The Twelves Talk Mixtapes, Radiohead, Daft Punk, Europe vs. America, Coachella, and More
The Twelves are scheduled to perform on Sunday at 910 Live.
After their raucous remixes of MIA, Asobi Seksu, and Erlend Oye garnered rave reviews on the Interwebs, the producing pair found themselves performing on BBC, signed to deal with Modular Records, and gigging at SXSW and other tastemaking festivals around the world. Miguel and Oliveira are still getting mad love for such mixtapes as The Twelfth Hour and Twelves to Midnight, and are even scheduled to appear Coachella in April.
Before heading to Indio, however, The Twelves will stage a session on Sunday at 910 Live in Tempe. If you'd like a primer on the duo and their addictive mixes (try giving 'em a listen without getting hooked, we dare you), be sure to peruse the e-mail interview that New Times did with The Twelves.
New Times: What is each of your musical backgrounds The Twelves?
The Twelves: : We were both in indie rock bands before we started The Twelves It was good, but [it] soon dawned on us that we weren't quite into it as much as we should be. So we started experimenting together with loops and Ableton and before you knew it, we were sending bootlegs to blogs and getting really good feedback.
New Times: Your mixtapes are a thing of beauty. How much work do you put into 'em:
The Twelves: : A lot. I think people underestimate how much time we put in. When we play a live show it is slightly different, but if we are doing a studio mix for a blog or podcast, it can take literally weeks of planning as we want it to be perfect. Or at least as perfect as it can be.
New Times: How much do you agonize over the finished product?
The Twelves: : Massively. Our management are always saying that we should just let it go, but when it is something that represents us, we agonize over it for ages and tweak things here and there until we are completely satisfied with it.
New Times: How to you determine which songs to include?
The Twelves: : It's a combination of what we have to work with at the time and what is hot in the musical landscape at the time. We're not in any way genre-specific as we generally take stems of tracks and remix them as we're playing so we can play anything from rock tunes to house music, so long as we can put our spin on it we'll definitely have a go.
New Times: How much of your remixes or mixtapes are original, and how much is working with existing songs?
The Twelves: : Mostly we only use the vocals from other people's tracks. The vocal is the best part of the song to work with, we have found, because it creates the basic structure and melodies for the track. We never mess with the timing in the vocals, just load it in and build around it so that whatever we do with the rest of the track, it is still in some way distinguishable to the original.
New Times: Do you make good songs even better?
The Twelves: : We like to think that we add an element of flair to already great tracks.
New Times: Are there certain songs you've wanted to include but have been unable to use?
The Twelves: : In terms of playing them, not really. But in terms of actually releasing them, we have one that we would desperately like to get out to the public - The "Reckoner" remix of Radiohead. We love that track and I think it is probably the one that sticks in our fans' minds the most also.
New Times: What tools do you use to create your music?
The Twelves: : Ableton Live, a Macbook Pro and some MIDI keyboards and soundcards. We recently made the move from PCs to Macs [and] are still getting used to it, but it is a much more stable platform to work with.
New Times: How much of your output is original work versus remixes and mixtapes?
The Twelves: : In the past the majority of our work has been on remixes. That was how we came into the spotlight and where many think our talent lies. But more recently we have been working on original material with a view to reeling something this year. We don't think anyone has heard the true sound of The Twelves yet, so this is something we really want to show to the people.
New Times : Where have your travels take you guys lately?
The Twelves: : All over. We spend a lot of time in Europe these days in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and will be visiting Istanbul on our next tour. We've also been to Singapore and traveled through North America quite a lot.
New Times: What are the crowds like at your gigs typically?
The Twelves: : It's quite a mix of ages, which is really cool. We have really young kids that are into us, but then some of the slightly older crowd too. This mix means that the atmosphere is generally quite relaxed, which suits us perfectly. I think people enjoy it more when the atmosphere is like this.
New Times: Who's better to perform for - European crowds vs. American crowds?
