Twist Helix have already built themselves something of a following for both their giddy, densely melodic synth-pop and a touring schedule that would put most signed acts to shame. For their new single Pulse however, released on Friday 31st March, they’ve put together a strikingly dark prediction of what the music scene in Newcastle may look like in years to come. To find out more, I talked to their keyboardist, singer and lead songwriter Bea Garcia Cisneros.
Delving into the concept for Pulse, Garcia Cisneros notes “the single imagines a distant future where Newcastle’s arts spaces have been lost beneath a tide of urban sprawl. It’s inspired by recent events such as the loss of the North Wing and The Northumberland Arms. The song is an expression of our fear that the much needed fringe arts spaces which give vitality to our creative community are being sacrificed and pushed aside in the name of ‘redevelopment’.”
Developing her theme, she explains how the conflict between different ideas of progress in Newcastle also informed both the single’s lyrics and its arresting artwork. “Our vision of Newcastle’s future was heavily influenced by the city’s history; Newcastle is littered with remnants of failed urban design from the sixties and seventies. These supposedly utopian projects saw much of our architectural heritage (including parts of John Dobson’s Grainger Town) demolished in the name of progress, and what was built in their wake now ironically stands unused. As such, our vision of a dystopian Ouseburn centres upon the image of a disused Cluny (built by John Dobson) overshadowed by a looming urban sprawl akin to the city of William Gibson’s Neuromancer. For this we commissioned the artist Trevor Storey, who had previously produced a series of dystopian reimaginings of North East landmarks, to create the original artwork for the new single.”
If they see the future as something uncertain, Twist Helix are undoubtedly driven to make the most of the present. Asked about the trio’s demanding work rate, Garcia Cisneros tells me, “it is hard to be honest: we’re completely DIY, and almost all of the support we have is from word of mouth. But being independent is also rewarding, we can take ownership of our achievements and this year has been a good one so far, we’re not even in April and have already travelled the length of the country promoting the new single and we’re just about to go back to Europe for the second time – it’s pretty exciting! We love music and for us that means performing: Every night is new, the risk of the live show, the thrill of sharing something we’ve created…I don’t think we could do it any other way.”
While Pulse might be just a taster of their forthcoming second album, they’re still celebrating its release with a headline performance at The Tyne Bar on Sunday 2nd April with support from Baker Island and Tchotchke, both of whom Garcia Cisneros is highly enthusiastic about. “Baker Island and Tchotchke follow their own directions and we admire that. We’re delighted to welcome raucous noise-pop (Baker island) and shoegaze tinted indie-pop (Tchotchke) in a celebration of our diverse music scene.”
Pulse is released on Friday 31st March. Twist Helix play The Tyne Bar on Sunday 2nd April.