Not many artists can claim to be active for over two decades even fewer can claim to be as consistent as the Demented Duo from Detroit, Twiztid. Last time we spoke with Jamie Madrox, one half of the pair, it was on the heels of their “Welcome to the Freekshow” live experience just one year ago. With the past year they’ve dropped multiple records and put on the fourth iteration of their own pop culture convention, Astronomicon.
While some may continue to have their reservations about the band, nothing should shut them up faster than their most recent release, “Unlikely Prescription.” It may be unlike anything they’ve released before, but the energy and production value alone is worth checking this record out. Amongst other long time fans this may be a controversial statement, but it may be my favorite Twiztid release in a long time. They continue to do things in their own way and that’s all that should be asked: making music they love in the best way possible. Once again, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with Jamie about the release of this unique record, tour plans, label mates, and much more. This is an epic conversation that you do not want to miss.
It’s been about a year since we last spoke. Since then you guys have dropped Revelashen last November, had Astronomicon 4, most recently released a new rock oriented record titled Unlikely Prescription, and are in the midst of a headlining tour before hitting the road with Static-X and Fear Factory. I have to start off the same way I did last time. How are you doing?
Doing good dude! Busy! Trying to stay busy, and excited about all that awesome shit you just said. We just got so much awesome stuff going on. It’s been crazy and I love that. We just stay focused while we got shit going on, and make music.
It has to be really different compared to this time last year where we weren’t really sure when we were going to have live music at all again.
Absolutely, absolutely. And there’s still that hesitancy in some senses, ya know? From both sides of the spectrum, you know what I mean? It’s the slow attempt to try to get back to normalcy. I mean, that is the mission. It’s just crazy to have so much stuff going on in the midst of that. Which is a good thing. But, trying to also acclimate to what the hell is going on. Yeah man…it’s great, what a time to be alive?!
Exactly, and it feels like things can change in a moment’s notice.
Absolutely. That’s what we learned the first time around: don’t take anything for granted, you know? Take advantage of all of those opportunities because who knows if they will ever be there again. Think about it. Everyone touring was just thinking, “what the hell are we gonna do?” Now slowly it’s getting back to normal but even at times it feels and looks strange. But we’ll get there. We’ll get there! Baby steps!
Definitely. So, last time we spoke we focused more on the beginnings of Twiztid as it was right around the time of the Freekshow anniversary. This time, let’s kind of focus on the now. You guys are constantly reinventing yourselves, so let’s start with last November and the release of Revelashen. It’s a completely different record than the one you just recently released. Did you two go into that one knowing you wanted to drop a certain type of record before you switched it up? What was the process on that?
We always try to stay a record ahead of what everybody is listening to. At times it’s like getting things out of your system. We knew we had a record, at least the skeletal idea of it. We just kept adding to it and before you know it we were like, “this is amazing!” It’s so unlike this [Unlikely Prescription]. That was what was cool too because it’s like making things erratic. Kind of like when you exercise. You mix it up, it’s muscle confusion. It’s fun to do shit erratically so that you keep your mind sharp in what you do. It challenges us, and there’s something for everybody.
You guys keep it changing up, and fast forward to now we’re just a few weeks past the release of Unlikely Prescription. It’s blowing up and you guys are doing huge things. Honestly, you’ve always mixed it up but this album is definitely unlike anything you’ve released before. Can you tell me about the mindset you guys had while hitting the studio with this record specifically?
