Twitch the Ripper, the electronica duo from Connecticut, debuted their LP “Bodiless” this February 1, 2011. We caught up with Jon Dobyns and asked him about his musical influences as well as future tour plans.
Life-Is-Awesome: How did you and Lonn meet and form Twitch the Ripper?
Jon: We became friends probably 13 years ago. We met through a mutual friend that I met in high school. And I was just looking to start playing music and a friend of mine said he knew someone who plays drums and he introduced me to Lonn. Throughout high school and post-high school we were in bands together, touring nationally and internationally in other kinds of bands, other kinds of music. And then in 2007 we decided to do something a little different and [create] a band that was based on a lot of our influences because we hadn’t had the opportunity to do that. And that’s how we were formed. And then we just booked studio time probably from the formation of the band and then went in 6 months later and did our first EP in the middle of 2009.
LIA: What does the name Twitch the Ripper mean?
Jon: It’s basically a play on Italian horror cinema. I’ve been influenced by horror movies my entire life so I wanted to do something that I thought I could be influenced artistically for music through horror movies. It’s really a play on certain movies directed by Mario Bava.
LIA: Growing up, what kind of music did you listen to?
Jon: Growing up, I was exposed to metal in elementary school and early middle school, so that’s how I really got interested in music. And then I remember — this is funny — probably the very first single that Depeche Mode came out with post-Violator, maybe 1992 or 1993, and they showed that video called I Feel You — that was my first time being exposed to electronic music. It had to be like in 4th or 5th grade. And so that really started my love for the genre. Then throughout middle school and high school I was always into electronic music and I got involved in punk and hardcore at the same time. That’s where I met Lonn, playing punk and hardcore bands from 1997 all the way until 2007.
LIA: Now, I know that you gave away a free single last month, and I was wondering what is your opinion or feelings about artists giving away free music?
Jon: I think it’s really important to give stuff away for free. Especially in this time and age. I feel it’s important to give stuff away for free, just for exposure. And not just necessarily giving away that song we did last month — over the course of the past 6 months we made lots of samplers to promote the Bodiless record and at our shows we were just giving them away for free, and anybody who wanted them could take them. I think you have to do what you can just to get your name out there and get people listening.
LIA: Describe Bodiless. How would you describe the music on your new album?
Jon: We are very influenced by industrial electronica and older sounds from that genre, so what we wanted to do was make an electronic-based record but have a lot of organic and human elements to it, and that’s why vocally it’s not very effect-heavy, like you would hear in a lot of other industrial or electronic acts. And we spent a lot of time working on song structure and making the choruses very apparent because a lot of the bands we’re influenced by have written timeless songs and timeless records, they really concentrate on the songwriting, and not just parts. We get that a lot, where people say as an electronic band we don’t have a standard electronic structure, and that’s just because a lot of our influences come from more pop friendly bands.
LIA: Do you prefer working independently or do you see yourself in the future signing with a major label?
Jon: I could definitely see us signing with a label in the future. It all depends. We always want to be in control of what we do and we always want to have creative control. I don’t think Lonn and I would feel comfortable signing over those kinds of rights to a label and being told what we can and cannot do. And I’m sure, you know, there are lots of independent labels that give the band creative freedom to do whatever they want. So when the right opportunity comes I’m sure we’d be more than happy to sign to a label that gives us that kind of freedom.
LIA: Can you tell us about your upcoming tour plans?
Jon: We’ve just been confirmed to support My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and 16Volt for a big national U.S. tour, and it’s going to be in two parts: the first leg will start at the end of April, and I believe it starts in the Midwest, I think in Ohio. And then that will run for 2 ½ to 3 weeks. And then we have a month off and it picks up again in the middle of June and goes to mid-July, I believe. And I’m not sure where that leg starts but I do know it ends in L.A. All the tour dates haven’t been confirmed yet. I think we’ll be able to announce the tour and all the dates in a week or two, at least for the first part. We’re really excited to be supporting such great acts on our first national tour off our first record. So it’s really exciting to have this opportunity.
Discover more about Twitch The Ripper and Bodiless here