20 Questions With TWOFEW!
SBS: TWOFEW! We are certainly gettin’ to know ya aren’t we!?! All in all, I’m tryin’ to put together FIFTY questions-plus for ya here in 2022 and rackin’ my brain as to what I might ask ya next. We’ll get to all that good stuff as we cruise through this interview together – we’re stoked to have ya back as always my friends, you’re part of the family permanently now after your appearance on SBS Live This Week in the video-interview you were kind enough to do with us. That being said…oh boy…here we go…this would technically be the first time we’ve had ya answer questions in-print…and we kinda gotta assume that not everybody out there has seen what we put onscreen with ya yet…which means, we gotta at least come up with some kind of intro here to make sure everyone’s on the same page & knows what TWOFEW is all about. Hmm… Tell ya what – I’ll leave it wide-open for ya – how would you choose to introduce your band to the readers here on our pages and what would you like them to know about your history so far?
TWOFEW: First off, to everyone: thanks for reading/listening/watching!
We’re a five-piece piano-rock band from Phoenix that’s trying to change things up by incorporating sounds you know and love into something that’s new and interesting. We hope you dig our sound.
SBS: This might seem trivial…but I have the feeling it actually does get talked about when a band is being created…one of the most raging debates out there on the internet today…which is to go with a nice sized regular-ass font, or big, bold, and ALL-FREAKIN’-CAPS. You chose to go LARGE. You also took on another controversial issue – two words, or one word. You chose to go with one – TWOFEW – that’s you, yes? Am I crazy, or do the tiny details like this actually get debated back & forth behind the scenes?
TWOFEW: This is a great question. From a branding perspective, we felt that all-caps was the way to go for sure. The name of the band resonated because when Danielle and I formed the band, we were two few members shy of a traditional four-piece rock band. Since we were married, we decided to merge the letters into one nifty band name. We then made it all-caps because we knew this band was going to be VERYBIG.
SBS: You are clearly no strangers to success at this point in your careers, even so early on into this band of yours collectively as a five-piece – you’ve got singles like “Lips Blue” and “GONE” that are closing-in quickly on something absolutely monumental like ten million listens & clicks apiece over on your page at Soundcloud – that’s INCREDIBLE, and congratulations on that…honestly, that’s just mind-blowing. Is it mind-blowing? It SHOULD be mind-blowing, shouldn’t it be? How often do you take a moment to really recognize just how awesome that is & reflect on the FACT that MILLIONS of people are tuning into your music around the world? I ain’t just rubbin’ your nuts TWOFEW…I’d be walking around in a permanent daze and trying not to let my head swell like a balloon with all my own hot air. Is this something that you’re really all that conscious of? Do you feel some kind of pressure to now keep that trend going as strong as it has been? Millions are no joke y’all…that’s a tough standard to keep up every time, ain’t it?
TWOFEW: Humbled. That aptly describes how we all feel at this point. Honored. Another great description: Flattered. More Encouraged!
The entire point of making art is to share it with the world. When it does get shared on this type of level that makes people and decision-makers in the industry turn heads, you know you’re onto something special.
SBS: What IF…and I’m just hypothesizin’ here so don’t go gettin’ all riled up now…but what IF *gasp – what IF one day, a TWOFEW song only received hundreds of thousands of hits instead of millions – does that necessarily imply it wouldn’t be as good, based on the way the people listen to music these days? I guess what I’m asking is, are the numbers an accurate way to measure the success YOU are seeking out? If it ain’t all about the numbers TWOFEW, then what IS the best way to measure your success as a band?
TWOFEW: Even 1 listen is awesome. 1 million = more awesome. 10 million, well shit. If a song doesn’t perform as well as another, that’s just life. You can’t drop tunes and then demand unruly things from the universe and the music gods. Some songs perform better than others for whatever reason. We just keep focusing on cranking out new material.
SBS: Obviously that’ll all be a bridge you cross…maybe, one day in the future – as it stands, it already looks like your latest single “The War” is well on its way to that first million, and it hasn’t even been out for a month yet. You’re already rackin’ up hundreds of thousands of views since its release to your page at Soundcloud…and…lemme just have a quick look here…get out my calculator…carry the seven…divide by nine…multiply by pi…RIGHT – I’ve got it here now – I’ve calculated the hits on “The War” at Spotify. ZERO! Clearly because it’s not posted up there…yet – but what’s the story? What about Bandcamp and Tidal and Deezer and…ohhhh you get it, it’s never-ending. That being said, we all have our favorite spots for a reason – what is it that has you going with Soundcloud as opposed to the corporate overlords at Spotify straight outta the gate…is there a reason as to why TWOFEW hasn’t chosen to blanket the internet with their tunes on every possible outlet to this point, or is that coming up in the future plans?
TWOFEW: Here’s the problem with cheap streaming services: they dampen your sound.