Kind of…uh…I don’t want to speak for both of us, but kind of a show and prove. There’s a confidence about something. At the same time we’re trying to learn things, and be able to make and craft the music that we want to do. You know what I mean? It’s always been about the process. It’s always been about the come up. It’s always been about trying to evolve what we do and to have that as a skill set: to be able to do rock music, or any type of music for that fact. We don’t take it lightly, but we’re not super serious about it at the same time. Like we want to have fun but give it the proper respect. We don’t want people to think we’re just trying to do something. We are absolutely trying to DO SOMETHING. We’re trying to be straight forward and have fun while we’re doing it. That’s the most important thing to me: to be able to have fun at this level in the game and be able to do something that gives me this level of excitement. I get hype off of it. The energy level is there. That to me is what it’s all about. That’s what everyone says. If you get up in the morning and you have to do something and you’re excited to do it then you’ve got the greatest job in the world. I’m not going to go that far and say I have the absolute greatest job in the world but you get what I mean. It’s like I’m actually excited about what we’re doing and it’s fun. Not that the things we did before or the type of ground we covered prior wasn’t awesome as well. But, it’s something about…as your interests change in life. We all change in life. You look back at the Timehops and Memories, you see that change. That’s part of life, man. But, what’s awesome about that is to have the creative freedom to be able to change and actually have the listeners embrace it and be like, “yeah man, more of this! We’re loving this. Where the hell was this at? You’ve been keeping this all the while?” And we’re like yeah….but no? It’s really just like a full circle of awesomeness. People are liking what we’re doing, we’re having fun putting it out, and we’re learning as we go. The level of awesome people that have accepted us and treated us as equals is amazing. The people who have got on tracks with us and were willing to roll the dice with us, I can’t sing their praises enough. Matt B from From Ashes to New, Dani [Filth], Spencer from Ice Nine Kills, even Richard Ward from Fozzy played guitar on Envy. Tom Hane and Johnny Andrews writing songs with us. Really important people. I can’t sing their praises enough. They gave us the time of day. They were like, “we got you, we know who you are. You’re in good hands.” Holy shit! To have that level of trust and for them to just come through on it, it’s amazing. I’ve never had people be so involved. Trust me we’ve done a lot of operations in our life but I’ve never had so many people be so hands on with us. Like, I was getting texts from Matt B like, “here’s my verse, what do you think?” I’m like, “Oh my god dude, this is amazing. I can’t believe I’m texting you.” It’s just cool, man. It’s surreal. It’s fresh. I’m still excited about it so it’s all good shit to me, man. All good shit.
For sure, and it’s insane because your enthusiasm comes directly through on this record. You can tell both of you are having fun, but you specifically are having an absolute blast.
I love it! I’ve been conditioning myself for this moment! Haha!
Speaking on that, when we talked last year we got into your and Paul’s relationship growing up. You guys shared an affinity for the same type of music but when you went into your childhood specifically it seemed like he brought more of that “hip hop head” side and you brought more of those rock/metal vibes. Now every Twiztid record is a collaboration of you two, and now Drayven, but was this record almost like YOUR baby?
You know there has always been…listen, I know where you’re going and I love that. I love the implications. But it’s like ever since we’ve started I’ve always tried to work it in. You hear it heavily in Freekshow. You get a taste of it in “How Does it Feel” on Mostasteless. There were elements of it as we build and reach full circle. Now a lot of people were like, “this is what Black Majik was supposed to be. This is Twiztid rock music. We’ve been waiting on this for forever. You’ve got to be hyped that you finally got to do it.” Yes, absolutely! Big yes! I love it. It’s what I was raised on. It’s what I love and I think it’s cool to be able to write songs in another genre. It feels like another language but we’re able to write it and it has the same effect. Or have a different effect where radio stations are choosing this. That’s different. It’s cool. You want to get lost in the moment. It’s getting heavy man, but in a good way! This is all stuff we’ve wanted for a long time. We’ve tried stuff before and submitted singles where they’ll pass. They’ll tell us the song is good but pass. To have it actually get accepted and added to a lot of markets, it’s a different pep in the step, man. It’s all good things and I’m happy for it because it’s a chance to reach a whole other level of people I believe. With every platform, every step up the stair case it’s another opportunity to be able to have our music exposed to a new audience. That, to me, is awesome.
Exactly, and like you said this isn’t something out of the blue. You’ve always tried to incorporate this style into your records during the come up. Certain songs on Freekshow and Green Book, but I think the first time I heard, “Twiztid is going to drop a rock album” was with Mutant. Even listening to that record, there’s a fair amount of hip hop on it where with Unlikely Prescription it’s definitely you guys taking a different approach to your sound. What was the different approach between Mutant and Unlikely Prescription?
That’s a great question. Mutant I want to say, with all respect to it because it’s one of our releases, had good intentions but it wasn’t executed well. With the new stuff we’re doing it goes in and people see the intentions and they show us how to make it proper. You know what I mean? It’s done in the right light where with Mutant we maybe weren’t tracking the right way to begin with or we weren’t writing to the right chords or maybe the timing of the tone or what have you is off. Maybe it was hooky but it wasn’t in the right place. When we work with some of these producers now we send them songs and they break them down and move stuff around. It blows my mind. It’s like an awesome rubix cube. I can’t figure out how your mind works, what’s happening? So I just go along for the ride and keep smiling man. Because it’s great to know that they find something in what you do and are able to showcase it better. That’s why they’re good at what they do, and to have that level of trust with them and have their time is really and truthfully most important of all because that’s priceless. When I have that and them spitting game or knowledge we’re just soaking it up. We can’t get enough of it, you know?
