Interview: All Tvvins

Deputy Entertainment Editor Lauren McCarthy chats with vocalist Conor Adams about the Irish music scene, band names and why change is good.

“Our new album is a collection of all sorts – you could look at it in a billion ways.  It’s a reflection upon death and life. It’s kind of just about being a human being.”

This is a fitting description for All Tvvins’ debut album llVV. It veers between electropop and indie-rock, from the peppy glockenspiel opening of ‘Book’. to the thundering beat of ‘Darkest Ocean.’ It’s the kind of music you don’t know you know, until it’s blasting in the car and you realise you’ve been singing along the whole time.

The pair comprising of Conor Adams and Lar Hayes have certainly attained a lot of success and a lot of airplay in the last few months, with their debut album nominated for Album of the Year for the RTÉ Choice Music Prize. I ask vocalist and bass player Conor if they expected the album to garner as much success as it has. “Well… I don’t know”, he laughs modestly. “When you put out music you hope people will listen to it, but you can never tell if they are going to like it or not. The general consensus seems to be good, people seem to like it so that makes us happy.” Undoubtedly the Irish audience has been very receptive of the duo’s venture with llVV, which made it to number 2 in the Irish album charts in 2016.

Conor tells me that the album has been a creation two years in the making. It’s a product of countless trips back and forth between Dublin and England, a lot of jamming together, making some great songs, and some not-so great ones. He credits the help of “cool dude” producer Matt Schwartz, who has worked with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Cheryl and Olly Murs. Their record company, Warner Music has also given them invaluable aid. “We’d go in everyday to write loads of songs and different bits and bobs. Then whatever sounded good we’d show them to our manager or our record label and then they’d come back with what they all thought about them. It was good having a few people to run the songs by. We have loads and loads of songs and ideas but they’re not all good. Some of them are better than others, so it’s nice to get that outside opinion from someone who is not in the band.”

The Dublin based duo have had their fair share of musical experience before releasing llVV. Conor played with band The Cast of Cheers, while Lar worked with Abedisi Shank. Together however, they have been touring for the last few years, going from festivals like Longitude and Electric Picnic, to gigging across Europe in cities like Paris and Amsterdam. Conor laughs, saying they have always been fortunate with the audience at their gigs.

“We’re lucky, the crowds we get are always kind of bananas, they give a lot of energy. But there’s always something special about coming back to Dublin. Even just the Irish crowd in general are always amazing. It’s just we’re home, we feel more comfortable, they can see that and it’s just more natural.”

Dublin has certainly been home to All Tvvins. Conor tells me they wrote a lot of the music in their studio based in the capital and even played a headline gig in the Olympia in October. He remarks that it’s always hard to choose a favourite performance but if he had to he admits it would probably be the Olympia: “We sold it out and that was pretty epic. It’s nice to come home after weeks away and then play your own headline show in someplace that you know.” Dublin is where All Tvvins originated, the pair having met through the music scene in Dublin and eventually deciding to play together: “And this is the monster we’ve made!”

I asked Conor to divulge more information on their quirky name – which he assured me is pronounced All Twins and not “All Tvvins” like I initially thought. “It was originally called Twins and then it turns out there’s about a million bands called Twins. So then we made the w two v’s because we liked the name Twins and wanted to keep it. But then it turns out there’s a whole bunch of bands that are like that as well! So to have some symmetry we put the word ‘All’ in. There’s two l’s in All and two v’s in Tvvins, so that’s two sets of twins – just to be clever about it.”

The pair are up against stiff competition in the RTÉ Choice Music Prize on the 9th of March in the form of other quirkily named groups, with albums nominated from Overhead the Albatross, Bantum and James Vincent McMorrow to name a few. However, the pair seem to draw inspiration from these Irish acts with Conor struggling to choose a favourite amongst the Irish music scene today. “There’s the likes of U2, who are probably the biggest band in the world. Rusangano Family are savage, Lisa Hannigan, We Cut Corners, god there’s so many. There are so many amazing artists, but you know what I don’t have to have a favourite, I can love them all!”

Finally, I ask him if there are talks of another album for All Tvvins, to which he tells me they are always working, always writing new music, always exercising their creative mind. He expresses the constant need for change in music, saying what they released last year for llVV won’t necessarily bear any similarity to their next album. “Our next album is going to be a year from now, or a year and a half, or two years and by then we’ll all be different people. We’ll all have different experiences.  it will change, it will always change, and that’s a good thing. It should. You never want to write an album and then say “Let’s do that again. That’s just boring as fuck.”