Hidden Pony is pleased to announce the release of Twin Within’s debut album, Horizontal Lines on July 10th. Hamilton’s duo of Steve McKay and Alex Samaras melded their musical resources to become Twin Within. The album is a subtle convergence of meticulously crafted arrangements with spontaneous single takes, expertly co-produced with string & wind arrangements by Kirk Starkey. Don’t miss them on tour this summer, with stops in Hamilton and Toronto (more to be announced) and this fall at Supercrawl in Hamilton, which was just announced on Wednesday (see below for full tour date information).
Bernie comes from a place of discovery, with Steve McKay relaying, “Writing melodies and coming up with arrangements comes really easy to me, but writing lyrics is tough. When we were writing songs for this record, I was listening to a lot of Elton John and thinking about that whole Bernie Taupin lyricist-partner thing. It’s like it would be so much easier if somebody else would write the lyrics for me and I could just hammer out the hooks”. Describing the writing process, he continues, “We were going for a bit of a James Taylor vibe with the arrangement – it’s just an acoustic guitar, tic-tac bass, piano and floor tom. We specifically recorded this with a classical music engineer, Kirk Starkey, with the hope that he might pull a little more out of the acoustic instruments and the Church where we recorded. I think he did a pretty good job”.
Twin Within began in the springtime. Outdoors is where Steve McKay and Alex Samaras started rehearsing. Everything opens up when you play outside, so they set out to make a record with an “outdoor” sound.
Steve and Alex have strikingly similar timbre, and their voices blend seamlessly. It’s often difficult to tell them apart. Similar to how The Beach Boys were meant to sing together, Steve and Alex’s voices have a natural affinity beyond technical ability. There is a trust, and an understanding, that exists between them. They want to be surprised and challenged. Twin Within follow in the tradition of the Righteous Brothers, Walker Brothers, or Simon & Garfunkel, but there’s something uniquely current about their sound.
Steve McKay comes from a long line of drummers: uncles, grandfathers, fathers, and great-grandfathers. He has had many chances to live out his percussive destiny with the likes of Tusks, Allie X and especially as the percussive force behind Bruce Peninsula.
Alex Samaras does not stop singing. In any given week, you can hear him Tuvan throat singing with his vocal ensemble GREX, as well as singing back-up in Toronto’s favourite Motown band, The Big Sound. He has also spent time in New York City, working with contemporary arts icon Meredith Monk and her vocal ensemble to perform in-concert versions of Monk’s work through multi-disciplinary performances. Alex currently leads his own trio covering forgotten songs from Broadway.
With Twin Within, Alex’s vocals enhance the arrangements with the same depth and originality that an Owen Pallet string arrangement would. His contributions are not mere background vocals, but essential to the sound of the whole record. Make sure to follow Twin Within online for news and tour dates.