It sounds like there’s, not that it was lost before, but it sounds like there is excitement in making music again. Not that it was lost before but-
No man, I agree. That’s a fair statement. It’s like…I think I like the process now more than ever before because we weren’t necessarily set in our ways but… like life, you know what you know up to a point. Hindsight will always be 20/20. That said, it’s so much easier now: with technology and how people work. I think the biggest part of what we do is communication and actually being straight forward with people and everyone keeping it real. People being able to say they don’t like a certain part, but like another part, and accepting it rather than coming with that “how dare you” attitude. They’re saying it from the heart, accept it. Criticism is everything. It’s how you sharpen the pencil. It’s a learning process and it’s a really good engagement. We’ve made a lot of good relationships and I love that I see so many more years in what we do from this vantage point than what we did before.
Good, so taking a step away from the record a little bit I want to get into the MNE label as a whole. I just want to first show some love to everyone on the record label. Now, how much involvement do you guys have on others’ projects? I’m sure your relationship with the old school crew is different that that of which with the newer signees. What is it like working with the other artists on the label?
What we like to do is mostly… I want to say all of them but I would hate to say a statement like that because there will be the one person who slipped through the cracks and didn’t get this conversation. But, most of all of our artists came in under the idea of being self-sufficient. Our services are available to you. We do not want to overshadow you or steer you in a different way. You’re here because of what you do. Do you. Do what you do. If you need us then say, “hey Jamie I can’t figure out this chorus. Hey Monoxide, could you be on this song with me. Could you guys think of another person you hear pairing well with me on this track? Can I utilize my big homie to help me get that plug?” That kind of thing. We become accessible to them for that kind of stuff. We also try to be around as a spring board to shoot ideas. Like, “what do you think about this” or “how do you think this will be perceived”? We’re straight forward, and you know that sometimes things happen. A lot of the times it’s important to be able to let people do what they want to do because you can argue with them until you’re blue in the face but them being able to do it their way or the way they see it done ultimately will determine what it does. That’s the thing. You have to try to be in a fair position from it. We try to do that but we’re also not in the business to let everything fail so there has to be a fine line between “do it all your way” and “that’s not working, let’s try it this way” or part ways. Whatever is going to be beneficial to the company because that’s the generator. That’s the power. That’s what’s powering all of these acts.
Agreed! And what’s incredible is seeing the growth of one group in particular, Alla Xul Elu. Their movement is incredibly impressive. Honestly they remind me of a young version of you guys with their push.
They give me vibes of that, but they also have like a House of Krazees or Dark Carnival vibe. To me, they are that. They are this next generation of horrorcore. They’ve kept it alive and they’ve kept it in good shape. It’s been in their possession for awhile and I love that. It’s so cool to have the prophesized kings of the wicked shit on the roster dude! That’s awesome and they do what they do very well!
Exactly, and that’s what they remind me of: not necessarily the sound and style but being a part of MNE but also having their own imprint with LLE, Long Live Evil. It reminds me of Black Majik. Yeah, it was going to be more of a rock thing but it was also going to be your individual imprint while you were still signed to Psychopathic.
Yes, that’s exactly what we wanted to do and I’m glad they’ve been able to do that!
It’s amazing to hear your thoughts on that and I’ve always been curious about your dealings in the side projects by artists. I’m not an expert so I’m curious about a project/event like Camp Xul. Is that something you guys have your hands in? Are you involved at all?
To be as transparent as I can be, we were helpful in facilitating a few things. Very few though. It’s really, truthfully all been on Billy (Obey), Joe (Black), and Lee (Carver) and their crew. They have their own guys, their own crew. That’s what’s cool too, being able to give them the freedom to do those kinds of things. What I like about them, and what I see in them that has always been to the core of Jamie and Paul, is they are go-getters. If they want to do it, they’ll make it happen. They’ll do it. Like I said, if you come to us and you ask us, “can you help us with A, B, or C?” We can help, we WILL help. It’s exactly what we do. So, it was one of those situations where they asked us to help facilitate a couple of things and we were helpful in that regard. But they grabbed the reigns. They’re very hands on. They are very much like, again, Paul and I in wanting to build something of their own. I’ve got nothing but respect for that. Like I said, I’m thankful that they chose us as the place where they felt comfortable in which to build.