Our mantra is simple. We pour our lifeblood, hearts and souls into a final mix. It’s hard work. It’s expensive. It’s time-consuming. Then it gets dampened by a lousy streaming service and sounds like crap.
Yes. We’re audiophiles.
Our platforms of choice are Audio Mack and Tidal because songs sound amazing on them.
Have a listen and hear for yourself: https://audiomack.com/twofewrocks
SBS: Tell us everything about your latest single “The War” – what do you want the people to know?
TWOFEW: The War was written by Danielle, David and Michael Lazar as a way to symbolize the troubling times everyone goes through. There are days for us all – or most of us – where we literally feel like OUR world is on fire. We all have skeletons in our closet. We all have things we wish we could take back. We all have shit to deal with. We all have drama, bad memories, fights, etc. Sometimes, it’s a war.
Ironically, The War was written months before the disaster in Europe. In a strange turn of events, it’s candidly also suited for that, too.
SBS: How does that concept, end up becoming suited for an animated ZOMBIE video for “The War?”
TWOFEW: We wanted to figure out something cool, different and fun. Why not do something super original like zombies in an animated video – where music is the boss. Sign us up… I mean, everyone loves zombies.
SBS: You’ve kept us all waitin’ on that video for a hot minute or two now TWOFEW…so what’s goin’ on, what’s the holdup…who’s palms do we gotta grease around here to get some cartoons up in here? Have YOU seen the official video for “The War” yet, or are we still waitin’ on some last minute tweaks behind the scenes? Your site says it “drops soon” – well WHAT, my friends, is the heckin’ definition of SOON?
TWOFEW: We really thought we had bitten off more than we could chew here (all puns intended). Character design took 2 months. Storyboarding took 3 weeks. Animation took 2 months. Rendering is almost done. You can see the trailer… finally!
TWOFEW: Being in an animated zombie music video is priceless. I mean, it’s zombies. You’re a cartoon killing them. You get to play music too. Enough said.
SBS: Now…if we’re talkin’ about zombies…chances are, there’s gonna be some people-munchin’ goin’ on – yes? So…what’s the deal? Are we about to witness some serious NSFW type-stuff – or did you go with the PG rating? How gruesome & graphic is “The War” going to be in the video coming out SOON?
TWOFEW: I hope so. I’ve only seen small bits. Our animation crew is working in Ukraine and that, naturally, and ironically, delayed the hell out of this film. I am not sure how graphic it will be – but it looks pretty cool so far.
SBS: And am I correct about this – for Michael and Dani…this ain’t even actually your first time being animated? I seem to remember seeing some clip posted up from the past music you’ve made…a totally different type of tune than I’ve heard from TWOFEW – with Dreamworks animation? I mean…I gotta ask about that, right? What’s the history of y’all cartoonin’ it up & how did that whole project come about?
TWOFEW: Before Dani and Michael formed TWOFEW they were in another band (name redacted). We had some friends over at DreamWorks that did textures for films, and they hooked us up big with a film called Kyle’s Corner. Ironically, that video got nearly half a million plays on Facebook, after which the band wanted to kick Dani out. Go figure.
When Dani did get kicked out (Michael was outvoted), we formed TWOFEW, disbanded the other group and never looked back. It was awesome getting to play with more talented musicians who have the drive and character to make it in this industry. After nine years of being held back by members who didn’t have what it takes, in under 9 months with members that do, this band is making a name for itself. It makes perfect sense to me.
SBS: You teamed up with the legendary talents of Brendan Dekora as well for the production of “The War” – how did that partnership start up, and how did that help shape the sound of the new single in the final results? Your main homie Chris Lawrie is involved too of course – so how does that all work anyhow? Is one bringing something to the mix that the other couldn’t? Specific roles for specific tasks? As always, I’m interested in how everyone finds the room & space to do what they need to do – so how did you all end up approaching “The War” to combine all these talents with the same shared vision?
TWOFEW: First, let me start by praising Lawrie. The one and only. He’s helped us develop a style, sound, voice, composition and unique vibe like no other. I work hand-in-hand with him on vocal coaching and style and timing to grow as a musician. He’s one of my best friends and he also is one of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with.
As a producer, his job is to get us there across the finish line. But David and I (executive producers) felt that having a rockstar to complement on engineering and mixing would take us even further and turn some heads at the major labels.
In entered Brendan Dekora (check him out at: www.brendandekora.com) – who offered to mix our sound with a major label style that he’s developed over three decades of working with the biggest stars in the business.
We use a variety of studios to get our sound with Lawrie. Then we dump that sound over to Brendan to mix and master. It’s the best of both worlds, and really, it’s like living in a dream. If you’re a band setting out to make it in this industry, you need a friend like Brendan helping you get that sound. Lucky for us, he agreed to work with us.
I mean, who gets to have their sound mixed by the master, a dude who recently just won ANOTHER Grammy for his work with Trent Reznor? Seriously, look it up.
