THE MANY SOUNDS OF TWO CELL
by Eileen Budd
TwoCell was one of those amazing discoveries made while exploring Soundcloud, looking for new music. TwoCell’s electronic synth nod to the eighties in Little Song I Wrote made our ears prick up straightaway and this track belongs at the top of any commuter's playlist.
One of his most recent pieces, freshly released on Soundcloud, is a collaboration with vocal artist Ruti Celli called Why.
TwoCell provides the heartbeat behind this piece, with a style of 80’s synth forming the tune’s backbone, hinting at influences of the likes of Eurythmics, Pet Shop Boys and Kim Carnes. This works beautifully with Ruti’s cello riff and vocals, which are reminiscent of a young Madonna. Why is a gloriously chilled out Summer tune from a new wave of talent.
A year ago, I left a note for TwoCell, asking if one day we could interview him and Yonii, his songwriting partner, about their work and now, a year later, we have the absolute pleasure of doing just that.
Please welcome, the creatives behind the creations.
Tell us a bit about how you started making music, what was it that set you off on this path?
TC: I used MC at London clubs and boat parties on the Thames when Drum n Bass first started. My style was a mix of singing & rapping making the tracks the DJ played sound like remixes. The crowds and DJs loved what I did so I knew I had to start making my own records and that's what I did. I reached out to my cousin who had his own recording studio and made my first track, took it to a club and convinced a DJ to play it. The track started the crowd went wild then the bass dropped and the crowd shouted "turn up the bass!" Only the DJ couldn't as our mix was rubbish and had no sub bass! Ha! That's when I decided to learn how to make music professionally and enrolled at Newham College on a Music Technology Diploma.
Y: I've been writing songs as long as I can remember. I was lucky enough to get onto a music degree course with little formal training - from there I moved to London and joined a band. I loved the creative buzz I got from writing and recording... and I haven't stopped since. I feel compelled to write. I've recently had one of my tracks signed to Audiophile XXL in the U.S. so I'm feeling more motivated than ever!
Since we first spoke, over a year ago, you’re music has gone from strength to strength. You’re now a signed recording artist with Nub Country Records, with your first track Tick Tick Tick Boom! about to be released. How are you feeling about your growing success?
TC: The honest answer is I haven't stopped to think about it. With me it's always what comes next! I've always considered myself a producer and turned down recording contracts in the past. I signed to Nub Country because not only did they believe in my work, they made me feel like part of the family. I feel like my music has a home with Nub. I was emailing with Guy Thompson last night finalising the promotion for "Tick Tick Tick Boom!" which is out now.
What are you working on right now?
TC: I've been working on a lot of projects with my talented songwriting partner Yonii. She is amazing and I feel blessed to be working with her. Our first project will be with singer Jessie Walsh who again is amazingly talented. We all got together for a meal & a chat last month and will start recording songs soon. I've also been writing & producing for artist I Am Born, she is the real deal, a one off and the most creative artist I had the pleasure of working with. I can't wait for people to hear work!
Can you tell us a bit about working with Ruti Celli on Why. Ruti’s melodic voice works really well alongside the strings in the track, did you have a strong sense of how you wanted the track to sound before you choose Ruti to work with, or was it more organic that? How does your process of collaboration work?
TC: Why was originally an instrumental track I wrote a while ago but I always heard it as a vocal track, so I searched for a singer/songwriter to collaborate with and discovered Ruti on Soundcloud. As soon as I listened to her song "It's Just A Little Dream" I knew Ruti was the one. Skill, expression, emotion, talent, a classically trained cellist, Ruti has it all. I reached out and to my disbelief Ruti agreed to work with me! Ruti is based in L.A. I'm in London so we communicated via email and Whatsapp discussing how we heard the song, a working arrangement & timeline. Collaborations for me are really easy. If we are working together that means i respect and trust you, so I told Ruti to express herself and she should trust me as a producer, to make the track work. Ruti sent me the vocal and cello Stems and I put it all together.
How do you deal with artistic differences?
TC: Never happened for me. Before I work with anyone I meet them first or communicate with emails, phone calls etc. If we don't click on personal level, we wont click on a creative level. Whenever I work with a songwriter or musician I tell them the same thing interpret the music as you hear it because if I didn't trust your creativity & ability we would not be working together!
Y: By maintaining a sense of detachment from your work, and by respecting the opinions of those you're working with. There's always a new song to around the corner if something doesn't quite work out!
Who would you most like to work with on a project?
TC: That's tough one! There are so many great artists I admire. If I had to pick one artist it would have to be Chrissie Hyndes. I love her work. She always writes from the heart, just like me. How can any musician hear "Don't Get Me Wrong" and not want to work with Chrissie.
Y: I would love to write with one of the killer pop writers such as Max Martin or Cathy Dennis - just to see them in action! Mad skills.
Some artists find it really hard looking back on old pieces of work, because it is so far away from where they end up, both in terms of quality and style. How do you feel about your old work compared to what you’re making now and where you want to be taking your music to?
TC: Ha! You really do ask some penetrating questions! I look back on my work with fondness no matter how bad or good it sounds to me now! I guess it's all about perspective. That was me then and this is me now. It's a journey taking me where I want to be. I never stop learning and improving, both as a producer and as an artist.
There's a definite a influence of 80’s synth pop in Why, can you share with us your top 5 artistic influences and their impact on your creative work?
TC: That's so not fair I have so many influences! Ok, from memory a top 5 in no particular order. Human League, Depeche Mode, Thomas Dolby, Kraftwerk, Tears For Fears. From these great artists I learnt that electronic music can be expressive, beautiful, fearless and mainstream while still remaining indie, original and creative - all in a 3 minute pop song!
What do you do outside of music to get inspiration / rejuvenate your creativity?
TC: I used play lots of PES and Battlefield on the PS3 to relax but I've been too busy to play games for a while now. Instead I watch lots of TV shows like Preacher, Mr Robot, Penny Dreadful, Suits, How To Get Away With Murder, Empire. I get inspiration from the music in the shows and get to chillout! Ha!
Y: Getting out into nature, breaking the daily routine of life, travelling somewhere new... Going to see live shows is always really inspiring for me also.
Can you tell us a bit about your equipment of choice for creating music?
TC: As with all music producers I am always adding gear to the studio. Currently I work with Cubase on a laptop, KRK Rokit 6 monitors, DBX 231 graphic equaliser & M-Audio project mix, M-Audio 61es midi keyboard & Blue Spark microphone. I work out of the box when writing my go to VSTs are Spectrasonics Omnisphere, ReFx Nexus, Battery 4, XLN Audio Additive Drums & Fab Filter Twin. I master in Adobe Audition using a mix of my favourite plugins.
What do you wish you had known about the music industry before you got started?
TC: Talent is not a requisite for success…dedication is!