I’m very thankful as well. So, bringing it back a little bit. As we mentioned, shows are starting to pick back up. You have been performing at festivals as of late including a headlining show at Too Many Games in Philly. How do you approach a live set when it comes to that type of an audience, an audience that may not be very familiar with your work?
Honestly, that is kind of the mindset of how it was when we went out with Motionless. Also, I’m sure, how it will be when we go out with Static. I look at it like this, and full respect to everybody: your time, your allotted time on the stage is your time to show and prove. We go in, we play hard, we play our songs, and we remember what we do it for. We go out there and we give it everything we got. Then at the end we hope that it’s good enough, it’s loud enough, it’s hard enough that it captivated you to want more. Or your interested. Or your intrigued. That is, essentially, the job when you’re in that position. So, that is the vibe. Do what you do. The same way I was talking about the different artists on the label. That’s you’re here. That’s why they booked you. That’s why you’re headlining. Do what you do and do it well for those people in the crowd. If they don’t know who you are, by the time you’re done they will. That’s the way we try to think. That’s the best way to go about it because those are opportunities. You know what I mean? That’s the kind of shit that gives us longevity and gets us to keep doing stuff like this. We love opportunities like that.
Now what goes into putting together the set list, specifically for your upcoming tour with Static-X? Do you stick to the new stuff or do you still mix it up with some of the old?
We’ve been kicking it back and forth with that. Obviously I’m going to make a speculation and say it will be a little more heavy handed on “Unlikely Prescription” because that’s the product we’re pushing first and foremost at that time. But, I would not rule out some splashback for any OG heads that came out to represent with us and I know guys are out there reading this! Any of those heads that come out there you know we always throw down for the fam. Those that come out and embrace, we want you to know that it’s still us. We still do the do. We appreciate y’all supporting us on the new endeavors man.
Excellent! Alright, let’s talk some goofy shit. Last time we talked, we talked about favorite horror movies and movies we wished got more love. I brought up a movie called “Trick or Treat” with Ozzy and Gene Simmons. I’m heading to Too Many Games and I would like to grant you with this bluray copy of one of my favorite Halloween flicks of all time.
Hahaha that’s great man! Let’s kick it. I truly appreciate this! Thank you for that. Right on bro, much love. That’s so rad!
Bringing it back to the music. We have a running segment on our site called Spooky Sounds of the Season. What are you listening to around this time to get you in that spooky mood?
I say it a lot because it’s real, but literally it’s the “Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.”
Always back to the damn Charlie Brown, man! Hahaha!
Listen! I listen to the entire soundtrack, it is seventeen minutes and one second. I know all the parts! The owl parts! The whole thing. There is something about it dude. It’s just soothing. That has begot into obscure Halloween music from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Maybe the 20s and 30s. Songs about singing about the devil and skeletons in the closet, it’s all very creepy to me. How it has a very Christmas like vibe, like how Christmas songs are sung with this canter, but they’re Halloween songs. Why does nobody know about these songs?! I feel like there’s something weird and witchy about it. I’m attracted to that. Those are my vibes. I get on that on my youtube playlist while driving. My kids are like, “what the hell are you listening to?” I’m like, “it makes me feel like I’m in a movie!” They just sit back and live with it. Ha! I love that!
I feel it! Along with the site I teach 6th grade English and I have a vintage Halloween playlist that is exactly like you’re talking about. I’ll play it and the kids will be like, “Mr. Lyles, why are you listening to Christmas music? It’s September.” It’s got that vibe.
It has that vibe! Right, it’s because we associate that style of singing with Christmas. Absolutely! I totally get that, that’s great! Props for showing them different stuff too. I love that.
It’s kind of coming back too, with artists like Twin Temple and Amigo the Devil. I’m all for it.
Yeah! And what was it? Squirrel Nut Zippers with “Hell” and such. They’re out there man. There’s a lot of really choice material that goes unsung and people need to get it into their lives man. Just brings great vibes. It’s good stuff.
For sure! Now the Peanuts thing is a great segue because last time we talked I brought up the fact that I have a Christmas podcast and you said your favorite Christmas song was “Christmas Time is Here” from A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Yep, yep! Vince Guaraldi man, I don’t know what it is. It’s just like time machine music, it takes you back to where you were. Makes you think how you thought then. It’s just simpler. All the heavy shit just goes away for two to three minutes. I’m just listening like, “yeah, this is great!” I don’t know. The fact that it has that ability to vex me or whatever… I’ll take it. I love it.
