple ideas.
KP: You should cover their hotel room up with balloons, they would love that.
Eric: That would be adorable!
KP: Did they tell you about the “popping off” story with High Places?
KP: Apparently High Places and them have a thing for sitting on balloons. They got into this whole thing where its cool to sit on balloons and “pop them off”. So you should fill their hotel room up with balloons.
Eric: That’s awesome!
Andrea: We gotta find some balloons! Well what we were going to do is we were going to slap some really stupid bumper stickers on their van and then we found out that they’re renting the van.
Eric: It’s like their friends van.
Andrea: Dreams destroyed! [laughter]
Eric: We’ll figure something out.
Andrea: So we’re still trying to think, I don’t know.
KP: Balloons would be a good way to go.
Andrea: I don’t know where you can get balloons at this hour though?
KP: Maybe like a CVS? They might have something.
Eric: Yeah, CVS has balloons.
Eric: We’ll investigate.
KP: So you guys just signed to Domino Records, are you allowed to talk about that yet?
Eric: Yeah we are. Its Domino Double Six.
KP: Is that US and UK?
Eric: No its just UK, and both EPs will be released on like a 2 CD package, separate CD’s, and then double vinyl as well in the UK and I think September 9th is the release date.
KP: Awesome, are you going to do a tour over there with that?
Eric: Yeah in late November we’re heading over there. The dates just got announced a week and a half ago. So yeah we’re really really excited; it’s our first time over there. Our keyboard player lived over there for a little while, for like two years when he was younger.
Andrea: But it’s our first!
Eric: But yeah it’s everyone else’s first time.
KP: That’s going to be fun, you’ll love the UK.
Andrea: Yeah, we want to go clubbing!
KP: So you guys know Mark Schoneveld of YVYNYL!
E & A: Yes!
KP: He’s a good friend of mine.
Andrea: He’s pretty cute.
Eric: Handsome guy.
KP: How did you meet him?
Andrea: We met him around like Weathervane.
Eric: Yeah we were doing this thing before we went on tour, a couple of weeks before we went on tour, Weathervane Music. They let us come and they make a little movie about it but we got to record one new song that will be released I think this month?
Eric: Yeah sometime this month, but they put together a nice video of us in the studio. It’s a very cool thing they’re doing and Mark was hanging out.
Andrea: And he’s helping at our, one of our closest friends that probably that would’ve been another member of our band, John K. He’s like one of our good friends we’ve had band practice with him before but it just didn’t work out. He was living in Bingumton, now he lives in Philly. But I have a feeling he would’ve been another member of our band. He kind of played with us before I think Brian moved back.
Eric: Yeah we weren’t really the band we were, he wasn’t playing with us.
Andrea: No we’re just practicing for a show or something like that.
Eric: John is great, he is one of our biggest influences, and we’re really really excited for his stuff to be put out.
Andrea: He has so much!
Eric: Mark is putting together his little compilation but there is so much up John’s sleeve. He has years of albums that are just fantastic. We’re really pumped.
KP: Yeah it’s interesting cause he has all his stuff up for free on Myspace, and when you download it it’s like 20 songs and they are all great.
Andrea: Yeah they’ve been out for a really long time.
Eric: It’s crazy.
KP: So, how did you guys get started?
Eric: Well Andrea and I were playing music together for a long time. I was 14, you were…
KP: How old are you now?
Eric: I’m 20, she’s…
Andrea: 23, bleh…
Eric: I forgot for a second. We had a little duo. We had an EP, wrote songs, played shows together, got kinda bored.
Andrea: We always wanted to have a band and pretty much the other members were in bands, that were around in high school, and they were our favorite members of those bands. We’d always share each others songs and stuff like that, and then finally… when we started playing a show I was the drummer and Eric was singing, and we were just kinda throwing shows together because we were so bored and felt so useless that we started trying to record songs that were so old and just never recorded that we just ended up forming a band.
Eric: And that was the first EP.
Andrea: Just Happened. Yeah and that was the first EP.
Eric: … us forming together
Andrea: Those songs are so old.
KP: So, how did you meet all the other members?
Andrea: All the other members?
