Prepare yourself for the advent of Satanic Doo-Wop, a unique sound concocted by Twin Temple, made up of Alexandra James and Zachary James.
The black-clad duo combines the energy of '50s and '60s rock n' roll with their Satanic ideology, i.e. acknowledging Satan while simultaneously indulging in their taste for music from the heady days that turned out artists like Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison.
In the beginning, Twin Temple took a cue from the Antichrist, and released 666 vinyl copies of their debut album, Twin Temple (Bring You Their Signature Sound…Satanic Doo-Wop). The album sold out in the blink of an eye, catching the attention of Rise Above Records, which is preparing to give the album full-release in March.
Since Twin Temple takes off in March, touring with Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats and Graveyard, Popdust sat down with the Dark Lord's disciples to find out more about their musical backgrounds and what it means to be a Satanist.
The Devil (Didn't Make Me Do It) youtu.be
How would you describe yourself?
What is the most trouble you've ever gotten into?
A year ago we were featured on the front page of the LA Times art section, focusing on our Satanic musical content, lyrics and overall philosophy. This was picked up by extremist Christian hate groups, whose legions of followers left us a bunch of hate mail, including quite a few death threats. They claimed that we legitimately murder babies and that the blood we use on stage is from slain children, etc. Alex Jones also devoted an entire episode of his YouTube show InfoWars on us and the article.
To be honest though, we also get into "trouble" on a daily basis for displaying "female" nipples within our artwork. As practitioners of the Left Hand Path, we exalt the human body, and sexuality, and this outlook constantly gets us into trouble in a society that polices the nude body, sex, particularly women's bodies and sexuality. We had to go through 3 different print houses which refused to print our album cover, and 2 different digital distribution companies to put out our album. We also have been blocked, and have had various social accounts suspended, taken down, or had their reach limited. The hatred and shame towards female breasts is extremely strong in our country.
What's your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?
Too many to be named- I (Alexandra) am guilty of always singing in the shower. But this week, it's "Only You (And You Alone)" by the Platters.
Who is your favorite music artist?
Our musical taste is extremely eclectic and wide reaching, we love everything from Jazz, country, doo-wop, rock 'n' roll, blues, classical, recorded rituals, metal, and beyond. However on the whole we gravitate to classic American rock 'n' roll, especially that which deals with the Devil or has a dark side.
What kind of guitar do you play?
An ebony Gibson 355 named Lilith and a bone white 1961 Gibson Les Paul custom reissue named Lucifer.
Why did you become a musician/singer-songwriter? What's the backstory there?
Because it is our True Will.
How, if at all, do your musical influences shape and impact your music?
Our influences extend beyond just music. We love theater, magick, the Occult, vintage horror, and beyond. We incorporate our interests into our music.
What is "Satanic doo-wop?"
Exactly what it sounds like.
What's the backstory on the band? How and when did the band come into existence?
We performed a destruction ritual on Samhain 2016. Shortly thereafter we signed our souls away to the Dark Lord.
Twin TempleAlbum Cover
What's the story behind the band's name – Twin Temple?
Two equals one.
You are Satanists. Is that a religion, or a philosophy, and what does it mean to be a Satanist?
You really could write a book on what it means to be a Satanist; in short, it depends on the individual.
However to briefly address some of the aspects of what it means to be a Satanist …. Historically, deeming someone a "Satanist" or "devil-worshipper" was really just an epithet employed in order to systematically oppress others and generally strip individuals of their power, livelihood, and lives. You saw this throughout history, from the "witch hunts" to the genocide of the indigenous peoples of America, to the demonization of African spiritualities and beyond.
Satanism as it's practiced today, we'd say would probably fall under the more general umbrella of the spiritual tradition of the Left Hand Path. Predominantly it's marked by a certain antinomianism and using and breaking societal taboos in order to embolden workings. It also uses sexual energy, and does not view the body as something to be "overcome" or controlled, but rather part of the human experience, just as the spirit or higher self is.
We personally use both historical contexts in our own interpretation. We are reclaiming the notion of being an outsider, and heralding it. Being "different" from mainstream society is not something to be ashamed of but something to be celebrated and exalted. It's a way to self-empower. We use Satan as a symbol for freedom, individuality, equality, the pursuit of higher knowledge, and a celebration of all who dare to live outside or question societal norms. There are some strains of Satanists who are theistic, and some who exhibit a certain amount of elitist ideologies. LaVey famously drew from the "Might is Right" texts for Satanic Bible which in our minds display a problematic social Darwinism, and would say that this particular aspect of LaVeyan Satanism is not one that we represent at all, but to consider the history of "Satanism" you certainly have to consider what LaVey added to the conversation, as "Satanism" as an actual religion was not coined as such until his founding of the Church of Satan in the late '60s.
When you decide to write a song about a particular topic, do you make the decision consciously – "I think I'll write a song about that" – or does it just happen intuitively?
A combination of both. We consciously create with the rational mind while also allowing ideas and inspiration to arise from the subconscious.
What is your songwriting process? Do the lyrics come first, or the music?
It depends; each song is a bit different. In general, I (Alexandra) write all of the lyrics and melodies, and Zachary focuses on arrangement and composition. Sometimes I will go to Zach with a song, and we flesh out the arrangement together, sometimes Zach will have a composition finished, and I will add lyrics and melody to that, but it's very much a collaborative process and varies.
What was your inspiration for "The Devil (Didn't Make Me Do It)?"
One aspect of the song, particularly the title, is the fact that The Devil has been used as a scapegoat that releases individuals of responsibility and accountability. We believe that there is no higher power other than the Self, and the Will. We believe that there is no Devil or outside force that "makes" us do things. Everything is a by-product of cause and effect, initiated by the individual. Our greatest successes and our deepest failures are ours and ours alone. The other, more coded aspects of the song, we'll leave for listeners to figure out for themselves.
What's next for Twin Temple musically?
We're really excited to reissue our debut album on Rise Above Records March 1st. We've got a beautiful alternate cover, and will also be creating new vinyl color ways, variants, and expanded formats. We're also beyond honored be touring on the first half of the Uncle Acid & Graveyard North American tour. We are playing the first 9 dates from 3/6 to 3/16. We will also be playing in Europe, at Roadburn Festival April 11th and in London April 12th.
You're off on tour in March. Is there any chance for a video interview when you play The Warfield in San Francisco?
That could most likely be arranged, let's stay in touch.
Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.
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