Defining his own path with a rather incredible 9-track release, Ellery Twining sat down with us a few days ago and let us know more about Results, the creative process, the best place to watch music in his local area, and the depth of the lyrical intent of this self-trained innovative artist who has made something rather special here.
Llewelyn: Thanks so much for taking time out from your busy day of making such inspiring music to chat with us Ellery. Firstly, who are you inspired by each day and what makes you happy in life?
Ellery: My goal in this life was not to make the same mistakes my father had made. To not repeat the same patterns. And to break a bloodline. As a musician, I simply wanted to give back the moments that had shaped me, a reciprocal reality. I had an argument with my mother about ten years ago, during the Obama years, and she chastised me for being ignorant of the immigration issue in America, having lived in “lily white Mystic” my whole life. As a method of protection, I changed the subject. I then realized I had been paid to play music in 23 of the 50 States.
Llewelyn: Secondly, please tell us all about your new 9-track release, RESULTS. This is something rather unique and powerful. Lyrical awareness of the world seems to be your strength. What does this new project mean to you and what is the vision behind it?
Ellery: I created specific parameters for my debut REVENGE, because I simply wanted to be able to finish it! As I began working on songs after I released that record, I found myself writing ideas that seemed to be a sequel to REVENGE, and an electric guitar-based record I referred to as “Prism Point”, a working title. However, a few months into the process I became bored with the new acoustic songs, and I said to myself, “Why do you want to make REVENGE again?” I then began to find a common thread between the two records, acoustic songs that worked alongside certain electric tunes. That is the composition of RESULTS.
Llewelyn: I went to Connecticut years ago during a trip as a camp counsellor. It’s so beautiful there with so many trees and much calmness. Is this where you grew up and have lived your whole life? What makes it special for you?
Ellery: I have lived in Mystic, CT for my entire life. There is a psychic vortex that runs beneath the river. And I can prove its existence. For real.
Llewelyn: With no traditional singing training, do you feel like it actually helped you naturally or hindered you at all? Also, your sound has such a unique construction, how has this developed over time?
Ellery: Having been a member of many rock ensembles as a drummer, one soon learns the limitations placed on your creativity. As a result of this insight, I began writing and publishing poetry during the summer of 1988. In Mystic, during the 1990s, there was a robust poetry / spoken word element to the culture in town at the time. Hozomeen Press was the quintessential indie publishing house of that era, printing quarterly magazines as well as a full roster of poets from the Mystic scene. In addition, there was an incredibly competitive weekly poetry reading in the basement bar of a Mystic restaurant that dated to 1789. The atmosphere was electric, and that is where I honed my skills as a spoken word performer. When I began to apply that experience to the songs I was writing, as a drummer it was fairly easy to create a rhythm inside the melody, within the syntax of the words.
Llewelyn: If you could be the President of the USA for 4 years, what would you hope to accomplish and stand for? We seem to live in a rather odd world. Do you think humanity can get back to a more relaxed state with fewer wars and conflicts?
Ellery: There seems to be an interesting timeline between the immediate effects of climate change, (as well as a myriad of other problems) and the possibility of answering our most pressing energy and economic issues with the realization of fusion technology.
Llewelyn: Has there been anyone in your life who’s helped you get to where you are now? Also, have you had any interactions with a fan, friend or family member where you’ve realized…this is who I make music for.
Ellery: My wife Michelle is the only reason I am able to be Ellery Twining. During the pandemic, I approached the members of my very first band 17 Relics about releasing our last record which never saw the light of day. None of us were happy with the recording, which is why it had remained unreleased for 28 years. I even suggested that we re-record the songs as a caveat, to no avail. The same disagreements that brought the band to a halt still existed. I sent a text to the Relics bass player David Bentley, who also plays all of the bass on the Ellery Twining recordings, that I had a realization. As good as the songs were, as competent musicians navigating a difficult business, the only reason we had any success was because my parents let us use their basement as a practice space for free. And that David’s parents gave us full access to the equipment of their engineering firm-~ professional copiers we made our press kits on with no charge, and the company van to get to our earliest out-of-town gigs. I have always been committed to making music to give back to the community that liberated me as a teenager. I see it as a responsibility.
Llewelyn: Lastly, where do you see yourself creatively in the next 5 years and is there anywhere you’d love to tour in the world?
Ellery: One lesson I learned (amongst many) during the pandemic was:
How long is an hour?
How long is a day?
How long is a year?
How much can you accomplish in an hour?
I was at the Coney Island NY Daft Punk show in 2007, and as such, I do not yearn for places I have never been.
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Interviewed by Llewelyn Screen