HPO x TWIN WITHIN
Sunday September 15
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. The album is a subtle convergence of meticulously crafted arrangements with spontaneous single takes, expertly co-produced with string & wind arrangements by Kirk Starkey. 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. But girls like songs, so he learned how to play other instruments and write songs. Twin Within is a record of classic pop songs. Steve plays celeste, tic-tac bass, and baritone guitar on the record, in addition to the layers of percussion he is known for. Steve’s 5+ years of experience touring with Canadian baroque giants Tafelmusik and subconsciously creeps into the way he arranges Twin Within’s instrumentals. 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. Two trees rest somewhere between the expanse of the sky and the firm ground below. They sing songs directly to you, but the tunes reverberate to the heavens above. It’s Twin Within.