Interview: Elena Savlokhova
Photo: Raga Ayala
twst is the music project of Welsh songwriter, vocalist, and producer Chloé Davis. Currently based in London.
Listen to the new EP TWST0001 here.
What’s it like to be you?
It felt awesome.
We are all immersed in a paradigm and reality, much like a fish in the water it swims in. A fish doesn’t distinguish itself from its water, just as most of us don’t distinguish ourselves from our thoughts and reality. We live in the fishbowl. We are the fish. Fuck it, I’m just gonna make a coffee anyway, without dairy, without lactose, without gluten, without thickeners. twst can see the starlink from her bedroom. Can you? This is a document of the process of building twst through the lens of the internet. From Mother Modem, downloading twst. The awkwardness, vanity, vulnerability, and obsessions. isolation and loneliness. Hikikomori [ed. note: a Japanese term for people who give up social life and often seek an extreme degree of social isolation and solitude due to various personal and social factors] baby pulled us through. Metamorphosis at every turn. Passive minds get restless. Maintaining our perception became a destruction. Visual understanding warped, along with the auditory and tactile senses: artists and social feeds whose suggestive utopian ideals taught me more than any leader or teacher. The secrets I wanted to keep, I’d always have to hide from myself. That way, I know they never know.
Being alone always made me feel most not alone and the greatest nights I had were with myself.
Growing in a surveilled system of western ideals, orchestrated and self-centered. But all I really want is to find quotes online that will upgrade my enlightenment. I never knew whether it was me or you I was scared of. I was more scared of what I’d do to you than what you’d do to me. Restless minds become active.
When did you first experience the power music carries within itself?
When I was a child and I wasn’t old enough to understand my thoughts or feelings but I’d listen to music that could articulate those feelings and I felt understood and heard.
How is your personality a blessing and how is it a curse?
I definitely have extreme thoughts and feelings that can go in both positive/negative directions. However,
I don’t think you can access higher frequencies or energy without also having felt the low.
What truths have you uncovered about yourself while working on your debut EP TWST0001?
I have uncovered that I really can’t sleep very well.
What was the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen or experienced in your life?
Naoshima. ChiChu art museum.
You’ve noted that the feeling of today’s world is apocalyptic. Do you foresee a grim future or do you think that the world will eventually change for the better?
Lol what a question in the most uncertain times we’ve faced as humans since possibly WW2. I think we are definitely experiencing new things, especially in the context of big data and how that’s shaping our world and our personal day to day experiences.
The attitude of Gen z’s and their search for truth, and how politically charged everyone is right now fills me with hope and positivity.
If you could travel in time then where would you go and why?
2120, London. I’d like to witness how human intelligence has been vastly amplified by AI and to be able to live in symbiosis with AI and connect our brain directly to it. I’d also love to experience uploading consciousness onto the cloud/virtual reality and in that case, become immortal. I also have just been trying to imagine what music will sound like 2021.
What’s your take on digital media? Do you think that the world would be a better place without it?
Digitalisation has changed the way we consume and has broken down the conventions of time and space. We can consume entertainment, order things, and access most information we need wherever and whenever we want. I find it exciting and stimulating to be living in a time where technology is advancing quickly. I enjoy the accessibility, experience, and connectivity it has to offer.
I am quite a recluse, so naturally, I really enjoy being able to be alone but connected. I am excited by technology. I feel like we’ve had a lot of time building our relationship with nature as humans and I am more excited by our relationship with technology than nature at the moment. So for that, I think the world is a better place with digital media.
Your work has been influenced by themes of isolation and how the experience of being human is now strongly intertwined with technology. Do you think that in the future VR and augmented reality will be a problematic issue of one further escaping reality or is it the contrary, a tool of enriching one’s life?
I think in some ways we are already cyborg if you look at all the digital tools we have and use like they’re extensions of us now, like phones, computers. And the separation anxiety we feel without these tools, hahaha. I think VR will expand imagination and experience.
In certain ways, I think it’s a further escape and in other ways, I feel like it immerses you further into the fishbowl. I feel like we are constantly becoming more connected to technology. It’s offering us experience and in the long run, it will offer us hyper-intelligence. But if we can enter into these worlds without having to really go anywhere or look anyone in the eye, it does isolate us further and we are less physically connected to one another.
What film or book reality would you like to temporarily exist in and why?
I’d like to exist in Death Note for obvious reasons.
How do you want your work to echo in the culture?
I want the loners and outcasts to know they’re fucking cool online and that they have a place in this world because there is a place for everyone online, it’s a very inclusive and accepting place right now. I wanna make music that inspires people who come from homes/environments/schools where they feel they don’t belong and for them to be able to escape and travel in their minds and create a new reality. I wanna resonate with the feelings of many people that start within myself.
I want to be able to be the voice that music was for me when I couldn’t articulate my feelings.
What is the wisest thing you’ve recently heard or realized?
The events of this year (pandemic) have reminded me of the power of being present and to not live in future or past thoughts, as life can hit you from different directions.
What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would you answer?
I’d like to be asked why I left home and school so young, and how did that inspire my music? I’d answer: I felt like I didn’t belong when I was a young teen and I fought really hard to find a new environment for myself where I felt like I could freely express myself and explore my identity. This whole experience had a profound effect on my music and development. Not being a part of a social institution (school) definitely stopped me learning in standard ways and building an understanding about education and the system. I feel like this made my mind very open and it made my creativity go wild and
I kind of taught myself the things I wanted to online. I think it’s also the reason why I’m so in love with learning now, perhaps because I wasn’t exhausted by it in a generic context.