From animosity to artistry: Twin Films brings psychedelic rock to the Burg

Twin Films performing at WCWM Fall Fest in 2021. REBECCA KLINGER // THE FLAT HAT

Twin Films, the College of William and Mary’s preeminent psychedelic rock band, started during bandmates Gabriel Parker’s ’23 and Ben Slone’s ’23 high school days. But the two friends are just getting started. 

Twin Films began as a solo project when Slone, who had been making music since seventh grade, decided to try something new in his sophomore year of high school.  

“Ben started making music on his own, and I, like, weaseled my way in by just playing synth,” Parker said. “We met in jazz band in high school, and Ben didn’t like me.” 

Slone indeed confirmed this dislike.

“I hated him for about the first two or three months,” he said. “I really hated Gabe. Out of sorrow comes a great joy, specifically about Gabe and I’s relationship.”

Shaky as their initial bond may have been, the two soon formed a creative partnership that blossomed. They released their first single, “Last Night I Had a Dream,” in 2018, their junior year of high school. In the years since, the group has evolved–originally just Slone’s project, Twin Films has become more of a collaborative effort.

“I feel like I’m definitely more part of the group. I’m part of the creative process,” said Parker. 


This creative process for Twin Films is loosely defined and more organic, usually flowing as easily as their repartee. 

“Usually one of us gets hyped about an idea, then we just sit in the living room and —” Parker said, looking to his band-mate.

 “Grind it all out and add a bunch of stuff,” Slone said, finishing Parker’s thought. 

As in their music, the two often complete each other’s sentences and ideas. This collaborative ethos is, in large part, what drives Twin Films. Slone and Parker often rotate roles: they both write lyrics, craft melodies and even do their own audio engineering. Their collaboration doesn’t stop at the studio door. 

“There were multiple times this summer where we make, like a huge stir fry, and just eat it in like forty five minutes, and then just jam.”

“We make stir fries together,” Parker said. “There were multiple times this summer where we make, like a huge stir fry, and just eat it in like forty five minutes, and then just jam.” 

He and Parker generally work for hours at a time, trying to balance the need for a cohesive sound and the desire to just let things happen. 

“We are just trying to not get in the way of what’s going on, what’s happening with the music,” Slone said. 

“When you, like, reach a certain maturity in music making, it’s definitely like you’re willing to play within the constraints a lot more,” Parker said. “We’re allowing, really, the miracle of life.” 

Sometimes, though, this miracle is hard to come by; this is where Twin Films turns to their artistic influences.

“Stealing is the best thing you can do to make stuff that you’re into,” Slone said. “Originality is overrated.” 

“Stealing is the best thing you can do to make stuff that you’re into. Originality is overrated.” 

Helpfully, he and Parker have different tastes in music. 

“Gabe and I, we have a lot of overlap, but different specialties within the music that we listen to,” said Slone.

 The duo listed dozens of figures who have influenced their music, including Destroyer, A.G. Cook and MGMT. But don’t expect any new releases from Twin Films to sound like their previous music.

“It kind of feels like a reboot almost,” Slone said. 

“It definitely feels like a much more mature Twin Films coming forward,” Parker said. 

The duo are looking to broaden the scope of their lyrics and cast away the perception that they only make so-called ‘breakup music.’ 

“Trying to deal with the end of relationships is totally valid as a thing to write about,” Slone said. “But I think the future stuff is a little bit more expansive.” 

There will be sonic changes as well. 

“You listen to 100 Gecs?” Parker asked, grinning. “There’s definitely more of that on this next release. This music will disappoint our parents.”

“I don’t know that that’s true,” Slone said. “I played some of the new stuff for my parents and… they were a little put off by it, which is a good and bad thing.”


Beyond the imminent release of their new music, the duo feels the future is relatively ambiguous, though they are largely optimistic about what’s ahead. 

“We’re both, at least right now, planning on moving to Richmond [after graduation],” Parker said. “And as it becomes more of a priority, like we’ll definitely see where it goes, but… there’s a hope for a professional type aspect. And it’s hard to say [where] the line of what a professional band is.” 

Slone added that he wants to leave an impact on people.

“I want to make music that helps define people’s emotional lives,” he said. “Whenever you listen back to a song, you’re like, oh, I feel like I’m in October of 2019. It would be cool if it was like that. But like that in the life of someone I know.”

“I want to make music that helps define people’s emotional lives.”

Parker is particularly inspired by the devotion of Twin Films’s loyal fans and supporters.

“Even when people sing along to our music, that’s originals, not a cover, that’s pretty amazing that people have committed enough time to your music that you made,” Parker said. 

Fans of the band will not have to wait long: Twin Films will be performing on Friday, Oct. 21, as part of WCWM’s Mini-Fest concert series, as well as on Saturday, Oct. 22 in Richmond. As for the release of their new album, they’re keeping it under wraps. 

“It definitely feels like we’re giving birth to a beautiful baby named the new Twin Films,” Parker said. “Get ready for some more crazy music.”


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