Well let’s switch it to movies, do you have a favorite Christmas movie? You can’t say A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Na, na I wouldn’t say that haha. It would be Black Christmas, the one from 2017? It’s just so creepy. The kid who is yellow and-
2006! 2006, man! I’m trying to protect you, you’re going to get a lot of hate saying the latest remake!
Thank you for saying that! Yes, yes! That one! That one’s my favorite. I love everything about it. The soundtrack just pans in and I love how it does the “Strode House” time lapse deal. You get to see the dilapidated house from back in the day. Just the storytelling is so great. That is by far my favorite Christmas movie. I put that on and usually follow with the Art Carney episode of Twilight Zone. Mix that in there. Then I go to the History Channel documentary series and just run them back to back while decorating. It’s a process. Very OCD!
I get it man and I appreciate the original ‘Black Christmas’ for what it did for horror but there’s something about the 2006 one. The Christmas colors, it just makes you feel warm and Christmasy.
It does dude! That is so true. It’s everything: the cinematography, the soundtrack, the way the camera moves. It’s the cast. They’re very believable. They just come off as these snarky kids. I love it dude. It’s definitely in my top 5 Christmas movies of all time.
Alright, back to business. The preorders are currently up for “Songs of Samhain 2: Haunted Record Player”. It’s dropping soon. What can people expect?
I was just talking to Paul about this the other day, a lot of the things we’ve done come out like a one off. If it was comic books it would be like a “one-shot”. We’d been talking more about investing more into these projects and making them…anthology isn’t the proper word, but volumes to them. “Haunted Record Player” was a great example to do, “Songs of Samhain Volume 2”. I just think it’s great. I love the vibe of it. It’s something that people can look forward to every October in theory. I say loosely! I’m not promising shit!
Exclusive! You heard it here first!
Hahaha, yeah right! EXCLUSIVE! Na, but in theory if we have our shit together we could give you a Halloween record every year and it will be a mixing of all of the people we are messing with at that time in our history. So, whoever is on MNE. Whoever we’re doing shows with. Whoever is cool and wants to contribute to it. That’s what Songs of Samhain will always be as we go forward if there is a Volume 3, 4, 5, etc. I think it’s neat. Hopefully, one day, as you go back and play them it’ll be like a little window into that era of time so to speak. But it’s fun!
I think the comic book thing is a great comparison because not only did we get “Songs of Samhain” this past year but we also got the 4/20 EP, “Electric Lettuce” as well.
For sure, for sure. Like, you don’t want to disrespect the body of work you put out. Obviously your focal point of what you’re working on, but you do have to be conscious of the “hot n ready, fast food” type of lifestyle we live in. People constantly wanting what’s next. We’re like, “we just dropped it yesterday.” People are like, “yeah we’ve been banging it 48 hours, I’m over it. What’s next?” Wow. But, to other people they haven’t even heard it yet. So it’s finding that happy medium. What’s nice about Paul and I is that we’re conscious of that and we kind of always have side projects and fun one offs… that may turn into multiple volumes as we go. It’s nice incentives to keep music engaged with you across the time so there’s always something to look forward to. Maybe something that people haven’t heard for awhile and they hopefully look forward to it. Like, there’s people that can’t get enough but there’s also some people where that’s not their cup of tea. Which, fair enough. There are people who are like, “I like Pimples on your Pumpkin” and I can get down with that. There are others who are super into “Nosferatu”. Everybody has their thing but I love the fact that we’re at the root of all of your thing. You know what I mean? So as long as that all remains the same I feel that in that regard we’ve got the clearance to keep doing fun stuff like that that keep people excited. So, “Haunted Record Player”, GET IT!
Funny enough, I was having this conversation with someone the other day who said, “I love Twiztid, but Unlikely Prescription isn’t my thing.” I said “Fair enough, but they also have 20 other records you can listen to then. I’m sure they’ll eventually release another thing that’s your thing.”
Absolutely! That’s the thing. I love that, and I love that you get that. I say that a lot to people. Especially when they try to put a name on something. Like, “you’ll never be better than *fill in the blank*.” It’s like your first kiss, you know what I mean? I get it. You may feel it will never be better than whatever it was the first thing you heard us do. Which is all the more reason to go back and celebrate that record if you still care. If it’s a question of you not playing it means you don’t care then play that particular record. I don’t take offense to the fact that people may not like the new stuff, maybe it’s not for you. Maybe the other stuff wasn’t for them. The idea is that we get to continue to grow and expand in what we do. To be able to do that at this level in the game for us is the true nucleus of what the hell is going on. The fact that we’ve been doing this for so long and have commanded so many type of listeners to so many different types of music and still be able to do it yet again with another genre…I’m just blessed by that, man. I think it’s awesome. I think it’s cool. Again, we’re having fun doing it and it doesn’t mean we’re not doing any of the other music. It just means we’ve added one more…er…cool drop down weapon in our Fortnite hook up or whatever the hell you want to call it! One more thing in the tool kit. There’s nothing wrong with knowing how to do all of the ninja tricks!
