Interview - The Twisted Dolls
Heavy twisted blues rock with an international connection!
Words and Photos: Anthony Firmin
I bumped into Jess Lomas, the Twisted Dolls bass player, last week at the Deap Vally show that Night & Day Café and suggested that we should get together for a chat to find out what is going on in the land of the Dolls, a show that Luke describes as “awesome and powerful; hot, sweaty and heavy”, I cannot disagree with that.
With a gig upcoming at Gulliver's (4th August) for End Of The Trail Records this seemed like the perfect opportunity for a catch up. “End Of The Trail still do things in an old school way, they send out scouts to gigs to find bands that they like rather than messing around on the Internet.”
Guitarist Luke positions himself precariously on a rather small Orange combo amp in their rehearsal space whilst Jess and drummer Grace are seated more ladylike. I start by asking about the journey to now. “Grace and I have been playing since June last year and we met Jess in January,” explains Luke. “We had a friend on bass for a little while then we did some gigs as a duo but we always knew we wanted another member of the band. And within a couple of weeks of Jess joining we were playing gigs, I've had the songs for a while now but it has all been solid since the beginning of year.”
How did it work as a duo, it seems quite a popular thing to do these days? “We did it because we didn't have a bass player at the time so in order to fill in we just played louder. Grace jumps in and says “our metal was played louder and faster but we definitely missed having the bass there, I think we did four gigs as a duo so it wasn't that many.” “The energy was there, if you lose the energy you lose the crowd” says Luke “but we wanted that fully rounded sound so we knew we needed a bass player it is just a matter of timing. By the time we met Jess, we auditioned her and we knew it just fit.”
And Jess certainly cannot be described as a local musician. “I am not from round here, I'm from Brussels and I moved to Manchester 10 months ago and I love it.” Why Manchester? “The music. I have loved Manchester bands for a long time, I remember being 14 and my teacher handing me good music. It was a CD with Joy Division and New Order on it and I was like WOW! And then I was learning that other bands were from Manchester too and that everything that was good was from there so I need to go there.”
And we all know that Manchester special! One thing we hear says Luke is that when we play elsewhere we are told we don't sound like a Manchester band. How would you describe your music? It's just genuine rock 'n' roll with a touch of the blues. Grace and I met over a Led Zeppelin, hard rock kind of love, and Jess was really a punk player so it brought a heaviness to what was already quite a full sound, and it has really come together now.
You have this gig at Gulliver's lined up, what other shows do you have coming up? We are playing at the Rochdale Feelgood Festival supporting The Fratellis on 20th August, and then we have a few local shows lined up including one at the Thirsty Scholar.
The band are also floating the idea of going over to Brussels where Jess is from. They are following in the tentative footsteps of local bands Ritual King and Bones Shake both of whom have made successful forays into Europe – the later touring women’s prisons in France. With so many great guitar bands to see here in Manchester, The Twisted Dolls want to see if they can become a bigger fish in a smaller pond.
Better still get down to one of their shows “because live is where we are really at” says Luke. And on that note ManchesterRocks leaves them to get rehearsing.
Please check out their material is available on SoundCloud including the latest single Electrify which features Jess on bass.