CASTLES IN THE SNOW “I feel a lot of people I know who make music don’t know how to change and give up their heroes,” says George Lewis Jr.
"Boston, I'm starting to love you again," says George Lewis Jr. via cell phone in a seemingly sarcastic yet sincere shout-out to his old stomping grounds. Though he's spent more than a year on the road and played our city twice in that time, when Twin Shadow hits the stage Monday at the Paradise, it will mark Lewis's first official headlining show in Boston since he left town in 2006.
Before his post as the founder and front man of Twin Shadow, Lewis was known as the eccentric, sharp-tongued-but-soft-spoken leader of the spastic and unpredictable early-aughts Boston punk band Mad Man Films. Not long after disbanding, Lewis packed his bags for New York City, and, after a few failed attempts to make music, spent a year in seclusion before finding a sound and vision that echoed the beat of his heart and soul. "I was unsure of what I wanted to do," Lewis says. "In reality I almost gave up playing music. I was pretty bummed about it. I forced myself to not even touch the guitar. In doing that, I regained my desire for playing and came back with tons of ideas."
As Twin Shadow, Lewis switched gears from hard-and-fast punk prose to a softer sentimentality. His songwriting became more lyrically vulnerable and more instrumentally intricate. Recording in his Brooklyn bedroom and Danish hotel rooms, Lewis played nearly every instrument on the songs he wrote, and, in time, they found their way into the hands of Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor, who went on to master and release the album, 2010's Forget, on his Terrible Records imprint.
"Forget was about accepting things about myself that I thought I didn't like," Lewis says. "I feel a lot of people I know who make music don't know how to change and give up their heroes. I've always been someone who has questioned my heroes. There's so much music I loved from when I was a kid that I kind of stuffed down. Maybe I stopped listening to those records because I was getting into punk and all this tough stuff. I don't think I write music any differently; it's just that now I don't have any rules."
Forget is a journey through his repressed past. Told alongside synthesizers, drum machines, and the occasional guitar solo, it's a lush and intimate endeavor that portrays Lewis as at once affectionate, apologetic, and apathetic. Dreamy and hopeful, caring and creepy, Lewis walks the lyrical line with a sincere and sinister delivery that summons Morrissey. The record garnered acclaim from critics.
Since its release, Twin Shadow have been on the road nearly non-stop, and Lewis is especially anxious to make the next record. "I think I thrive on solitude. I have ideas, but sometimes you end up sharing a hotel room and it's weird to whisper sensitive lyrics into a microphone when other people are trying to sleep. I'm actually going to be making the next record in Los Angeles. I'm going to rent a house in the Hills, and rent a motorcycle and a car and just live there for six weeks or so. I think Twin Shadow is meant to be a continuation of Forget. Sadness is always being replaced by another sadness. You conquer your darkest problems and new ones show up. It's always fuel to write about."