Twin Temple: “We’re carrying the torch for rock’n’roll’s main traditions: horniness and Satanism”

Twin Temple are all about Satan, shagging and the swinging sounds of the ’60s. As they celebrate the light of Lucifer on their new album God Is Dead, they tell us about life on the Left Hand Path, sexual liberation, and offending right-wing loudmouths…

Twin Temple: “We’re carrying the torch for rock’n’roll’s main traditions: horniness and Satanism”
Nick Ruskell

Twin Temple love Satan. Love him. They drop the guy’s name constantly in their lyrics and when they talk. Their music – a flamboyant, sharp-dressed, hip-shaking throwback to the American rock’n’roll of the 1950s and ’60s – is dubbed Satanic Doo-Wop. On their new album, God Is Dead, the exact measure of what they’re all about can be found in a jazzy, cheeky number entitled, with absolutely no ambiguity, Let’s Have A Satanic Orgy.

Right now, singer Alexandra Jones and guitarist husband Zach are telling Kerrang! about disposing of Bibles. Hundreds, by their count.

“We couldn’t open the door to get out of the house, there were so many,” says Alexandra. “My dad had to come and help us get rid of them all.”

Blasphemous as throwing away so many copies of The Good Book sounds, this wasn’t an intended thing. They just ended up with them. Turns out not everyone digs Twin Temple’s swinging Satanism. Among that number is U.S. right-wing blowhard Alex Jones, who took to his channels to denounce the band for their wicked ways. His followers, quite literally, threw the book at the duo. Which, on balance, was better than the death threats.

“Alex Jones called us ‘the embodiment of pure evil’, which is kind of a good quote,” chuckles Alexandra. “We were on the front page of the LA Times, about this new generation of Satanism. We ended up featured on Alex Jones, and then all these super-huge Christian news outlets picked it up.”

“They'd be saying that we were out behind the abortion clinic stealing aborted foetuses for the blood onstage and all this crazy shit,” says Zach.

“Or that we were murdering real babies,” adds Alexandra. “They said we only pretend it's fake blood onstage, but it's actually murdered baby blood.”

And so Twin Temple got doxxed, and they got sent Bibles, and they were “relentlessly harassed by fundamentalist extreme Christians” who threatened their lives and promised to come and demonstrate God’s love through violence next time they came to town. And although Alexandra and Zach had to shut down their online presence for a bit, and watch their back more than usual for a time, they also don't give a shit.

“This new record is ‘the blasphemy record’,” laughs Alexandra. “We're just gonna double-down on that shit. More blood, more sex, more horniness, more hair, more blasphemy, more everything!”

God Is Dead lives up to all this, joyously partying right under the noses of squares like Alex Jones, winking and shaking its arse right in their uptight face. Even more so than their fabulous 2019 debut, Twin Temple (Bring You Their Signature Sound… Satanic Doo-Wop), it is a sassy, mischievous celebration of life, liberation and Satanic will, not to mention the sounds of the ’60s. A Luciferian beano set to ultra-cool music drawn straight from the golden age of rock’n’roll, it’s as horny as Austin Powers in a saxophone shop, the sort of thing that would have outraged parents who saw dancing as the work of The Devil’s very own hooves.

“It’s a merging of everything we love,” says Zach. “Witchcraft, Satan, and rock’n’roll of all kinds.”

This stuff at the heart of Twin Temple goes back to the pair’s dual obsession with Satanism, record store crate digging, and the chain-breaking rebellion and hedonism of the swinging ’60s. Elaborating on the music of the decade, Alexandra points to a love of New York’s Brill Building, the hub of U.S. songwriting at the time. She's also obsessed with “1962 to 64-era Gold Star Records”, home of The Ronettes, The Crystals and Darlene Love, under the production of future murderer Phil Spector (at whose infamous LA castle the singer reveals she had a macabre murder-mystery birthday party).

Even down to the Wall Of Sound-ish production, God Is Dead is, as Alexandra hopes and Zach thanks us for commenting, so accurate that it's like a lost album from 1963. Though the pair say they’ve found a modern home among metal fans – evidenced by their recent tour with Behemoth, Midnight and Glenn Danzig, a curate of such music, obsessed with Elvis and Pretty Woman singer Roy Orbison – they also reckon they could have easily existed back then.

“There was a beautiful crossfade in the ’60s, where you had the occult revival, and then all this brilliant music all coming together,” says Alexandra. “There were bands like Black Widow, who were doing The Banishing Ritual onstage, with the giant pentagram and stuff. And Anton LaVey [author of The Satanic Bible and head of The Church Of Satan] was a huge fan of The Ronettes, so I feel like we could have existed.”

When you talk to Twin Temple – she a cross between Amy Winehouse and Elvira: Mistress Of The Dark, he a man so slick he makes Jack White look like an untrustworthy mechanic who got dressed in a hurry – they both greet and bid farewell with a big, smiley, “Hail Satan”. And truly, beyond the obvious immediate aesthetics, they fit very well with Anton LaVey’s idea of a life dedicated to oneself and using your will to develop as an individual. And, indeed, infamous British occultist Aleister ‘Wickedest Man In The World’ Crowley, and his oft-misunderstood maxim, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”

“A lot of people misinterpret that quote thinking it means do whatever you want,” says Alexandra. “And it does to a degree, but not really. It’s all about individualism, but also taking responsibility for your actions. It’s understanding that every action has a reaction and you're responsible for creating your world. That saying to me is more about finding out what makes you uniquely you. It's finding and tapping into who you are, finding that thing that excites you and makes you wake up in the morning. ”

“We've always had a rebellious inclination and a desire to transcend societal norms, what we call antinomianism,” adds Zach. “That's at the heart of Satanism, and Lucifer as a symbol was the Rebel Angel. That's always been a big part of us, and we found a new vocabulary for it. It manifested in things like punk rock, and then you realise that it's this whole philosophy, and that there's other people practicing it, and there's a lineage, and it's been going on for a very, very long time.”

To put all this through a slightly more relatable, common filter, they bring it into the context of sex positivity, women’s rights, being pro LGBTQ+. In this respect, Satanism is really a spooky word for empowerment, captured in their absolutely swinging banger Be A Slut, featuring the line, ‘Don’t try to tell me what I can do with my body.’

“It's the logical conclusion of rock’n’roll making teenagers horny, which is self-empowerment, sex positivity, a celebration of the body, which is a big thing in the Left Hand Path,” says Alexandra. “It’s about not being ashamed of having desires and living in a body and enjoying the carnality that life has to offer.

“I think we're still so repressed sexually, especially when it comes to women,” she continues. “Society has tried to instil so much shame into us, it's like a weird form of abuse or mind control to make you so ashamed of having a body and enjoying sex. Rock’n’roll for the last 60 years has encouraged people to shake their hips. We're just carrying the torch of those two traditions: horniness and Satanism.”

Or, to put it in the words of Spinal Tap’s Viv Savage: “Have a good time all of the time.” When we suggest this, they enthusiastically laugh and nod. Twin Temple aren’t going to eat your babies. But for those who see Satan’s work as that which makes people live as they want, shag who they want, dance, stay out late, be unashamedly disobedient to pointless, controlling, hypocritical dogma and make decisions that are right for themselves, they’re the perfect expression of rock’n’roll’s enduring, rebellious spirit. After all, Doo-Wop thou wilt shall be the whole of the law…

“It’s always been the Devil’s music and it always will,” laughs Zach. “So we’ve got to keep it evil.”

God Is Dead is out now via Pentagrammaton

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