Børns & Twin Shadow Are Indie Rock Royalty

Børns & Twin Shadow Are Indie Rock Royalty

In VMAN40, we caught up with the two musical acts as the prepare to go on tour together this fall.

In VMAN40, we caught up with the two musical acts as the prepare to go on tour together this fall.

Photography: Britt Lloyd

Styling: Maleeka Moss

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

This interview appears in the pages of VMAN40: The New Vanguard Issue, on newsstands now. Order your copy today at shop.vmagazine.com!

As two of the most hyper-visual and collaborative acts in the biz, it’s only natural that Børns and Twin Shadow would pair up; this fall, the two officially join forces for the first time, going on tour to promote Børns’ Blue Madonna and Twin Shadow’s Caer. Despite occupying similar orbits in the pop landscape, the two hadn’t performed together prior to sharing this marquee. In fact, their photoshoot for VMAN was one of the first times the indie icons spent much time together. Here, they talk about their burgeoning friendship, memorable late-night performances, and where they find visual inspiration.

VMAN How did you two meet?

Børns I feel like we first met at a Gucci party.

Twin Shadow I think you might be right. The first time I saw you perform was at a small show in Venice. But we met way before that.

B The first time I heard you was from a distance at [the Meadows Music & Arts Festival] in New York.

TS Was it the [show] where we did the Prince tribute?

B Yeah, that’s it! I remember hearing Prince’s drum beats and beautiful guitars. That was my first experience hearing you from afar.

VMAN So this is the first time you guys will spend extensive time together?

TS We just did a photo shoot, climbing in New York fountains together.

B It was fun. I was really hungover. I had drunk way too many glasses of wine the night before. So it’s a disheveled chic kind of look. But it was fun running around New York and getting dressed on the sidewalk. It seemed very rogue. Speaking of New York, how was Colbert?

TS Colbert was fun. It was the most random crew of people. I realized how random it was when Natalie Portman came downstairs. I’m sure you’ve played Colbert or Letterman before, but do you remember how tiny the downstairs hallways are? It was all of alt-J’s members, Pusha T—and his three bodyguards, and stylist—Natalie Portman, my girlfriend, and a few other people all packed in this icy cold hallway together. It’s such a funny photo. It was also weird because it was the first time I’d seen Natalie Portman since I asked her out at a burger shop 12 years ago; she said no. I’m not sure if she remembered me. I did not make a good impression.

B Can we do a U-turn and talk about the video for “Saturdays”? That video is so beautiful, creative, and nostalgic. How did you come up with the concept?

TS I made a list of TV and lm moments that really shaped me as a person and as an artist. I just said to the crew, “I want to capture that feeling of the first time you were exposed to something you weren’t quite ready for.” Whether it was dirty 1-800 commercials, Mallrats, or watching Desperado. The more futuristic elements like digital animation came later because I wanted it to feel like an acid trip, but an acid trip [relating to the] future. Or what it might be like living inside a computer. It’s the first video I truly directed. How involved are you on your videos?

B On the video side, I’ve been a lot more involved with the new album. I directed the video for “Faded Heart.” It kind of came out of frustration. I just woke up and was like, man, I’ve got to get a concept down. I recently went to this original marionette theater [in Los Angeles], Bob Baker’s. It was so amazing and transportive. I just couldn’t stop smiling. In one skit, the lights went off, except for [a series of] black-lights on these skeletons. For some reason, I kept thinking about my own mortality with the song “Faded Heart,” and this was a playful way of looking at [the subject]. I also thought of my mortality in the music game: How long are you going to survive as an artist?

VMAN What can you tell us about your upcoming tour?

TS Preparing for a show is a lot of work, but it really happens right before you go out. So that we’re kind of fresh when we go out on the road, we don’t really rehearse until two weeks before a tour, maybe.

B Will you be playing a majority of new songs?

TS Probably. It will be the first time we’re doing a full set of the songs from the album. It’ll definitely evolve throughout the tour because you learn very quickly what works and what doesn’t work. You’ve kind of got to shuffle through the ups and downs of the set list, keeping nice blocks of energy. I always feel best when I’ve just gotten off tour, and do TV performances, and one-offs. You’re almost this unstoppable machine. You know exactly what works.

B Definitely! I just got back from my European tour. I feel like I put every ounce of my energy into that tour. Once you break that barrier of exhaustion, you become a different performer. And that’s a good place to be: broken in.

TS Totally. My dad would like this analogy: You become like a worn-out baseball glove; you catch everything. The ball is made to t in the glove. It’s kind of amazing.

B Yeah, we’re definitely going to be playing catch on this tour.

The Twin Shadow + BØRNS tour begins Monday, September 17.

TWIN SHADOW (LEFT) WEARS COAT, SHIRT, BOOTS DSQUARED2, JEANS A.P.C., BRACELET HIS OWN, BØRNS (RIGHT) WEARS CLOTHING AND SHOES SAINT LAURENT BY ANTHONY VACCARELLO, JEWELRY HIS OWN
Credits: HAIR AHN CO TRAN (TRACEY MATTINGLY), GROOMING ANTHONY TULVE (KREATIVE KOMMUNE)

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