Emmaline Twist got started in early 2016 when Krysztof Nemeth, former baritone guitarist in the Latenight Callers, started collaborating with Meredith McGrade, a veteran of several Kansas City bands.
“Meredith and I got started in trying to capture the sound and feel of the music we mutually loved: post-punk and shoegaze,” Nemeth said. “Meredith initially played bass and sang, while I employed the baritone guitar as the lead instrument.”
From there the group grew into a quartet, adding Jonathan Knecht, formerly of the Silver Maggies, and Kristin Thompson Conkright, formerly of Knife Crime and Onward Crispin Glover. Then the band switched things up again, Nemeth said, moving McGrade to guitar and asking Conkright to play bass.
“At that point, everyone realized that we’d found the right people for each role, and we started developing ourselves as a unit.”
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Saturday night, Emmaline Twist will perform at the Crossroads Music Fest, the annual music showcase in the Crossroads Arts District. Nemeth recently answered a few questions about the band, its sound and its recording plans.
Q: Where does the name come from?
A: In the late 1880s, there was a couple of well-to-do Kansas Citians named Judge Stephen and Emeline Twiss. I was listening to a news story that referenced these two and misheard it as “Emeline Twist.” A few letters later, the name “Emmaline Twist” was realized as a great band name.
Q: How are songs written/composed?
A: Each song and its lyrics starts out as demos I’ve worked up and then brought to the band to turn into Emmaline Twist orchestrations. The songs evolve from there, with everyone’s take on the piece giving it the band’s voice.
Q: What/who do people say you sound like?
A: A combination of post-punk and shoegaze bands like New Order/Joy Division, the Cure, Chameleons UK, and Slowdive.
Q: How do you describe your sound?
A: We describe it as “dark and atmospheric dance rock,” with the caveat that if you don’t want to dance, you can just bob your head and chill.
Q: What’s the status of a recording?
A: We’ve only recorded two songs for the moment as an introductory single. They were recorded and mixed here in KC at Temple Sounds by Lin Buck, and mastered by Duane Trower at Weights & Measures.
We have intentions of recording more of our songs for an EP release in the near future. We’ve also just signed with Middle Class Records, which will help the process along sooner rather than later.
The 12th annual Crossroads Music Fest runs from 6 p.m. Saturday till 2 a.m. Sunday at several venues in the Crossroads Arts District. A festival pass is $20 in advance, $25 at the gate. VIP tickets are available for $90 in advance, $110 at the gate. To buy tickets and/or for a complete music schedule, visit cmfkc.com