INTERVIEW: Stuart Matthewman and Vanessa Bley are Twin Danger

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The past two decades have seen an increase in musical collaborations with artists from seemingly opposing genres. What began with Gorillaz and continued with the success of Gnarls Barkley, has seen a number of off base connections with some fantastic results. The latest addition to this line is the duo comprising Twin Danger. Formed by Vanessa Bley, a pop rock chanteuse, and Stuart Matthewman,  guitarist and saxophonist with Sade and Sweetback, the group aims to explore the entwining of heroin jazz and seductive darkness. We had the chance to ask them some questions on how the group came about and their plans in advance of their upcoming NYC concert.

You’ve called your connection “natural”. How did it come about? How did you meet? How did you decide to collaborate?

Stuart: We met through a mutual friend and bonded over our bipolar love of bands like Black Sabbath, The Clash, Marvin Gaye, Chet Baker etc. I always loved Vanessa’s wildly different compositions so one day I sent her some bizarre chords I had written and an hour later she sent me “Just Because,” our first song.

One evening I met someone claiming to be a clairvoyant .He told me i was working on a new project with someone with the letter V, He informed me “We had done it. We just had to do it…” 13 songs later, I guess we have.

Vanessa, you’re part of a psychedelic rock outfit with Beast Patrol. What themes do you get to explore more fully in Twin Danger?

Vanessa: Both bands explore fundamental and universal ideas, they are just expressed differently. With Twin Danger, I disappear into this melancholic and enchanting wave of time. With Beast Patrol, I’m chasing the sun through the desert.

Stuart, you’ve worked with a host of artists in a number of genres. What sparked your interest in pursuing this heroin jazz/seductive darkness hybrid at this point?

S: Jazz has always been brewing somewhere in the background of most of the music I have ever been involved with. It wasn’t a planned or conscience decision but when we started writing our songs together it just made sense to make the arrangements so spare and acoustic to give space to Vanessa’s stories and beautiful melodies, plus we had a jazz brushes drum loop that seemed to fit with everything we did…

How would you describe “cinematic blues” to a new listener?

After a show last night someone came up to me and described our sound as “David Lynch lost in the movie Taxi Driver.”

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Your debut record is due in early 2015. How many songs are you aiming to include? 

Fantastic. We’re done for now. Not sure on song number yet but it will certainly be a full length album.

Do you plan to collaborate with any other artists?

Because very little is preordained or planned with Twin Danger, the idea of collaborations sounds intriguing. Maybe a guest solo from Tony Iommi would be a perfect fit for us. We perform live with five of our musician friends and hope to collaborate with them on the next bunch of songs.

What are listeners in for when they come to your concert?

V: The Police. Just kidding…or not. We encourage people to dress up and get lost with us. You’ll be swinging, dancing, maybe a little teary eyed. Probably spill some wine on yourself, get a few bruises. You know, the usual jazz show 🙂

S: Our journey so far has delivered us to sweltering, unexpected, and often messy places, with live performances climaxing with laughing tears and trodden on toes. Certain songs seem capable of striking St. Vitus dance into the heart of hipsters, or touching the tear ducts of the wallflower in the corner.

If you live in the NYC area, you can catch Twin Danger tomorrow night at the Soul Suite Event at Marquee.