TWRP is back with Over The Top, their hot new album that dropped on September 25. Fashioning themselves as an “elite squad of Rock Stars from the future”, the intergalactic synth-rock quartet from Canada has amassed a loyal and ever-growing cult fanbase over the past 13 years. With influences that range from electronic to classic rock to old school funk, TWRP’s sound is guaranteed to put you in a good mood. TWRP’s bassist Commander Meouch took the time to answer a few questions for Biff Bam Pop! We cover what the band has been up to during quarantine, what to expect from the new album Over The Top and so much more.
Jeromme Graham: How have you all been spending quarantine?
Commander Meouch: We’ve been keeping it chill these last 6 months and trying to stay as safe as possible. Aside from working on this new TWRP album, we’ve been doing other studio and remote work for other artists and collaborators. Some with the groups Ninja Sex Party, Starbomb, Planet Booty, and a few other projects that are still under wraps.
We’ve also been doing “The TWRP Show”, which is our weekly Twitch channel streaming show on Saturdays. It’s a combination of musical performance and absurd gameshow. Pure chaos.
Jeromme Graham: Are you excited to get back on the road when this pandemic is over?
Commander Meouch: More than you could ever know. Touring and performing is by far the more enjoyable and thrilling part of this job. We’re very excited to play out these new songs live for the fans when it’s safe and responsible to do so.
Jeromme Graham: TWRP’s live shows are legendary. What’s the crazing thing that’s happened on tour?
Commander Meouch: Years ago we played this large convention called Magfest in the DC area. At the time it was one of the largest crowds we had played for, around 5000 people in a massive hall. During the very first song, our frontman Doctor Sung went for his tried and true “Keytar Twirl” move, a move he had done successfully every time up until now. After playing so many sweaty shows, the strap on the keytar had eroded to the point where it ripped during the climax of the spin — and went hurling 20 feet through the air and across the stage. Yes, there is video evidence of this on Youtube.
Jeromme Graham: You collaborated with Oakland-based trio Planet Booty on new single ‘Need Each Other’ and previously on ‘Tactile Sensation’ from the Together Through Time album. How did you hook up with Planet Booty?
Commander Meouch: We were first introduced to Planet Booty a few years back when our booking agent at the time was sending over potential opening acts for a club show in Phoenix, AZ. After watching their music video for the song ‘Naked’, we had come to the conclusion that these guys were either, the most rad and self-aware dudes on the planet, or completely full of themselves. Two minutes after their set started, the whole band was glued to the side stage and couldn’t believe what we were seeing. Love at first sight!
Jeromme Graham: What bands or artists would TWRP most like to collaborate with?
Commander Meouch: The answers will be different for every member I’m sure, but a few artists that come to mind immediately are Donny Benét, an Aussie producing some amazing 80’s throwback funk. Chromeo would be a really cool collaboration as there are lots of parallels. My favorite producer working right now is Oliver, who does incredible stuff.
Jeromme Graham: There are playful and comedic undertones that run through a lot of your music. Do you feel that is needed now more than ever?
Commander Meouch: Absolutely it is. Music can be an escape for many people, so having something light-hearted and hopeful to listen to is essential. I hope TWRP can be that beacon of hope for people.
Jeromme Graham: The lyrics of ‘Need Each Other’ really speak to the importance of togetherness. Did you decide to release it as a single now because of the pandemic?
Commander Meouch: That theme runs throughout the entire album so I don’t think we chose it on that merit alone. It’s a very positive tune in a style we haven’t explored too much in the past so we thought it would be good to showcase that. Also Planet Booty… c’mon?
Jeromme Graham: I read that R&B greats George Benson and D’Angelo were influences on ‘Need Each Other’, how did they specifically inspire that song?
Commander Meouch: George Benson is in my opinion, one of the greatest guitarists to ever pick up the instrument. You can’t spell “Smooth” without spelling “George Benson” if you catch my drift. The sparse and jazzy guitar fills are a tribute to his clean and tasteful style. One of my favorite bass players is Pino Palladino, who among other fantastic artists, is D’Angelo’s bassist. I tried to channel as much of his tone and feel into the song as I could realistically get. He is a monster.
Jeromme Graham: How is Over the Top different from Return to Wherever? What can we expect from Over the Top?
Commander Meouch: Return to Wherever was a really interesting album for us because of the environment in which it was made. It was the first album we wrote in California and so we wanted it to have this 80’s West Coast/City-pop vibe to it. The type of album you’d throw on sitting by the pool with a Mai-Tai or two. It has a very similar feel running all the way through it.
Over the Top, on the other hand, has a much wider scope in terms of the types and styles of songs over the record. There’s the usual 80’s funk vibe we usually live in, but there’s straight-up Top Gun soundtrack rock tunes, some laid back R&B, full-on electronic jams, and more! We also have more collaborators this time around.
Jeromme Graham: I’ve seen a lot of TWRP fans doing TWRP cosplay and making fan art in anticipation of the new album. How does it feel to see the creativity of your fans?
Commander Meouch: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. TWRP has, by far, the more fantastic fans on this planet! No doubt. They are extremely supportive, creative, kind, and inclusive. The feeling of overwhelming positivity and love for everyone we try and put as a message in our music — is personified in the fans. We’re extraordinarily lucky and beyond grateful to have them.
Thanks to Commander Meouch for taking the time to talk to Biff Bam Pop! Over The Top is out now.
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