T.W.i.N.S break down new EP lyrics, from Boris Johnson to oral gonorrhea
After the success of their single Found a Flat, which premiered on BBC 6 Music and earned them a feature in The Indpendent’s ‘Ones to Watch’, London-based duo T.W.i.N.S return in 2014 with their new self-titled EP.
T.W.i.N.S, which stands for The Words I Never Said, are Laurence and Hugo who originally met while producing soundtracks to gay porn films. The cheeky London lads cover topical subjects in their songs, from the gentrification of East London and the high cost of living in the UK, to the relationship youngsters have with their smartphones and being wasted on a night out, making their lyrics very accessible and easy to identify with for many young Brits. Yet somehow the boys manage to marry these comedic and satirical lyrics with catchy hooks against a backdrop of electronic pop production.
That is the Conservative Government and the aforementioned Boris Johnson. I don’t know how he keeps coming into power. I think some people think it’s quite funny to have that kind of character there because he’s a bit of a buffoon. I think he, kind of, makes for good viewing to some morons.
But the reality is he’s fucking things up for people and also the Government in power, at the moment, are doing just the same thing.
So, I would like someone to explain why he keeps coming to power - and thankfully he can’t come into power again. I’m wondering who would step in. I know that Eddie Izzard is looking to go for it. I don’t know if he’ll make it for this one but it will be quite interesting to see if the mayor of London is always going to be someone with some kind of comedic appeal. It’s just a shame that Boris isn’t very funny.
I’m not going to play innocent and pretend that I haven’t been to one of these like, kind of, rustic, artisan bakeries and bought myself a caramel salted brownie or something like that. I’ve been there, I’ve paid £3 for some, like, I don’t know… what are those, like, Portuguese custard tarts called? You know you get them… well, you get them round this area for real but they’ve all come over to East London for double the price.
Anyway, yeah, so I’m just saying that we have… we’ve bought into it ourselves as well. I’m not going to play innocent and say I’m not wholly at fault for what’s going on in that area - ourselves being, kind of, of creative backgrounds. I do feel there is an element - especially in East London - where the, kind of, creatives are, well, also at fault in the gentrification process and the whole coffee shop culture that’s going on there.
I hate to say it but I remember when Tesco first started taking off and I remember having a conversation with someone and they were saying “that’s really bad… so many Tescos.” And I was like, “well, Tesco, you know, they’re doing well. They were selling food at reasonable prices, seemed to have everything I wanted.” So, I could see why it’s blown up.
I think what I’m trying to say in that lyric is that it’s, kind of, got a bit out of control and there’s a bit of a monopoly on the food supply market which big chains, like Tesco, can come in and just take over an area - especially with their little versions as well.
The people that have their own businesses that are offering something just slightly different - rather than the generic Tesco template - are all disappearing, being bought out and replaced by, yeah, another Tesco.
The area where I live there is… I reckon there is about four Tescos around me, all within five minutes walking distance. Is there really a need for such a thing? Obviously there is because they keep doing it.
But, I hate to think that all the streets will become identical, really. A city needs to have its unique areas. It’s what makes London special and it’s what tourists come to this city for as well.
I think people should think about that because I know Boris Johnson loves money and the money that tourism brings. He should think about the fact that if you kill off all the things that make London special and unique, tourists will go, “well, why should I go to London? We could just hang out in Berlin instead or something.” It needs these quirky charms.
So, Republic of Banana was, kind of, a playful term for something quite major that was happening in the City of London at the moment - and is still happening in the City of London at the moment - in which there’s a process of gentrification going on in the City and it’s about people being moved out of town because prices are going up in certain areas.
We kind of flipped the Banana Republic in which it’s like a state control governed by money and capital and turned it into Republic of Banana to talk about our own little island, within the UK, that is London.
Banana… you can also see the banana analogy as like part of the fact that the city of London is ruled by a giant ape by the name of Boris Johnson. We talk about monkeys within that as well and it’s about the king monkey - the King Kong monkey, that is Boris Johnson - ruling over a city in which we are all becoming monkeys in his kingdom.
Have you got anything to add to that?
