This Week In The Universe (TWITU) talk: Sibling Dynamics & the Profound Influences of ’80s Soundtracks

We delve into TWITU’s profound influences of ’80s soundtracks, gear they can’t live without, & the pure joy of creativity

This Week In The Universe (TWITU), the dynamic Sydney-based duo comprised of brothers Beau and Casey Golden, has released a remix EP for ‘Everything is What We Thought It Was.’

The EP, a fusion of cinematic synth-pop brilliance, is a testament to TWITU’s penchant for forward-thinking collaborations, featuring artists like Odette, Substantial, and Wallace.

twitu interview

A standout in the remix lineup is Vetta Borne’s reimagining of the mesmerizing single “Salt” (feat. Odette), a track that epitomizes the EP’s genre-defying allure.

In an exclusive interview with Happy, the brothers share insights into the EP’s inception, delving into the meticulous recording process and the diverse influences that shape their sound.

From their early inspirations, rooted in Herbie Hancock and the synth-laden funk of the ’80s, to their collaborative ethos and the intricacies of sibling dynamics, Beau and Casey provide a glimpse into the universe they’ve crafted.

Read on as we dive into the very heart of TWITU’s music, exploring the profound influences of ’80s soundtracks, the gear they can’t live without, and the pure joy they find in the creative process.

interview with twitu

Happy: What are you up to today?

BG: I’m listening to the masters of our new remix EP before we send em off to our distributor.

Happy: Tell us about where you are from? What’s the scene like in your neck of the woods?

CG: We’re in Sydney. We were born here and both live here. The scene is pretty diverse I’d say. We’ve both been involved in a lot of music across a lot of different scenes so it’s a pretty interesting place to live and work as a musician.

Happy: Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind your latest EP, “Everything is What We Thought It Was“?

BG: The 1st two tracks we wrote for this EP probably set the tone in hindsight for the production and approach we had while making this EP.

We wrote Weightless (feat Wallace) and probably the weirdest track on there – Superstructure (feat. MonoNeon) back in 2019/2020 which started the journey.

We had the idea of having features on every track pretty early on in the process but I think it was the next step in the evolution of our sound, all the artists we hit up we were fans of too and all ended up being such great collaborative partners too.

Inspiration from artists such as Justice, Daft Punk, Francis & the Lights were what we were vibing on too which making it.

Happy: Can you share a few insights into the recording process?

BG: We had such a different experience with each feature on this EP. We recorded most of it at my place in Sydney.

For the tracks featuring Odette & KYVA, we were all in the same room to full remote collaborations with Substantial in the US & Wallace who was living in London at the time.

For the majority of the EP we tried to actually play in the analog instruments rather than quantising midi & using soft synths.

It’s a subtle difference but we feel adds a more human feel and depth to it, even if it’s in the most minimal way. 

CG: Following on from what Beau said about analog instruments over software, a big part of what stuck with me about the process was how meticulous we were with everything.

There are so many layers of audio and they were all played in on real instruments that we programmed.

Working with synths can be slow, so I’m not suggesting other artists don’t bring the same attention to detail to their projects, but this was definitely the most detailed I’ve ever gotten on any project I’ve been a part of.

For example, we might spend a whole night programming and recording the same part on a few different keyboards that’ll end up as the third or fourth layer of background texture in a verse or something.

I think I’ve made it sound really tedious haha, but making this record really was a lot of fun and always felt very musical.

Happy: How did you first get into electronic music, and what drew you to focus on synth-pop?

CG: The synthesisers themselves was what got me into it I think. We’ve always liked music that featured synths, but not necessarily synth-pop when we were younger.

We got interested in the gear and we started accumulating keyboards.

Synths are heaps of fun and when you want to make music that is predominatly played on synths then you’re suddenly in the world of electronic music.

Of course, as you get more into the gear, it leads you to check out more music so the two sides inform each other.

