WORDS - RACHEL EDWARDS - PHOTOGRAPHY LIZA MOLNAR
When I first listened to English boyband ‘The New Twentys’ I felt like I was transported back to the easier time of being sixteen years old at my first music festival, grappling with the impossible task of putting eyeliner on in a tent with no mirror and trying to figure out which indie boy band was most likely to pull me onto the stage and dedicate their next album to me (spoiler alert: none). Since then my ego has shrunk but my love for a good old indie track is still very much intact. The New Twentys have the upbeat, pop sound of noughties bands like ‘The Kooks’ and ‘The Hoosiers’ but unlike a lot of these indie bands they aren’t restricted to skinny jeans and they don’t take themselves too seriously.
In fact, when I met brothers Harry and Jimmy who make up two thirds of the band (unfortunately Chris couldn’t be there) we spent the majority of the interview laughing about our shared interest in Wim Hof - “we try to do his breathing exercises every day” - and avoiding becoming sidetracked into talking about conspiracy theories and sleep paralysis. They’re humble for a band who have already been picked up by ‘BBC Introducing’ and have a growing celebrity following eager to see what they release next.
Let’s face it, we’re all sick of the 2020 we’re in now, maybe ‘The New Twentys’ have the power to save it
for us all.
LISTEN TO INSIDE OUT
Rachel Edwards: Hi guys! Give me a bit of background on how you came together as a band? Jimmy: So we’re brothers and we’ve been kind of making music and in bands since we were 12.
R.E : Who’s older by the way? It’s hard to tell with you guys... Jimmy Morris: I am! Basically our mate Chris [the third member of the band] reached out and asked if we wanted to do some writing together. And we were in another band at this point... we hadn’t been writing with other people really, it was just us two, so we were like why not try it?
Harry Morris: We thought if nothing else it’ll be an experience. So we did it, we went down to his place in Southend - he’s got a home studio set-up there, and we wrote a song. We thought we’ll probably revisit it, it’s got some really good parts but we were just like ‘its a cool song’ and left it. J.M: But we got on really well, we all liked each other and we knew we had to try again, it was a fun experience. Then we got free passes to take friends to Bestival in summer 2018... H.M: [Laughs] Yeah it was like an influencer trip. So we got some friends together and we were like ‘let’s pretend this is work but it’s not..’. I asked Chris if he wanted to come to Bestival and he was like ‘yeah I’d love that’ and we’d only met and hung out once at this point and we’re committing to a four day holiday together.
R.E: At this point he’s thinking ‘wow I need to stick with these guys’
H.M: [Laughs] So that trip went really well, and then he asked us to do a four day writing trip at his brother’s beach house in Cornwall and we were like ‘Yeah sick!’ and that’s when we wrote our first song that we just dropped - ‘Inside Out’. And we were like ‘whatever this is, this is it’. J.M: We didn’t force it. Before then he’d sort of let me and Harry lead it and it ended up sounding like the sort of songs we write when it’s just us two writing. And then this one we thought ‘let’s do whatever’ and all three of us pitched in the same amount and whatever happened just clicked! And we were writing it and recording it at the same time so it wasn’t just a song that we recorded. We got four songs done in four days.
R.E: What’s ‘Inside Out’ about? J.M: You know when you’re over someone and you’re sort of like ‘Oh I don’t even think about this person anymore’ so you kind of miss that you don’t have anyone to think about but you’re also like ‘why am I sitting around all day watching TV? I’m not even hurt anymore so I need to pull myself up, I’ve got no excuses left’.
R.E: Yeah you don’t want to let go of that part of your identity because you want to wallow in it a bit longer... J.M: Yeah it feels good to eat the comfort food and stuff.
R.E: So then you turn yourself... inside out? No it’s not that is it... H.M: It is for you now.
R.E: Yeah that’s it I’m going to be wearing my clothes inside out. Actually I’m wearing this t-shirt inside out today just by chance. J.M: Actually we did that without you knowing, we practice magic...
R.E: Did you guys grow up liking the same music? H.M: Our Dad brought us up on Dire Straits, Talking Heads bits of Lou Reed and The Clash and stuff. J.M: He also used to play us weird circus music which we loved!
H.M: And Enya! And we went hard on Greenday. And our older cousin introduced us to a lot of bands too. He was kind of our taste maker. We listened to a lot of Nickelback too which people thought was uncool...
R.E: Rockstar came on shuffle the other day and I didn’t skip it...
H.M: How did that feel?
R.E: I was cycling, it felt great. I think I turned it up. H.M: Nickel are back.
R.E: [Laughs] Very good. So from that when did you two decide to collaborate? H.M: Well the initial music project I started a while ago with my mate but neither of us could sing. So we were like ‘we’re looking for a singer’... then I asked Jimmy. J.M: I always wrote songs but I’d never seen myself as a singer. I basically did it out of necessity because there was no one else... I’d always liked writing lyrics and songs but I’d never thought... [trails off]
R.E: But did you always know you could sing? J.M: No I couldn’t! But I would give it a shot!
R.E: If you were in the karaoke you were taking the mic? J.M: No! Just my own songs... if we’d written the melody then it was natural. I always want it to sound like me. Some people put on a voice and I never wanted that. H.M: In pop they’re all trained in a similar way so they don’t have that unique style. Whereas Lou Reed for example probably never had a singing lesson, he just had an artistic flair. That’s kind of how we’ve felt ourselves.
