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Interviews

Twin Temple: Meet the Duo Who Fuse Doo-Wop with Lyrics About Satanism + Sexuality

Photo: Myung J. Chun

Please Introduce yourselves.

We are Alexandra James and Zachary James, aka Twin Temple. 

Was music an important part of your upbringing?

Definitely. We were both classically trained from a very young age and quickly turned over our talents in service of rock ‘n’ roll and the Devil.

Were you/are you involved in any other musical projects aside from Twin Temple?  
 
We signed a contract with Satan specifying, among other things, we could only spread the unholy sounds of Twin Temple. This takes up 666% of our attention. 

How and when was the Satanic doo-wop concept conceived?
 
Our sound is a reflection of all of the music we adore throughout this lifetime. We also are Satanists, practice magick, and are avid students of the Occult. In particular, we gravitate towards the Antinomianism of the Left Hand Path, which to us is essentially defined by transgression, individualism and a rejection of societal norms. Both Satanism and rock ‘n’ roll in our minds, are united by this philosophy. And yet doo-wop is a genre that’s typically marked by a certain naivety and a pop lyrical focus on uncomplicated subjects such as “teenage love.” We like inhabiting the genre in order to turn it on its head and discuss topics such as sexuality, magick, Satanism, and the Occult. 

Do Anton LaVey’s writings influence your songwriting/rituals/lifestyle?
 
To a certain extent, if you are a Satanist, it is useful to be aware of what LaVey has contributed to the field. We certainly appreciate his theatrical flair. But we feel that our brand of Satanism is our own, and incorporates our own identities, and lived experiences into the songwriting, rituals, and lifestyle. It really is a personal reflection of our Selves. For example, our unique take on Satanism and the Left Hand Path incorporates third wave/intersectional feminism, delves much deeper into practical magick, gnosticism and historical witchcraft.

The beauty is that Satanism is a living tradition. While LaVey wrote a “Satanic Bible," there actually is no singular text or “Bible” (as is understood in the Christian tradition) that contains the entirety of the philosophy or one way of living. You are encouraged to be a free thinker and use experiential knowledge to find what works for you, and use logic to sift through and evaluate information.

Do you find that because of the style of music you play, that people who may normally shy away from the subject matter are more open to it?
 
To be honest—for the most part, no. When we first created this project, we thought perhaps other people who are into obscure doo-wop and vintage golden era 1950s and 1960s rock ‘n’ roll would be into it. There’s definitely an underground scene of vintage aficionados….but we are not really part of it! I think because we have created something that departs so brashly from the expected norms of doo-wop, most who are looking for an “authentic” or period correct musical experience aren’t necessarily the ones coming to us. We have found at shows those who gravitate towards our music are those who gravitate towards Occult/Satanic/dark/horror themes.

Overall, we are extremely pleased that our fans also appreciate our message of inclusion and social justice, and are a very diverse group. They are open-minded free thinkers who do not limit themselves to conformity, including conformity of musical genes or scenes. They listen to black metal, to classical, to rock ‘n’ roll, to soul, to country, and don’t feel that listening to one negates the other. It’s definitely a unique community and we’re thrilled to have met so many likeminded people through Twin Temple.

Photo: Frank Mojica

Who are the other members of the band? Are the backup singers a regular part of the show, or just occasionally?
 
The backup singers don’t always perform with us and we don’t have a set “band," it rotates depending on what we’re doing. But you can always expect to see at least a 6-piece band each time we perform. We do not ever perform with tracks and like to keep it raw and live.

Your speech at the Fonda Theater Show about Brett Kavanaugh was brilliant. What social and political issues are you passionate about?
 
Thank you! We believe that humanity encompasses such a wide diversity of humans, and we all just wanted to be seen, and heard and respected. Unfortunately, we live in a country, and a world, where human rights are not granted equally to everyone. This is something we’d love to see change in our lifetime. 
 
What is Satanic Feminism?

Throughout history, patriarchal rule has attempted to oppress, silence and control sex and women’s bodies. Any person who spoke out, who lay outside of the societal norm, who deviated or broke the mold of what a “good woman” was supposed to be, was conveniently deemed a “witch” or a “devil-worshipper.” I mean, the medieval witch hunts and gendercides were essentially kicked off by a book written by a sexually frustrated religious extremist dude. The Malleus Maleficarum was the mother of all blood-soaked misogynist texts, it imagined all sorts of lustful sexual acts by “witches” in service of the devil, and grotesque and inhuman ways to punish said women.

Satanic feminism is reclaiming this historical epithet, and transmuting it to a source of personal power. By discussing these ideas—we seek to reclaim our identity. We freely call ourselves whore, Satanist, witch, devil-worshipper—in order to recontextualize the terms and empower our Selves. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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I noticed you pointed out that your Lucifer Lipstick is Cruelty Free. Is that a lifestyle you generally prescribe to?
 
Yes—apart from the ritual human sacrifice we partake in on stage.

What is next for Twin Temple?

We’re really excited to do the first half of the Uncle Acid and Graveyard North American tour. We are playing the first 9 dates from 3/6-3/16. We also have some announcements we’re very excited about coming up shortly. The best way to stay up to date is to subscribe to our newsletter at twintemple.com and follow us on Instagram.

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Pick up a copy of the Twin Temple (Bring You Their Signature Sound.... Satanic Doo-Wop) album—and other goodies—at the band's online store.

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