I don’t think we consciously focused on synth-pop, but the synth-heavy aesthetic of this project combined with our tastes and influences naturally got us to where we are.

BG: Herbie Hancock’s 1973 record Headhunters & 1983 record Future Shock among others really blew my mind as a kid.

We both started playing piano at 5 years old, studying classical music for years so hearing this stuff with synthesisers really changed what I thought I could do with music myself.

Then artists like Stevie Wonder, Funkadelic & their use of gear just kept that journey going for me.

Happy: Can you share a memorable moment or story from the making of “Salt (feat. Odette)”?

BG: Georgia is such a great songwriter. We got together to write and were genuinely just having a laugh and hanging out & we kind of fell into finding the chorus of Salt together.

The middle section after the hero synth moment (around 2.50) with the chopped up staccato vocals was an idea that we kept pushing further & further too, we had so much production and wild stuff happening until we pulled all the instrumentation out at the last min and had some chopped vocals and some glitching synth running through our Yamaha SPX90 FX unit.

Happy: As brothers, do you find that your personal dynamics affect your creative process positively? Are there any challenges to working together as siblings?

CG: I think the challenges are the same as in any band. Working this closely with bandmates there are always going to be occasional disagreements, but nothing more challenging than in any other project that I’ve been in, even though we’re brothers.

I think a very postive aspect of us is that we have a lifetime of references that the other person understands, both musical and non-musical. So there’s heaps of common ground to draw on and we can often get a really specific idea across pretty easily.

BG: We grew up learning music together, listening to a lot of the same records, sharing what we thought was cool back and forth so we share heaps of common ground as Case said but we’re super harsh with each other.

We’re not afraid to tell each other when an idea isn’t feeling right or a production choice or sound isn’t right or we can do better.

We have a tendency to push each other to re-write sections of tracks (eg if we think the verse is better than the chorus, we have to rewrite the chorus now and so on) to end up with the best possible result.

Happy: What do you enjoy most about the remix process, and how do you choose the artists to collaborate with on remixes?

BG: Case & I kind of created this EP in a bubble, not really showing anyone what we made until the mix process.

We also have so many super talented producer & musician friends, and we thought what a great way to push the collaborations element of this EP even further.

We sent them out to our friends who we thought would have a unique re-imagining and absolutely loved what everyone came up with.

The only brief we gave them was do what you think is cool with it.

CG: Yeah it’s just nice hearing new interpretations of music that you’re so inside. Since we were so meticulous with the original EP, we really know all the parts (both instruments and vocals) from our tracks so well, so it’s awesome to hear how different these were re-used in ways you’d never think of yourself.

The Godriguez and Vetta Borne remixes specifically use a lot of the original parts in new ways so I’ve been enjoying checking out what they did.

That said, I find myself returning to the Substantial and NOT A BOYS NAME remixes a lot, both of which essentially wrote completely new tracks around the original melodies.

Happy: Are there any specific films or soundtracks from the 80s that have had a profound influence on your music?

CG: There are so many good ones. It’s a rich area of great music and I’m always discovering stuff I haven’t heard and hunting for more still.

But as far as soundtracks that have really had a profound influence on us, I’d say the 1986 animated Transformers movie.

We were really into it as kids and the music is burned in my memory.

It has a super dense (and at times totally insane) synth-heavy soundtrack that is very of the time.

While our music might not sound too much like it, we reference elements of it all the time and it’s full of creative uses of the gear.

Happy: Is there any gear that you can’t live without?

BG: My most prized synthesiser is my Roland Jupiter 6. It’s so beautiful and sounds like a million bucks but I gotta use it sparingly to keep some of that magic secret haha. 

CG: As much as I love my synths, I definitely need an acoustic piano around.

Happy: Lastly, what makes you happy?

BG: Making music, the process of creating is always the most fun.

CG: I agree. Besides the obvious things like family and friends, I just like to be working on music. Writing and recording, practising, checking out new music or all of the above.