That was a very Steve Buscemi, “What’s up fellow kids?” Reference with your Fortnite comment.
Yes, yes! That’s something my kids play all the time and I’m like, “what the hell is this shark?!” They’re like, “Oh that’s an add-on!” I just pause and go, “alright man, whatever.” Hahaha. So in a sense, consider this new move the shark. Consider it an add-on. Consider it something else that we love, and maybe consider it inspiration to do something that you yourself have been second guessing yourself on that you can’t do. Thinking you would never be able to do that, or that’s not for you, how do you know? We did it. Why can’t you do it? We’re no more special than you. So it’s like, whatever you have to find in it, keep it. Enjoy it!
Like you said, that’s always been the core of you and Paul. It’s not, “Oh we’re just gonna do a rock record.” It’s “we’re going to do what the fuck we want to do. You’re either going to like it or you’re not going to like it. But somebody is going to enjoy it, because we enjoy it.” I think that’s how the record comes across.
It is! We’ve even gotten to the point where we don’t want to be presumptuous and just assume that those people will enjoy it. We’ve become more like, how you said, we’re just going to do it. We don’t give a fuck. If you like it, buy it. If you don’t, whatever. If we’re true to ourselves and we’re true to our brand then we feel that we’ll be okay. That’s just an internally feeling that’s never led us astray. It’s always been that way, it will always be that way. I think that’s how we continue. We make music that him and I love and enjoy. Music we want to hear. We hope that it finds an audience who will enjoy it and appreciate it as much as we do.
Definitely. Now there are a fair amount of guests on “Unlikely Prescription” and I know you’ve been working with people you’ve dreamed of working with. Is there anybody that you haven’t worked with yet that you would love to? Is there a list where you’re just checking names off as you go down?
Man, I do, but the one I always throw out is Simon Le Bon (Duran Duran). I love Duran Duran. We talked with their management about the song Nightmarez from “Abominationz”. The idea was to have him on that song, Simon singing with us. We got to the point where we were legitimately in email discussing what the lyrics were about and they were making sure that we weren’t implying someone take their life and such. They were very hands on and I appreciate that. We were very much like no, that’s not what it’s about. We’re talking about once you go to sleep it’s free reign of whatever. They seemed impressed. Then it was like, “we’re currently heading out on tour. This maybe isn’t the one for us, but keep us in mind for other endeavors.” The fact that it got to that point, that it wasn’t a drag and drop to the trash. Again, I can call it respect, I can call it thankfulness, I’m all of those things. I’m just appreciative that people are interested in what we have to say. They give us the time, and we try to be like that as well to people who approach us in the same regard. There are artists that we may not know, but have more followers than we do, come to us and ask to do a song with us. Send the track, for sure! I love that because I hope that people are always openminded with Paul and I. People that we would look to and be like, “I know this isn’t your bag but would you? Could you?” Hopefully they respond with, send the track. Just to see that there are other people out there like us in the universe man. So we try to be like that so when you hear us in different elements just know that that’s the vibe. I want to do as much stuff as we can while we can. If people are willing to approach us and they enjoy what we’ve done or what we do, and they want to have that to mix our sauce into their vibe the same way we would with people we enjoy, I love that. I think that’s great. I think that’s all another part of growing and becoming more accessible to a new type of listener. Again, just like the platform when we went to Warped Tour. That was something so new and different from us and outside of the bubble of where we were existing in. What happens if you go outside of their and you don’t make it? Well we’re going to roll the dice and see. You scare yourself into thinking that no one is going to appreciate you and you do a lot of shit to yourself. We live and learn man. Don’t set up musical boundaries. Be cool with people. People want to make music. If it’s really about wanting to make music and make smiles then let’s make the track.
Exactly, and speaking of bringing in a brand new audience. I’m sure there are people who are reading this who may have come across you guys from “Envy” or another cross over track. If I said to you, you needed to pick three tracks for a new fan to hear, for sure, what would they be?
Off of the new record?
In general. I approach someone and say, “I need you to listen to Twiztid. Here are three songs that you need to hear.”
