Twin Temple: “It’s always a pleasure seeing your nightmares come to life before your eyes.” (2/27 at UT)

Philadelphia are no strangers to Twin Temple, “Los Angeles’ one and only purveyors of Satanic Doo-Wop.”  We saw them in their earliest years alongside Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats...

Philadelphia are no strangers to Twin Temple, “Los Angeles’ one and only purveyors of Satanic Doo-Wop.”  We saw them in their earliest years alongside Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats and Graveyard at Union Transfer in 2019.  In 2022 we saw them on the mega-stage of Camden’s ever-name-changing pavilion, opening things up for Ghost and VOLBEAT.  And, most recently, we saw them bring their Satanic Orgy USA 2022, their first ever headlining tour, to Underground Arts later that same year.  Last week, the duo – comprised of married couple Alexandra and Zachary James, whose love of Satan is only potentially rivaled by their love of 1950s and 1960s rock ‘n’ roll – set off on the GOD IS DEAD USA Tour 2024, their biggest headlining jaunt yet, in support of their most recent full-length, 2023’s GOD IS DEAD.  The trek – which they’ve promised to be their “most evil tour yet” – will make its way to Union Transfer next Tuesday, February 27th.  I recently got a chance to chat with the group, who told me just what can be expected of their, “most blasphemous ritual thus far.”

Izzy Cihak: Your latest album, GOD IS DEAD, has been out for a while now.  Have you had any favorite reactions to the album?  I know, in your case, some of the most amusing responses are not necessarily meant to be positive.

Twin Temple: Our current favorite is seeing Christian protesters outside our concert wearing shirts that say, “God Is Not Dead.”

Izzy Cihak: On a related note, do you currently have a favorite album track to play live?  You’ve been touring the record for a while now.

Twin Temple: “God is Dead” is our fav at the moment from the new record, but it’s always changing.

Izzy Cihak: You just kicked off the “GOD IS DEAD USA TOUR 2024,” your biggest headlining tour here yet.  Are there any shows you’re especially excited about, whether venues you really dig or just cities where you always play really good shows (or that you haven’t visited in a while)?

Twin Temple: We are excited to defile New Orleans, as this will be our first headline show there ever.  And we’ll definitely be making a stop at Voodoo queen Marie Laveau’s grave.  But we can’t really pick favorites.  Every city is a unique experience.

Izzy Cihak: I’m super bummed that I’m still yet to see your live show (I was really sad to have to miss your show at Underground Arts, but L7 were playing Bricks Are Heavy down the street…), but it’s earned quite a reputation.  What can be expected of the show on this upcoming tour, in terms of production, setlist, and just the general vibes of the night?  I think they’ll be the biggest stages you’ve headlined before, and I know you’re promising it to be your most evil tour yet!

Twin Temple: Yes, it’s our most blasphemous ritual thus far.  It’s always a pleasure seeing your nightmares come to life before your eyes.  You can expect lots of rhinestones, the color pink, big hair, horniness, some good ol’ rock and roll and maybe a sacrifice….

Izzy Cihak: You’re bringing VOWWS along on the tour, who I saw back in 2020 with Poppy and really liked.  How did you get hooked up with them, and what are your thoughts on their music and live show?

Twin Temple: We dig their evil vibes and they’re old friends of ours from Hell A.  We came up together playing around LA.  So, when we were looking for support acts to bring it was a no brainer.

Izzy Cihak: I know that you’re offering Satanic Baptisms to fans after each show, so I’m guessing you spend a fair amount of time hanging with your fans.  I’m curious if you’ve noticed patterns in the kinds of people who are most into your music?  You’ve commented on your music style not being exactly along the lines of what a ton of young people are listening to these days.  (I mean, you’ve also been on a lot of tours with bands doing very different things musically, but you seem to have drawn a lot of fans from those tours, as well.)

Twin Temple: Our fans are extremely diverse and unique, we make a point to welcome everyone to the shows and create an environment of freedom and inclusivity.  Our fans truly are the best, and they come dressed to kill!  Just last night we saw some beautiful handmade replicas of our costumes that rivaled our own!  There are metal heads, goths, punks, oldies lovers, drag queens, even Christians in attendance.  It means a lot to create a safe space for all – women, trans, LGBTQ, Christians, Satanists, all cultures, all nationalities, the more individuals the better!

Izzy Cihak: After these US dates, you’re playing a handful of really huge and really cool rock festivals.  How do you like playing massive stages to open-air audiences like that?  Do you approach it differently than your own shows?  It also seems like your sound is significantly less heavy than most of those acts, so I’m curious how that atmosphere feels for you?  I know you do regularly tour with notably heavier bands…

Twin Temple: The open air is nice but the sun is a bit of a problem being vampires and all.  And seeing as we’re the most wicked band in the world, I’d say we’re heavier than most bands conceptually and give even the most trve kvlt black metal bands a run for their money in terms of lyrical content.  It’s a new aeon, and personally we think wearing rhinestoned baby pink fits and singing about being a slut is heavier than anything else out there.

Izzy Cihak: On a related note, are there any acts that you’re especially excited to see or get the chance to hang out with on those dates?

Twin Temple: We saw Zeal & Ardor were playing one of the fests.  We really like what they do, so hopefully we can catch their set and say Hell-o.  Obviously, we love Ghost after doing touring the world and doing 40+ shows with them, they are like family!  Same with Uncle Acid- hope to see them again soon.  I don’t know if Orville Peck is doing any of those dates, but we still haven’t seen him live and really would love to.

Izzy Cihak: This is probably super cheesy to ask but, I got pretty into Anton LaVey and The Church Of Satan in the late ‘90s, when I was in my early teens, but I’ve been pretty out of the loop since then (not for any particular reason), so what’s going on with Satanism today that’s definitely worth checking out, for people with any degree of interest?  In addition to Twin Temple, of course!

Twin Temple: To be honest, we identify as Satanists because we don’t follow trends or organized religions.  To us Satanism is a philosophy and identity centered on individuality, the search for knowledge, knowing yourself, transgression, questioning the status quo and self-actualization, responsibility and self-realization.  Not sure there is a general consensus as far as, “what’s going on with Satanism,” but if people have interest, we encourage them to do their own research, question everything, and use logic and experience to dictate what works for them.

Izzy Cihak: You recently collaborated on a collection with Killstar, which is super cool.  How did that collab come about, and how would you characterize that line?  Also, can we expect another in the future?  I see it’s basically sold out.

Twin Temple: Yes, Killstar were a match made in Hell!  They approached us in 2022 and we quickly got to work sketching ideas for the line.  It’s an extension of everything we love; withchcraft, girl groups, Victoriana, horror, blasphemy.  We want everyone to wear it to just feel a little more evil, a little more sexy, a little more Satanic.  Many of the pieces are inspired by the stage costumes we designed; or vintage pieces we love, or just garments we’ve always wanted to see made!  And yes, we heard it sold out almost immediately!  Honestly, designing this line was a highlight of this year, it’s something we’ve always dreamt of doing so to be able to unleash this with Killstar was truly a nightmare come true.  We have no current plans for another line but it’s something we really would like to do.

Izzy Cihak: Finally, what are you hoping and planning for the second half of 2024, after these festival dates?  Is there anything you’re especially excited about or that fans can anticipate?

Twin Temple: We just may embark on another tour in support of GOD IS DEAD… and perhaps the Satan has impregnated us with concepts and ideas for the next album… but you will just have to wait and see.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.