Interview with Laura Hermiston of Twist

Ava Muir interviews Laura Hermiston of Twist, debut album 'Spectral' out now on Buzz Records

Laura Hermiston sounds content and eager through the phone, even as she drives through Californian outskirts with choppy reception on her way to San Francisco. The founder and front woman of one of Buzz Records’ newest signings, Twist, Hermiston and her bandmates have emerged as another one of the label’s incredibly promising acts. Having already taken to stages with the likes of TOPS, Weaves, Dilly Dally, and Chastity Belt, Twist have witnessed firsthand, what makes for a memorable experience that leaves a lasting impact. Hermiston is poised to create an experience with the rich in reverb, lo-fi sounds of Spectral – a debut album full of unique and memorable tracks. Northern Transmissions spoke with Hermiston nearly a week after the release of Spectral to see where her mind was at, and find out more about the diverse recording processes behind the record.

Northern Transmissions: Congrats on Spectral dropping this past Friday (August 26). It’s an amazing record, I really love it. How do you feel having this record that you worked on for almost two years finally out?

Laura Hermiston: It feels really good. It feels like a graduation of sorts. We can start recording new stuff and we can start, you know, it’s fun sharing the album and touring but I love recording. It feels nice to be able to start fresh now.

NT: I read about the recording process for Spectral and it sounded very low-key and a really good atmosphere to be in.

LH: My dream is to go into a studio for a week and record, but it wasn’t like that at all. It was recording tidbits at various places with different people. Listening back to the production on the songs, it can sound pretty different. The vocal effects will sound a bit different, some songs will sound more polished, some will sound more lo-fi. It’s interesting, but it’s kind of nice to have it over with because it’s a lot of work.

NT: It’s interesting to hear now that bits and pieces were recorded at different places because I recognize that during the album. Each song is diverse in its own way. There’s enough to make it stand out on its own and I think those different kinds of recording processes played a part in it, for sure.

LH: Yeah, totally.

NT: Do you pay much attention to the reception and reviews? Does it affect you in anyway when it comes to releasing music?

LH: Luckily, I’ve been traveling so I haven’t been glued to my computer like I usually am at home. I haven’t been aware of anything negative or what people have said. The labels people have put on the album, I appreciate. I think they’re pretty accurate.

NT: I’ve seen nothing but positive reviews so far, so that’s awesome.

LH: Yeah, same!

NT: Tell me about your relationship with Brian (Borcherdt) of Holy Fuck. How did you two come together and start making music? It’s not a pairing that you would think of right away. Very different sounds, but it works well.

LH: We became friends while working on my old band BB Guns’ album and we have a lot in common – songwriting, performing, the struggles. It’s nice talking to someone who has accomplished more and has advice. He’s been the most supportive of my music, in the earliest stages when he was taking time off from Holy Fuck. I would bring him songs or send him demos, because I didn’t really do that with anyone else besides BB Guns. I don’t remember why I did it, but he just ended up being a good resource and supportive and made for a very special friendship.

NT: Do you think that genuine connection is what makes the process of recording and writing work so well?

LH: Yeah. It’s nice when you find bandmates or people where you just vibe on the same things – you dislike the same things, you like the same things.

NT: That’s the ideal kind of relationship for anyone, right? So it works especially well when it comes to making art.

LH: Yeah exactly, anyone you work with.

NT: Twist signed to Buzz Records just a few months before the release of Spectral. How have you enjoyed your time being apart of the Buzz family so far? You’re surrounded by some pretty incredible people.

LH: First of all, I signed with them because a lot of my closest friends are on that label and I trust their decision making. They are just really smart and have their finger on the pulse of everything. I feel like they don’t follow trends, they kind of carve their own path. I’m really happy with the decision to sign Buzz.

NT: I find them so reputable, respectable and true to everything they are. They’re constantly bringing out great music, like you. You fit perfectly.

LH: I was surprised that they wanted to sign us, but I see in their trajectory why it makes sense. There’s other labels that are really popular, and I just like how Buzz is more of a trendsetter and less of following trends and signing bands because they sound like this band that’s doing really well right now.

NT: You said a lot of your friends are on the label.

LH: Everyone on that label is my friend. It’s crazy, I love their music. Everyone has their own vibe and there’s new bands that are signing with Buzz, I don’t know what’s announced, but I’ve listened to their records and it’s pretty awesome. It’s diverse, more electronic and dance, grunge, noise. I don’t think there’s any acoustic folk acts so maybe it’s not that diverse. But that’s okay, we don’t need anymore of that.

NT: No we really don’t, it’s okay. I think it’s cool that you’re surrounded by so many other headstrong women like Katie (Monks of Dilly Dally) and Jasmyn (Burke of Weaves), who are all leading the way and carving their own path too, just like you.

LH: Totally. Jess in Bad Channels, too. They’re really strong and cool and talented. They take control of their music instead of having a man do it for them.

NT: That’s exactly what you do too, and it’s totally inspiring. It’s awesome what Buzz does, really. There’s so many women and it’s so diverse. I think you’re a perfect fit.

LH: Yeah, I’m really happy.

NT: Your dad actually plays bass on the albums fourth track “Bleached”. What was it like recording with him?

LH: He was a session musician his whole life, still is. He makes a living writing and composing for TV, cartoons, everything. He does everything. My brothers and sister – we’re all in music, basically. We would all be lucky to have the life my dad’s had. At the same time, he’s incredibly talented. I don’t know how to write scores for a symphony, so it’s different but it’s really inspiring. It was funny recording with my dad in the studio because it’s a totally different relationship. It kind of felt like I was one of the dudes in the studio and less like his daughter. It was fun, seeing your dad in his element.

NT: Seeing him in his element and yours!

LH: Yeah. Ha, that’s funny. He’s like “I can sub in and play with you live!” and I’m like “Hmm, I don’t know if that would work.”

NT: You are on tour now, set to play some upcoming west coast shows. I know you’re playing Seattle and Vancouver in the next few days.

LH: Yeah. We just spent some time in LA, on the way. We didn’t book any shows in LA. I don’t know, but we had so much fun. We’re driving to San Francisco right now, and we play at this place called the Make Out Room. I’m so excited. I hope we have time to walk around a bit and see some of the vintage stores.

NT: It’s all leading up to your Toronto album release show on September 16 at this new venue that’s opening up called The Baby G.

LH: Yeah, the owner of The Garrison opened up a new venue called the Baby G. We’re going to be the first band to play there. It’s really special. It feels like a big family event. Shaun (Bowring), the owner, is the coolest. He was a touring musician in his twenties so it’s really awesome working for him.

NT: Have you enjoyed your time on the road so far? Are you looking forward to getting back and releasing the album in Toronto?

LH: Yes and no. I really love the west coast and wish we had more time. I don’t want to go back to reality, but it’s going to be really nice to celebrate with everyone. I’ve never been away this long.

NT: Are there any cities you’d love to play in the next year or so?

LH: Austin and LA. Come back to Nashville. Those are really fun places and I’d love to come back.

Interview by Ava Muir

Tour Dates
09/08 – Calgary, AB – Broken City
09/09 – Regina – Vangellis
09/10 – Winnipeg, MA – Sherbrooke Street Festival
09/11 – Minneapolis, MN – Kitty Cat Klub
09/12 – Chicago, IL – Subterranean
09/16 – Toronto, ON – Baby G