Eric: I met Brian. Brian is my friend of like very, very long since I was like 12. And we were in a band together. I’ve been playing music with Brian forever. When he was 16 he joined a band with Gabe. They were both guitar players in this band on Long Island that we would play together with, Andrea and I. Dev was in a separate band as well.
Andrea: Pretty much just playing shows. And I used to stalk you because I thought you were soooo cute when I was younger. So, I found you when you were playing your hardcore shows. Thats how I met Brian and Eric.
Eric: Ahhaaa! [blushes and laughs]
KP: What is your creative process like?
Eric: It varies. I think the majority of the songs begin as minute long instrumental things, where the vocal melody could be the bass line.
Andrea: Or sometimes it starts with the vocal melody and then adding music. It’s really different overtime. We let everyone have a pretty equal share.
Eric: Yeah, everyone comes to the table with very equal things. It can be a bit hard sometimes because everyone of us are very capable of bringing in a full song and say, “Here it is!” But its great. We have no shortage of material. We have a lot to record!
KP: What is it like being the only girl while you are on tour!
Andrea: Ahaaaaaaah! [claps] Tour!!!
Eric: You hate it! You hate it!
Andrea: Oh my god! I have little mental breakdowns.
Eric: Luckily… I don’t think… I don’t think we are very manly though.
Andrea: Uhhhhh, you guys are pretty manly! I really miss my gay friends. I couldn’t do the tour with girls. I feel like we would all go crazy. So it’s pretty good being with boys. But, it’s really hard showing up to shows and I see a bunch of girls who are all clean, and their hair is done and they’re all dressed up. And I like that sort of thing. It’s really hard living out of a duffel bag, getting dressed in the van, doing my make-up in a tiny little make-up mirror. Other than that, they’re my best friends. I love being with them and it’s a lot of fun. I lose it sometimes, but I try to keep it to myself. [laughs] (to Eric) How is it dealing with one little bratty girl?
Eric: … fun. Naah, its fine.
Andrea: They deal with me pretty well. And my little temper tantrums. You know what it is? They aren’t very jockey guys… but they’re very nerdy. So it’s kinda like being surrounded by a bunch of nerds!
Andrea: Always talking about things! And discussing things and planning things. I just wanna go out and have some fun.
KP: How do you pass time in the van?
Andrea: I just sleep.
Eric: Yeah, you sleep very, very well.
Andrea: I either drive, sleep, or pretend to sleep. I do read comics, go on the internet. Eat a whole lot. I hope I don’t gain a lot of weight by the time I get back home. I diet so different when I am on tour. It’s really hard. No exercise.
KP: What are the next steps for you guys? Aside from Domino in the UK, what are the next things for Twin Sister in the US?
Eric: Well, in September we’re basically going to have the month home. Andrea is going to start putting together our first music video. It’s going to be a lot of dancing so she’s gonna be practicing for that.
Andrea: Gotta get in shape!
Eric: As far as making new music, we’re gonna start working on some new material.
Andrea: On an actual album! Which I am so excited for. We have two LPs, ya know? It’d be so much fun. We have so much material to put out an actual album. Now that we don’t have jobs, I feel like it will be a quicker process. We can put all of our time and energy into making an album, and video.
Eric: After September, we go on tour for October and November. December, January, and February… maybe March we’ll have off to record.
KP: When you return after a long tour, is it hard for you to adjust to being back home?
Eric: Not really. I remember last tour when I got home I just immediately cooked a big meal. That’s one thing you really miss is cooking your own food.
Andrea: I really miss my dog… My dog and I are really attached so when I come home, she’s a pug mix, so she kinda has an asthma attack she gets so excited that she starts [makes gasping noises] and she just falls on her side. Its really hard leaving her. I want to bring her on tour if I can have someone watch her during sets. Even if its cooler in the van, but its so hot right now.
We stepped back inside and John joined the band in the green room to start the photoshoot. I stayed at the bar to chat with Joe, the drummer for Bear in Heaven. “I should go see how John is doing with the shoot…” I recalled after some time. As I turned the knob to the green room I could hear riotous laughter. The door opened to reveal Brian suddenly turning towards the camera making a pouty sultry face. Twin Sister KILLED the shoot. The snarled, vogued, flipped their hair… I have never seen a band be so comfortable and creative in front of the lens. I was laughing so hard I started to tear up.