Okay…wow. I’m gonna say, from the new one, “Twist and Shatter”. Then I would go with a polar opposite track, “We Don’t Die.” It’s a staple, people like that track a lot. If we’re just giving them the crash course, bookends so to speak that’s a perfect one to use. Then…wow…this is tough. I like so many songs. I’m going to be bias and go with “Phlegm in the Windpipe.” I love that song. It’s got the blend of both. With it you can see where we came from, where we’re at, and kind of where we’re going with those three songs. That would be the reasoning for picking those three. If I was given more time, and not on the spot, I would probably say something way cooler!
My bad man!
No no no! I love it and that’s what’s real about it. That’s why it’s real. But truthfully enough those are three really good songs that I absolutely love. I love “Envy” too but that’s a song that I feel like people have heard at this point so I wanted to go with one that hasn’t been. We got that response from everybody. People around us love that song and we love it too. We just didn’t know it would have the response it did. You don’t know until you do it and you try. All good things man. Those would be the three I pick though.
Honestly, I’m so glad you brought up “Phlegm in the Windpipe” because there is something about Generation Nightmare. That’s one of my favorite albums and I feel like it doesn’t get talked about enough. It’s very cohesive and it’s great from beginning to end.
It was initially, when we talked about it, the records were supposed to connect. Like, in a grander scheme it was a trilogy. Generation Nightmare, Revelashen, and Unlikely Prescription. Somewhere along the lines we realized we were making it so complicated. Just make good music. Stop trying to fluff and make extra shit. Just make good music. Make what makes you smile. If you play that one again, that’s the one. But, you just heard it three times. Doesn’t matter, play it one more time. That’s the vibe you need. Instead of making up all types of extra shit to connect them we decided to let them stand on their own, let people find them. It won’t be so shovey, you don’t feel like you have to have all three. We kind of took a lot of different approaches on stuff as of late. I feel like that’s why we’ve been seeing different results. We’ve played it so close to a football playbook for so very long that you feel like if you don’t do it the way you’ve done it it’s done. I think that’s a lot of what caps people in a lot of what they do. I’m glad it’s not the way for us, but it’s important to understand because it happens a lot of the time and you don’t know it’s happening. A safety net so to speak, you do what’s safe. You don’t push boundaries. You know what I mean? I like the fact that we’re constantly moving to push boundaries and trying different things and literally do stuff where we could fall flat on our face. What’s awesome is that we don’t and we get the response where people are like, “that’s it!” We’re like, “I’m glad you agree, because we weren’t sure!” Haha. Not that you weren’t unsure, but everyone has that uncertainty before you go to jump. It is what it is.
And that’s the thing. We had that conversation last time, people are like, “Oh man, release another Mostasteless!” Well eventually, you’re going to get bored of Mostasteless.
For sure! I agree. It’s like falling victim to releasing the same record of any given type. I don’t want to do that. I’m glad we never done that. I’m glad that all the records have their own vibe and flavor. That they’ve shown progression. You see it. As much as I hated it at the time in my life, I love that some stuff was ahead of its time. Stuff that kind of fell flat when it came out, but now over time has grown to be people’s favorite jam. It’s interesting because you weren’t saying that three years ago. I love that. All good things in good time. Maybe that’s how its story was supposed to be. You found it when you found it. As long as you found it, job done. Check!
So we got the Freekshow anniversary videos a year back which was fantastic. I loved that it was a surprise the way you guys did it. No one was really sure what we were going to get that night. A live set or what. We got the opening live set with Drive-By and then we got a video for every single song on that record.
Again, it was trying something different. Trying something that we wanted to do because when you look back at our career up to that point we literally had “We Don’t Die” as a video. That’s it. Then we did “Afraid of Me” which was a shoestring budget, and you can tell when you look at it. That’s kind of why it’s gritty and grimy which is why it has a vibe to it that’s unlike anything else. But, you can see what the production value brought with it. From Universal Studios for “We Don’t Die” to being in an empty warehouse with a piece of wood and a camera dolly. Trying to be provocative and keep pushing. Our idea was to do as many videos as we could but obviously exhausted finances and stuff like that. So to be able to do that later on in life for such a special record like Freekshow. It was a huge record for us at that time. The biggest we had ever been under any name. That was the biggest. To be able to go back and do those videos the way we wanted to do them, in the facility we secured, I loved it. I hope everybody enjoyed it and found something awesome because that was something we had never done before. We were talking about doing it again for other records. If it was something that people like, maybe we’ll do it again. I don’t know. It was fun though. It was really cool to do every single song. So rad.