SBS: I am also hearing some rumblings about a secret underground show popping up at the end of this month, where TWOFEW will be playing LIVE – any truth to these rumors that you wanna share/confirm?
TWOFEW: Ah yes, this show is going to be so sick. So… a good friend of ours, Travis, has got a big birthday coming up and he asked us and Cyngill (Chris Lawrie) to perform a top-secret popup show for his b-day. Due to the popularity and limited space, it’s invite-only.
SBS: Supposing there IS truth to these rumors…and of course, I’m not saying that IS the case – I just know it to be true – BUT…is this going to officially open the flood gates for TWOFEW playing live shows?
TWOFEW: We have a lot of shows in the works. We’re working with another band called MarvelousXE (check them out online at: https://marvelousxe.com). We plan on teaming up to take on the LA circuit in the near future to play, and I quote their marvelously talented lead singer: “as many shows possible.”
By the way, Brendan is also the mixer and engineer of that group. What a small world Hollywood is.
SBS: I gotta say…after watching the whole video-interview we did together onscreen, it really seems like TWOFEW is in a fantastic place right now…not just the kickass studio, but I mean like, you know, philosophically & shit. There’s a great sense of camaraderie & respect shared between ya…ultimately, I think bands that have the kind of bond y’all seem to have are the ones that really stick it out and go the distance. So how do you oil that machine, know what I mean? How do you maintain the engine of TWOFEW and keep the relationships between you all as strong as they are now over the years to come? How do you go about making the most of your time together, inside and outside of making your music?
TWOFEW: For starters, Danielle and I (Michael) are married, and Dave (my brother) is our best friend. So that part is easy-peasy. David and I went to high school with Liebbe at New School for the Arts and have been friends ever since. John was the first to respond to our Band Mix ad when we were seeking a drummer. We hired him on the spot and never looked back.
SBS: Has “Sir” John Grigsby caught on yet, or do I have to keep making sure that this becomes a thing?
TWOFEW: Sir John Grigsby is one-of-a-kind talent that fits right in. I couldn’t ask to have a better person or better friend in my band. He’s awesome.
SBS: Here’s an excellent journalistic cop-out/fun experiment. You’ve taken a whole bunch of questions throughout the course of your career from people like myself, and a ton of your fans along the way – is there some question you thought you would have been asked by someone by now that still hasn’t ever come up – and obviously, what’s the answer? You don’t really mind doing my job for me now do ya?
TWOFEW: Hmmm, this is a good question. I don’t actually have an answer for this one, sorry.
SBS: Do you feel like “The War” represents another milestone for the band in some way, or another highlight achievement in the TWOFEW legacy? Is that always the case with every song that gets put out? Should that always be the case when a new song or video gets put out? What makes “The War” a significant & unique contribution to TWOFEW’s catalog so far – how is it different from what you’ve done in the past, and what would you say this moment represents in the band’s evolution overall?
TWOFEW: The War represents a culmination of a fine-tuned process that’s nearly complete.
We’ve finally developed a writing process, practicing process and recording process as well as mixing and mastering and marketing method that we’re proud of.
SBS: How far forward are you looking ahead from here TWOFEW – what comes after “The War?”
TWOFEW: We are dropping a sequel to The War soon called “When We Save the World.” It will have the sequel to our Zombie animated music video from The War to complete the two-part series. Yep, you’re getting 2 zombie films from us.
In early August, we head to LA to cut two new singles at Foo Fighter’s famous and mysterious Studio 606 with Brendan and Lawrie. We have two awesome songs we are developing called “Isn’t Easy” and “Drown” that will be accompanied by an awesome road trip music video. We’re stoked.
SBS: We might…maybe…have to cycle through a few of these questions when we have ya back on our show once again for another appearance on SBS Live This Week – which I am freakin’ STOKED for, by the way. I’ll find a way to switch it up & make it interesting. Here at the end of an interview though, I’m about as predictable as anyone could possibly be…heck that though, I like to call it tradition – it’s much more comforting. That tradition of course being the SBS Open Floor…the ol’ space at the end where you can say anything else you’d like to say to us all or talk about something I didn’t have the chance to bring up. You KNOW I’ll be in touch soon with a whole new question set for your next video-interview with us – SOON – for now, leave the people with some final thoughts from TWOFEW – thank you for everything!
TWOFEW: Foremost, a million thank yous to each and every fan out there. Whether you’re a diehard listener or you just caught word of us. This is all possible because of you! THANK YOU
Secondarily, a HUGE thank you to Chris Lawrie for helping us get this far and being on board for the future.
We are stoked to get in on some shows with MarvelousXE – thanks to all of them!
Finally, a skyscraper-sized thank you to Brendan Dekora for adding his brilliance in engineering, mixing and mastering to our tracks.
The future is looking bright.
Find out more about TWOFEW at the official pages below!
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