The Twelves: : Each has their own merits. American crowds seem to be a little more animated that the European crowds, but the European crowds are very clued up on what is and what is not hot. You kind of have to tailor your sets for the territory, so we might play a little harder in the U.S., but go with some more obscure samples and beats in Europe.
New Times: How do gigs on either continent compare to those in your home country?
The Twelves: : I'd say that the Brazilian crowd is more like the European crowds in that they are there for pure musical enjoyment. Clubbing can be an extremely social experience in Brazil, where people really dress up and make it special, so you don't get the frantic, sweaty moshpit action but you do get a lot of attention paid to what you are playing.
New Times: Who'd win in a fight between you guys and Database (either musically or otherwise)?
The Twelves: : Us obviously! Heh-heh.
New Times: What's been the most memorable gig so far in your careers?
The Twelves: : Probably EXIT Festival. It's one of those festivals you always hear about and i was really special to play there. It was an eye opening experience and something we'd really like to do again.
New Times: What do you have planned for your set on Sunday at 910 Live?
The Twelves: : Well that would be telling! We have some new bits and pieces we have been working on so it should be a good show.
New Times: Will the show be a live performance of more a DJ set? Which do you prefer to do for performances and why?
The Twelves: : We only really do the live sets, due to the equipment and way that we play. Neither of us "DJs" as such, so we will continue to mix and make our beats as we go along. It's more exciting for us and the public this way I think.
New Times: How important is your upcoming gig Coachella? Is it the biggest music festival you've performed at?
The Twelves: : It's pretty big. We're definitely looking forward to it, and especially glad that we have some time off around it so that we can really enjoy it and catch some of the acts. We don't often get a chance to do that as we are playing somewhere else the next day, so this is a really good opportunity.
New Times : Your rise to prominence was helped by the blogosphere. In your opinion, have blogs helped level the playing field in the music world where the best stuff is getting recognition?
The Twelves: : I think it has definitely made everything easier to access so people are more up to date with new music. It's given many producers an opportunity to have their music heard by a wider audience that was only really available through radio and MTV before. It's great, it would be better though if the illegal downloading stopped!
New Times: Who's opinion do you value more -- bloggers, fans, or music critics?
The Twelves: : Everyone has their place and for us they are all important for different things. The bloggers help to promote the music to the fans, the fans listen to the music and buy it or tickets to see us play and the critics help us reach the industry as a whole more.
New Times: Which blogs are you fans of?
The Twelves: : There are so many, but I think the Hype [Machine] blog has done us the most favors.
New Times: What's been the crowning achievement of your careers thus far?
The Twelves: : Probably working with Groove Armada and Bacardi. We did some remixes for them and it was all promoted through the Bacardi music program. It was a great experience.
New Times: You guys have made many jokes in other interviews about drinking or being drunk. What's your preferred poison?
New Times: I think all Brazilians have a special place in their heart for a good rum-based drink. It depends what's on offer, but generally a couple of premium beers and some rum.
New Times: You've been called "Rio's answer to Daft Punk." How does that feel? Have you ever shared a stage or bill with them?
The Twelves: : Not yet, but we really hope to one day. It's fantastic to be compared to them and we hope to be as successful one day.
New Times: Who would be your dream pick to work with?
The Twelves: : I think Jamiroquai would be a good one to work with. His general style of music would suit one of our remixes. If you're listening JK, we're ready!
New Times: What's the biggest misconception about the The Twelves?
The Twelves: : That we don't do anything on stage. I think some people see the laptops and think we're just up there checking our Facebook accounts while an MP3 plays through the soundsystem.
New Times: Most importantly, when's the next mixtape coming out?
The Twelves: : We're in discussions with some people at the moment, but it would be unfair to say anything at this time. We are working on it though so there will be something for Twelves fans soon.
New Times: Any other albums or projects in the works you'd like to share info about?
The Twelves: : The majority of our time is spent in our studio working on new material. We have a couple of things in the pipeline, but for the moment it is just nailing down some original material and building on it.
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