I’m just saying, an Abominationz one would be epic.
That’s what we’re saying! It would be killer. Just the paint scheme alone dude. The videos for that, another one that got no videos. I think that maybe in some senses that’s why they’re so coveted and underground and hush hush. A lot of those records I still feel are unsung. Let’s be honest, I know the sound scans to them. I’m telling you they’re unsung. In that level of realness and transparency, I know that there are people out there who still haven’t heard those songs. So for each one of those records, wherever they may be, there’s still something on there. Hopefully, again they may find whoever is looking for them. Or the new one, and it’s a trickle down effect. I don’t know, maybe you’ll find what you don’t like which will lead you to find what you do like. I don’t know! All good things I hope.
Here ya go, you can do one for Phatso (Earth 2)!
That’s fucking deep man. That’s deep. No, that was fun. Earth 2 was fun because it was an opportunity to do something different that no one had done. At that time era it was all about the remix. Everybody had the remix. So I decided, wait a minute, what if on the remix there’s features or I do different verses. It was just so crazy. Like, wait a minute, the songs share the titles? Yeah, it’s Earth 2! They’re like, “you’re a nerd, for one. For two, this is genius. For three, why do you give a fuck enough to do this!” I’m like, I don’t know…I like it. I can’t get enough of it. You gotta love what you do man!
I could sit here and talk about the deep cut shit all day but I’m not gonna torture you with that. So let’s wrap this up. The last year has been absolutely insane for you two. What has been your biggest takeaway as we look into the years ahead?
I guess what we were saying before about not taking things for granted. Don’t squander opportunities because nothing is guaranteed. All of that. All of that was brought painstakingly clear to us and dropped on our front porch during covid. You know what I mean? All of that. Any and all of this can be subject to nothing again and it’s like… understanding what’s important and understanding what’s valuable. Understanding what you provide to other people. That was another thing that was super important when we did Mad Season. We knew that people who listened to our music as their process were going to be shut in their home. Climbing the walls. We knew we had to do something. Where other people shut down their operation or their parent company wouldn’t allow them to do things. That’s what’s awesome about being independent and having our parent company, InGrooves, telling us to do what we want. Again, trying different things. That too, different things get different results. So it’s still a learning process. I take all that away. Don’t take anything for granted. You’re never too old to learn. Do things that you want to do. Challenge yourself man, life is too short. Life is too short to always be safe.
Now, it may be early and an unfair question but you get home from the tour… what’s next?
A record with Zeuss. We’ve been working with him, Rob Zombie’s producer, for awhile now. He’s responsible for doing all of the music for his latest movies and stuff. He’s got his hands in a lot of stuff, stuff that I’m a huge fan of. I’ve been working with this guy for awhile now off and on. We’ve been writing some songs, getting some stuff together, and… man, get in an elevator and just keep going. That’s what it feels like! Not at a pressure level, but this is just so awesome. Zeuss is one of those people who takes what we have, breaks it apart, moves this here, moves that there, and I’m just blown away. It’s so refreshing. It’s someone else’s take on what Paul and I do. It’s really good. I’m very much looking forward to getting that record and hammering out some details with it. It’s in its skeletal phase but it’s what we do. That’s what I’ll be looking forward to most.
Good man, and I’m looking forward to hearing it. I can honestly say there is a different level of excitement coming from you this time around. It’s so cool to see what you guys are doing man. It makes me feel good watching it happen dude.
I love that dude. I love it. It’s been such a long time with everybody, like you’re playing Uno and you keep getting hit with “draw 4s”. Like, come on dude! This is shit salad. Then things start getting better. You start appreciating what’s coming. Use those opportunities to continue to do what we do. Spreading the word about Twiztid. We’re still out here, we’re still doing it. We’ve got an intense catalogue of music behind us that you can enjoy and a whole bunch of awesome stuff coming. What a time to be alive!
As always, thank you for joining me Jamie. It’s always a pleasure!
Thank you dude! Always a blast chatting with you. I appreciate your time, Dylan.
You can learn more about Twiztid via their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Majik Ninja Entertainment can also be found via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The newest record, ‘Unlikely Prescription’ is available on all your favorite streaming services and mnestore.com.
Obsessed with all things horror, video games, comics and vinyl, Dylan has been surrounded by all things geek culture since birth. Along with writing for Icon Versus Icon he’s also the co-host for the year long Christmas podcast, “Christmas 365”.
“No wimps. No False Metal.”