Australia’s Twerps released their self-titled debut album on Chapter Music in Australia and on Underwater Peoples in the U.S. right around this time last year. Sine then, festival appearances and supporting tour dates, including those with Real Estate, have helped the band to spread its laid-back garage pop around America, and Twerps continued that promotion by stopping at this year’s CMJ Music Marathon. I caught up with the band’s Martin Frawley and Julia McFarlane via email to ask about the inspiration behind this year’s 7″ release, comparisons to Flying Nun artists and the highs and lows of reviews.
Following the self-titled debut last fall, the band released another 7” this year. Were the songs on that written after the full-length album? What was the specific inspiration behind “Work It Out”?
Martin: The B-side songs were written after we had recorded the record, but “Work It Out” was written when we got back from our last tour with Real Estate. I guess on that tour it was a realization of what we wanted as a band. The song sounds like it is about a breakup, but it is actually about me. After touring with Real Estate, a wonderful bunch of really talented people who work hard, I realized I would have to work harder and put my head down. You can only get yourself where you want to be.
What challenges did you guys face with the transitioning between recording the first EP in 2009 and your debut self-titled LP in 2011?
Martin: None really. Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Total Control) just came into a rehearsal one day for the first EP and asked to record us. That EP was meant to be a demo so we could hear what we sounded like, but Mikey said the songs sounded great and that we should just work with them. He saw something in us he liked and helped us work out what we wanted to sound like. We had been a band for a while, and I had heaps of ideas that I wanted to do on the record. We went into a studio and had five days to record, so it was a lot of work, but we had time to listen and have fun. Wonderful experience! Looking forward to doing it again soon!
You can hear some of Flying Nun Records‘ influence in Twerps’ self-titled album. What were some of the groups that the band first bonded over when you all started writing songs together?
Julia: The Stones, the Chills, the Feelies, Sunny Boys, the Dentists, the Clean, Paul Kelly, Television Personalities, the Bats and great Melbourne bands—Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Panel Of Judges, Beaches, Scott And Charlene’s Wedding.
The self-titled was warmly received by critics, and you’ve been called things like “Australia’s Best New Band.” But was there anything frustrating about how the album was reviewed?
Julia: I don’t think it has occurred to us to be annoyed by what people say in reviews. You have to expect that some people aren’t going to listen thoroughly when they’re given an album to write about, and they’ll hear what they expected to hear from what other reviewers have said. In saying that, the term “chillwave” is pretty annoying—I guess we didn’t really associate with that contemporary sound so much. I think the Go-Betweens were probably our most agreed-upon reference within the band, and a lot of reviews have mentioned Flying Nun, which is really flattering but was not the intention with those songs. Maybe they wanted to sound like the Go-Betweens, too, but just missed the mark!