With the world as it is, and information transported at a speed nearing light, it’s now impossible to come into the arms of Florida’s Twin Forks and their music without being aware of their lineage. It’s a shame too, because with knowledge of their impressive pedigree comes a barrage of assumptions, bias and expectation. Any damage done by those first two preconceptions is squarely the fault of the listener. The high expectations, however, are not only met but exceeded. In a time when alt-country and folk is threatening to become more diluted and commercialised than ’00s punk, Twin Forks distill the alt-rock and punk roots of their members into a sweet mash of folk bliss.
Frontman Chris Carrabba (taking an indefinite time-out from a little old band named Dashboard Confessional) is throwing all of himself into Twin Forks. “I feel pressure at the moment, but it isn’t Dashboard so I don’t feel like I need to please any existing fan base necessarily,” Carrabba says. “But I do feel as though I need to please myself. There’s a freedom in this where I can follow my vision. I’ve really made an attempt to not promote this through Dashboard – we’re trying to build it up honestly, and although there’ll be plenty of carryover from our other bands, we’re being clear that this is a whole new thing. But anybody that is a creator or an artist of any kind – oh God, I just called myself an artist… anyway, it’s inherently daunting when you start the next thing.”
With mandolin player Suzie Zeldin hailing from The Narrative, drummer Ben Homola of Bad Books, and the band rounded out by renowned session bassist and songwriter Jonathan Clark, the four-piece is putting everything it has behind this new project. Carrabba felt he had suppressed his folk influences for a while, and the timing of this project seems fortuitous. “I buried some of my fundamental influences very early on in Dashboard because it was pretty evident that they were typical folk-based, singer-songwriter influences and at that point it wasn’t fulfilling me creatively, so I instead focused on my greater influences of punk rock and hardcore. I guess the more experienced I got the more I realised it was perfectly right to allow many influences to show their hand within those parameters,” he says. “For the last three years I’ve been working on this music with my friends and I think, luckily for us, that folk sound has reached the greater consciousness now. Suddenly something that I would’ve thought could’ve been off-putting was not off-putting – but I guess three years ago, if you’d asked me to put money on what would’ve been on the Top 40, I never would’ve picked a banjo and a couple of folk singers like Mumford & Sons.”
What, then, is the pot of gold on the Twin Forks journey? “I would like to be in bigger rooms because people embraced Twin Forks for Twin Forks and not because of Dashboard,” Carrabba says. “I don’t think I’ll start doing Dashboard again until I’ve succeeded with that goal in mind. I’ve been in so many [big rooms] and I’ve been so lucky and I’ve got these great friends that I’ll never lose that I’ve gained particularly from Dashboard, but there’s this special joy that’s palpable in Twin Forks. I can see it between the band and the audience as well, and while I don’t really know what the end goal is – this is gonna sound weird – but when we got to the absolute highest points in Dashboard, it never felt completely right to me as a performer, although it was amazing in a way, so I dunno, I don’t think I ever want to be that big again.”
BY KRISSI WEISS