No, no. That’s sharpo!
I hate to say it but this song is quite terribly East London-centric. I think it’s something that is happening to the rest of the UK slowly, but I think it’s just because we’re both from East London and we’ve seen it change so much.
The area where I live there’s a bit of a Chelsea invasion going on, really, and there are rolls of 4x4s coming in and taking over the joint.
Yeah, those are the people we’re talking about really.
Time of the night… well, we’ve all been there, really, where we’ve got to the point of being completely obliterated by alcohol and even your closest and dearest are not making any more sense, really and you’re all out of synch with each other.
It’s talking about that moment. That moment, there and then, and it’s like do I walk out of this situation or do I just continue?
I started dating this new guy - obviously a long time ago - and he got a sore throat afterwards and he accused me of giving him oral gonorrhoea - and I didn’t even know that oral gonorrhoea existed really at that time. I just thought there was gonorrhoea, I didn’t realise there was oral gonorrhoea. Anyway…
Juicy…yes. So, I said to him “no, that’s not true” and then he forced me to get tested - and it wasn’t true.
But, anyway, throughout this weird circumstance we came up with our ballad - which is Germs.
It’s our slowest and most beautiful song we have, but it is about that moment in time.
You’ve got to face it. I mean, you go to a Mac store or something and you hear people pleading with the Genius Bar saying “you can’t take my laptop away from me for two months… it’s my baby…it’s everything!”
I think people have that relationship with their iPhones as well. Bloody hell! You go to the pub and you’ll get a group of four mates and they’ll all sit there…doing that. No one’s talking to each other and you’re like “what’s this about? Who are we talking to?”
I think we have relationships with these objects and so we took it quite literally and made the story of the iPhone being quite pissed off at being overworked and having to constantly… it’s like being in a relationship, having to work for this relationship - which is a bit one-sided - and iPhone wasn’t getting anything back. So iPhone got a bit pissed off and started going a bit crazy and smashing up things. iPhone has had enough.
It’s about the commercialist world we live in and in how that you are constantly reminded that you need this thing. It’s not even about what you’re wanting or possibly might fancy - It’s like you need it! You’re always being told you need things that you don’t really need.
I have a friend who owns three iPads. He tells me he needs them. It’s quite weird.
I think that song is about that, it’s about the, kind of, brainwashing through the medium of television and the rest of media - be it the Internet or radio - telling us how we should be and what we need to buy.
That bit in the song is part of the paranoia that we’re trying to reflect in that… really, the lyric that really sticks out is the one “perhaps I should go out more.” We spent a long time writing the EP and that was the last song that we completed.
It really felt like, yes, perhaps we should go out more. Just too long. It’s too long.
London, London, London is a nightmare trying to find a flat. I have recently found a flat which made me very pleased.
But it’s not so much, even, the demand. I, kind of, understand why there’s such a demand to live in London - you know, it’s a great city. But it’s the, kind of, the jokers and thieves behind it that are just ripping people of for, like, shitty little boxes of very small space that we’ve really got a problem with.
So, it’s almost like, yeah, I guess we’re searching for a flat but a flat where we’re not being ripped off and put, like, in some shit basement and paying a huge amount of money for.
Most people tend to have flats which they’re paying at least half their wages on, in this city. I think someone needs to cap rents in this city.
You know I’m a sucker for pop choruses and I’m even more of a sucker for a dance routine. So, any sort of way of invoking a listener to move to the track is good by me.
Keep on moving is obviously about we’re moving flats, we’re going to different places, but it’s also about dancing to the track as well.
We both have backgrounds in clubs - clubbing in London anyway - and we know what works well on the dance floor.
Jokers and thieves in the lyric to Found a Flat is referring to the estate agents and landlords that are taking the piss, really, in London with their rents and the accommodation that they’re offering.
But, having said that, during our live shows we like to turn it around a little bit and I like letting people know that we can be jokers at times as well as a band. We’re all about fun in our live shows and I like that we got a little dance routine going on. Which we’re the jokers…thieves…jokers…thieves.
So, yeah, lyrically in the song it’s about those estate agents and landlords but, live, we get a bit more playful with it.