R.E: How did it develop from there? J.M: So naturally we were making this sound on our computer and our studio was being built where we’re from [a little village near Staines]. We were just recording on something that cost £100 but what we were getting out was better than what we’d had from the big producers we’d worked with. If someone had an idea, we wouldn’t dismiss it before we’d try. Time is money for those people but with us we would just make up crazy noises and try them out [makes whirring noise] and it all becomes part of it!
R.E: It’s so much easier to experiment when there’s no pressure... H.M: So we put an end to our old band. We’d done it for six years so we said ‘let’s just move on’ and we went down to Cornwall for six weeks and just wrote and recorded a bunch of songs. We came up with twelve songs and another twenty/thirty ideas.
R.E: Wow! How do you come up with so many ideas? H.M: We always write notes in our phones from music, films, books. Anything that inspires us. And all three of us can write songs so when that comes together we have three people with no ego, we switch roles.
R.El: So no divas? Who’s the biggest diva? J.M: None of our diva-ness comes from arrogance, it’ll come from insecurity if anything! It’ll be like ‘I don’t think I can do this bit very well’.
R.E: When you make it really big do you have one diva request?
H.M: Red skittles! J.M: Apparently Mariah Carey gets a new toilet seat everywhere she goes... I wouldn’t do that ‘cos it’s wasteful but that would be a nice touch.
R.E: Have you made any music videos yet? J.M: We were in Cornwall and we were like ‘we need to get some visuals together! This could be a bunch of forty year olds for all anyone knows. We should get something out’. H.M: We didn’t want to spend that much on videos - they aren’t making the song blow up, it’s more about Spotify. J.M: Or Tiktok! Imagine spending grands on a music video and then someone throwing a ball in the air and catching it in their mouth is what makes your song go viral.
R.E: I know! J.M: So we were down in Cornwall and we have this iPhone gimbal thing and we asked the barman next door if he would mind helping us film a music video on the beach the next day. It’s a secret beach Chris knows about. So we shot loads of footage but we just used one take and edited it ourselves.
R.E: It’s nice that you have full creative control over everything! And after lockdown have you got gigs coming up? H.M: We just bought a van so we can bring the gig to the people and we can be like ‘Yo we can play at your house’. The venues will be the last things to open so we’ll go for barns, garages anything...
R.E: That’s nice, you’ll create intimacy with the audience that way. So at the moment what’s a typical day like? J.M: A bit of rehearsing and jamming together, and a lot of emails because the song just came out!
R.E: What’s the feedback been like so far? J.M: It’s been good... from the people we’ve heard back from anyway.
R.E: No news is good news though, right? H.M: BBC Introducing Essex played us... And we’re filming a live session for Idobi Radio in LA! We got over 1000 streams on Spotify in the first day for our new track.
R.E: Ohh do you think you might fly to the States at some point?
J.M: I don’t know, no plans to but you know... no plans are good plans!
R.E: [Laughs] Are you excited to release one particular song? H.M: We’re excited for them all! It used to be a thing where your album used to have to have a sound, but now it’s a singles market so we want to drop songs every 6-8 weeks and each one might sound a little bit different! But everything ties in because of the vocals and the acoustic guitar... it’s still us!
R.E: Ok let’s do some quickfire questions!
R.E: Which celebrity would you most want to be stuck in a lift with? J.M: Ricky Gervais! H.M: That’s a good one [long pause]... this is so quickfire... maybe Bieber!
R.E: Really? I’d leave him in the lift! Just kidding... what’s your favourite film?
J.M: ‘Misery’ H.M: ‘Law Abiding Citizen’... or ‘Catch Me if you Can’
R.E: What would you cook on Come Dine with me? J.M: Lobster!
H.M: Yeah good shout. I’m really good at eggs but you can’t really do that for dinner.
R.E: If you say it in French... ‘le oeuf’ sounds like a fancy dinner meal but egg just doesn’t. H.M: [Laughs] Yeah true. Maybe like a rice one pot with... yeah nothing great to be honest.
R.E: I’m sure you’ll win if you go in saying that. Do you have any phobias? H.M: Jimmy hates spiders! J.M: Yeah!
H.M: I used to be scared of the dark...We’ve been pretend mugged before! Someone ran over to us in London like ‘give us your phone’ and then he was like ‘oh just joking’.
R.E: What’s your life motto? J.M: [Laughs] as of today ‘no plans are good plans’.
R.E: [Laughs] When was the last time you lied? [Long Pause] H.M: Is this a good sign? J.M: I don’t lie... or maybe that answer was it! No sometimes we lie about how long we've been a band... because even we don’t know what the answer is!
R.El: What’s your pet peeve? J.M: People who put avocado in their bio like it’s a personality trait. H.M: Pointless fabrications that have no relation to a story someone’s telling!
R.E: Who would you most like to support if you were going on tour?
J.M: It would be sick to support ‘The Cure’. H.M: But for the longevity and future of the band you might be playing to an older crowd... so we’d be better supporting Harry Styles.
J.M: Harry’s just conscious of Coronavirus wiping out the population. We need the strong immune systems coming to our gigs... ‘The Kooks’ would be good though!
R.E: Do you believe in ghosts? H.M: Yeah why not? Our Dad swears by it. He’s got some convincing stories... J.M: Probably not that convincing. He said he saw a headless person cross the road...
R.E: This sounds like the start of a joke... and it’s the end of the interview! On that note, thanks for talking to me guys, I’m excited to see what the next few months hold! Both: Thanks!
R.E: Oh wait! I can't end without asking what your favourite 'F' word is?
J.M: Favour. H.M: Flabbergasted!
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