Another Man's Love Song: The New Twentys in interview
Words by Asha Krishnan
‘You Got Me Good’ is the latest release from The New Twentys. The track has been out for just over a week now, and I’m writing this interview with the overwhelming feeling that I’m late to the party. The beers are on ice, and the boys are in the backroom (home-studio) working on the drums for an unreleased track. Harry, the long-hair, Chelsea boot-wearing member of the trio, laughs “there’s always something ticking away at the back of our minds.”
Harry, Jimmy and Chris form The New Twentys, and their punk informed sound has been making a huge impact, with their most recent single played on BBC Introducing South. There is a clear flow in conversation when the trio are together and they always keep things light- hearted, switching the conversation from brain-hemispheres to Oasis with ease. When asked about how they became a band in the first place, Chris chuckles, “well long story short, Harry and Jimmy were involved with another band and signed to a label that I was doing merchandising for, and that’s how we initially started hanging out. And then I told them I’m a songwriter and I own a studio…I’m not just a merch man. And invited them to my studio”. Harry adds, “we did one writing session together, and it all just clicked because we liked each other as people. After that, I had a chance to take some people to Bestival, so I invited Chris and that was just the best 4 days. “
The boys talk over each other, laughing and layering on the anecdotes. “I didn’t have a car when Harry and Jimmy invited me to Bestival,” Chris jumps in. “And it had suddenly gotten to the last minute and I hadn’t actually planned any way to get there, but something in me was just thinking – I have to be there for this festival – so I got my brother to drive me down for four hours and drive himself back.” Poor guy. “But I made it to the festival!” Chris laughs. So the band got together from a divine mix of family-favours and heavy fomo. I told the boys that they owed his brother a drink. Chatting about the weeks that came after, Harry tells me that they “went down to Cornwall to write for what was meant to be a couple weeks. But we ended up doing two colossal six-week stints where we were just writing and recording together. Then because we were all equally invested, we couldn’t have one of us not be in it – this was now a band.” Easy. I wondered why all musicians didn’t just hang out with strangers and start writing music together. That’s what they were doing in New York in the 70s. “I think we all realised that this was a unique set up that none of us had had before in previous bands.” Harry says of their chemistry. “We had 3 songwriters who were all equally as passionate about the song, and not their own egos or parts - we just had to go with it.”
So, “the band name…want to tell me about it?” I mused. I had figured it had something to do with the year just passed, 2020 – the year they started releasing music. “It actually isn’t.” Eh, I tried. “We were talking about how everyone’s making their own music on laptop’s now, which is something that has never happened before in history. So, people are going to look back at the 2020s in the same way as we look back at the 1920s and they are going to say that the 2020s are when things changed. So, Jimmy initially just referred to The New Twentys as a period of time, but it sounded like a good band name.” There is a certain story-telling element to our conversation, and so I asked the band to tell me another one – where the
Now moving on to the latest single “You Got Me Good”. Chris describes how it started, “I met this filmmaker in Minneapolis, and he mentioned that he had always wanted to come to England. So I invited him down, and that was obviously when Jimmy and Harry met him.” At this point, we’re all startled as Chris rushes away from the camera. He tells us that his dog has just attempted to crawl under a fence. A year of holding interviews over zoom and nothing can faze us. Harry picks up where he left off, “yeah, so we all got to be really good friends with him, and he phoned me up one day. He was in Amsterdam on King’s Day and we had a two-hour phone call where he had said that he was surrounded by people, but could not stop thinking about this girl he had met in London. I had been working on a track before the call, but everything he said became the lyrics – it kind of wrote itself.” Another man's love song. It occurs to me now, whether our filmmaker ever found out that his romantic city-dreaming would become paired with a riffing bassline. Or if the girl now knows that she inspired a song. That would make a hell story for a wedding speech.
Now that we can finally begin to imagine a time when bands can play live again, I asked the boys how they felt about it. “Yeah, we can’t wait to play live. We have been rehearsing quite a lot these past few months because we’ve got the studio space. So now we’re just itching to play it. Bu we’re actually happy we’ve released some music before playing shows because now hopefully people may know the words to a couple of songs.” And you’ll get people singing your lyrics back at you, I add. “That’s the dream” Harry says, grinning. It is at this whimsical moment that Chris returns, dog in hand, as if nothing ever happened. Rather than picking up where he left off, he begins a different conversation. Topic of choice: music videos. “Music videos are weird right now. We have some concepts that have actually come quite naturally, and we’ve just done our best to go out and film it. Like the ‘Inside Out’ video wasn’t even planned. We just filmed some random shots on a beach and ended up using a single four-minute take in the end.”
I’ve noticed that the band are drawn to things that are unplanned and a little messy, release artwork included. The artwork for ‘You Got Me Good’ has their signature rough around the edges look (photobooth-style pictures with the faces scribbled out), but I think it works. “It was basically an accident again…” go figure. “The artist who designed it originally sent us the artwork with her face scribbled out because she said that she would replace it with pictures of us. But we said that this was perfect – because it fit the song. When someone has got you so good that you can’t even bare to look at her.” Stunned by the painful clarity of that answer, I asked the band how they were feeling about the release. Jimmy responds, “really good, release day is a lot of back-and-forth messaging for us but, it’s cool because you start to know and get in tune with the people who are following and supporting you.”
“It’s also exciting because of all the things I have ever released, The New Twentys has had the most immediate interest…which has got be a good sign.” It is a good sign, I reassure them.
‘You Got me Good’ is available on all mainstream music platforms now.