Welsh singer-songwriter Chloé Davis aka twst may have only released two singles so far, but she already displays all the quintessential qualities of a modern pop star in the same vein as Billie Eilish or Charli XCX, or some unique amalgamation of the two. twst’s sound is cutting-edge and incredibly infectious – it’s impossible to listen to the single ‘Girl On Your TV’ and not feel an urge to replay it over again and again. It has the intimate but surreal quality of someone trying to make a hit alone in their bedroom – except it actually feels like a hit. Indeed, twst recorded and self-produced the tracks within the four walls of her bedroom, although it’s no surprise that they were mixed by none other than innovative pop producer Rob Kinelski, known for working with Billie Eilish among others, whose production flourishes here are palpable but not overbearing. Both ‘Girl On Your TV’ and ‘Always’ brilliantly depict our psychological relationship to the digital world and how it affects our day-to-day interactions, but it’s done through the lens of a young person who understands the nuances of that experience rather than someone commenting from the outside. “HD shows in me perfection/ But it fucks with your perception,” she intones on ‘Girl on Your TV’, while on ‘Always’ she has a conversation with a Siri-like personal assistant. It’s hyperreal, post-ironic, metamodern – whatever you want to call it, it’s truly something special. And we can’t wait to hear more.
We caught up with twst for this edition of Artist Spotlight, where we showcase up-and-coming artists and give them a chance to talk a bit about their music.
How did the name twst come to you?
mothers maiden name.
I read that you left home at 14 and relocated to a recording studio in the South West Valleys. What inspired you to make that decision?
The decision was made from a place of wanting to find somewhere I felt I belonged. I was very misunderstood by my family and I don’t think they knew how to deal with me. For all the obvious reasons why this would be hard at such a young, difficult age, I was desperate to be in a place where I fitted in and I felt like I could do that most comfortably in isolation where I could begin to create my own world.
Why does self-producing appeal to you as a way of creating music?
When I have a new idea, most of the time I have a clear vision before I’ve even started writing or producing the song. So self-producing feels very natural and efficient because it’s just me and my computer and once I’ve found the tone for the production, it usually happens very quickly from there.
What were some of the challenges you faced as you started teaching yourself production?
The only real challenge, and one that scares me, is not knowing how to do something technically, when I’m on an inspired mad flow. So being able to overcome that as effectively as possible without it harming the creative wave is something very practical to learn.
Your approach to songwriting can be linked to the meaning behind the name of your label, ‘hikikomori baby’. Can you explain what that concept means to you?
There is no equivalent English word for “hikikomori”. The Japanese word describes both the condition of acute isolation and those suffering from it, so the attraction seemed obvious to me but I was also drawn to it phonetically. I love the sound of it. I was inspired by the Kawaii aesthetic at the time as seen in goytv video. Ultimately, I named the label “hikikomori baby” as a reference to the time where I lived quite reclusively after leaving school and home. I started to build my own way of seeing the world, without too many rules or much guidance. I found some kind of personal hyper reality. The concepts that I’ve been writing about are heavily based upon the feelings of isolation, loneliness and my connection to technology during this period.
The “baby” part of “hikikomori baby” is post-ironic. Which in itself is ironic (post).
Both ‘Girl on Your TV’ and ‘Always’ deal with how digital spaces affect relationships – how did that theme catch your attention?
When I wrote girl on your tv, I was deeply feeling the over sexualisation of women in the media. I was really, really angry at the time. My head was kinda warped during this period too. I was seeing this sexualisation in a way in which I’d never seen before. So in goytv, my character is the sexualised girl and I’m asking the person who views me this way, to view me differently. This in turn, inspired the duet with the Siri like voice in “Always” as I am fascinated by the connection between technology and emotions and how far these are able to intertwine.
Can you talk about the process of filming the video for ‘Girl on Your TV’?
This process was like self-documentation for me. I really wanted to capture the idea of building myself as a character through the lens of the internet. Capturing the awkwardness, vanity, vulnerability and also irony.
What’s next for twst?
We gonna make some clothes, scissors , thrifting
reading reading reading