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Moosh and Twist: Hip-Hop Duo

Interviews

Moosh and Twist: Hip-Hop Duo

Noah Rosenfeld

MOOSH AND TWIST HAVE BEEN ACTIVE IN THE PHILADELPHIA MUSIC SCENE SINCE THEY RELEASED THEIR FIRST MIXTAPE UP BEFORE THE WORLD IN 2011 WHILE STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL. SINCE THEN THE DUO HAS GONE ON MULTIPLE NORTH AMERICAN TOURS IN ADDITION TO A HEADLINING TOUR IN EUROPE. THEY’VE GARNERED A CULT FOLLOWING IN “A LOT OF LITTLE POCKETS AROUND THE COUNTRY… EVEN OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTRY.” THEY CULTIVATED THIS FOLLOWING BY OFFERING A UNIQUE TAKE ON HIP-HOP, INFUSING IT WITH MORE POSITIVE AND UPBEAT ENERGY AND MORE POP-INFLUENCED INSTRUMENTALS. ON THEIR LAST PROJECT, THEIR DEBUT STUDIO ALBUM GROWING PAINS, MOOSH AND TWIST RETAIN THE ESSENCE THAT HAS MADE UP THE CORE OF THEIR SOUND FOR THE PAST 6 YEARS WHILE ADDING A SLIGHTLY MORE SOMBER TONE TO SOME OF THE SONGS AS THEY OPEN UP MORE TO THEIR FANS. WE HAD THE PLEASURE OF BEING INVITED BACKSTAGE BEFORE THE FINAL SHOW OF THEIR MOST RECENT TOUR AT THE FILLMORE’S FOUNDRY VENUE IN PHILADELPHIA TO SIT DOWN AND TALK TO THEM ABOUT TOURING, MAKING MUSIC, THEIR RELATIONSHIP, WORKING WITH LIL UZI VERT, AND WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR THEM.

Tonight is the last show of your most recent tour and you’ve toured a couple times before both in the US and internationally. What’s been your favorite city to perform in? Where do you get the most love?

 

Moosh: We got a lot of little pockets around the country but just like, even outside of the country you know. Toronto... Montreal is really dope. We definitely get a lot of love in ATL, Orlando, Minneapolis... but Chicago is really good for us, Denver is really dope for us. Boston has always shown love to us.

 

Twist: And then like, one of the best shows we ever did, prolly like top three, ticket-wise, was Paris. We went to France on the European tour and that shit was more live than a lot of shows we do in Philly, around the country, because the fact that they know we’re from the U.S., and they know it’s a big deal for us to go out there, and it was packed. They knew words to old songs, new shit, and they don’t even speak English.

 

M: That was crazy. It was one of those things where it was kind of like a blind date. We were in the green room, our tour manager came up he was like, “Yo this shit is crazy bro.” We went out there it was like we coulda been in Philly bro. It was like that. They made noise, they knew the words. It was like bro... again, we’re two kids from Philly, we’re in Paris right now this shit is crazy.

 

Are you thinking about going back to Europe at some point?

 

T: Yeah. When we went to Europe, we did about 10 shows and it was really cool. Amsterdam, London and Paris were good for us. The rest were okay just ‘cause it was Europe, you know? But we definitely wanna go back to Europe ASAP and open for somebody. A bigger artist that we can be in front of more fans because we could go again and headline, but it wouldn’t really be worth it money-wise, opportunity-wise. But we wanna go and open for like Rae Sremmurd or Kehlani or some shit and be in front of a thousand people and just have them fall in love with our music.

 

How can you describe the journey you’ve made from growing up together at the Philadelphia School, to making it as international artists?

 

T: We were just talking about it the other day in New York. We were at my grandma’s and she was like, “Everything you guys say you were gonna do, you did it! You wanted to go to TLA, you did it. You wanted to tour the world, you did that. You wanted to get the Mercedes Sprinter, you did that.” That kind of put it into perspective. Cause we’re always hard on ourselves. We’re artists, we think we should be doing more, we think we could be doing more, but we were just making music,and then we were like... let’s get a booking agent. Let’s do shows. Let’s sell music. It’s hard to describe.

 

Does the whole process of being artists get harder as you progress?

 

T: The closer we get to where we wanna be, it seems like it’s further and further away. At the beginning, it wasn’t our whole entire lives. It wasn’t how we were providing for ourselves and our families. It was literally just straight fun. Film something, put it out, if it did something cool, great, if not, it was whatever. When we were youngins, whenever any little good thing happened to us, it was like the coolest thing ever, but now it’s like we’re used to a bunch of this shit. It’s happening.

 

In 2014 you sold-out the TLA on your first headlining tour. Can you describe the feeling of going from putting out videos to everybody coming out from Philly, your hometown, to see you?

 

M: The show was crazy. The TLA is where we went to see concerts. Like a big deal for us in high school was when we went to see Chiddy Bang there. And that was crazy so we definitely had that feeling like we gotta sell this jawn out. TLA is a staple in this city. The first show was on his [Twist’s] birthday. It was a crazy night. Our manager hit us up like, “Yo bro we sold it out. The line’s around the corner.” So nothing can really compare to that first show. That first feeling like, “Oh shit. This is something real.”

 

T: That’s when we all were like, it could really be something. We had opened up at other venues, even at the TLA before, but headlining? We had no idea what it was gonna be like. It was emotional for us. We’ve been to shows there, been in Philly our whole lives. It was just a lot of love in one room it was crazy.

 

How did you take your vision of what you want Moosh and Twist to be and create a sound? What influences you?

 

M: I feel like we’re still crafting it. We kind of just have to be ourselves and be 100% honest. And talk the shit that we’re going through and let our listeners know where we’re at in our lives at that time. Whether it’s good times, or we’re going through a breakup. Be honest, be transparent. That always wins.


T: As far as production, we feel like our shit’s always changing, but at least at the beginning, we were definitely influenced a lot by Chiddy Bang and the way that they had different styles. Xaphoon was like, “Yo, Chiddy rap on these cool techno beats.” We’re not like them in that sense, but me and Moosh have different styles ourselves, so when we come together it’s always a blend. He may hear a beat and think of something on the hook that I would have never come up with, so it’s always a collaboration. That’s why we don't always do songs with other people. If he writes something, and it’s not in his vocal range or something, he’ll have me sing it. We have different vocal tones. If it’s a beat that someone sends us, and I’m like “Eh... I don’t know” and he’s like “Yo, listen to this verse I got” It’ll spark an idea. We don’t really know exactly how to describe our sound. I don’t think we sound like any one artist. Every song is a collaboration in and of itself, so it definitely helps us stand out.

You dropped your debut studio album Growing Pains back in August, so now you’ve got this cultivated project through which you’re trying to reach a larger fan base. Since your sound is changing and evolving, how does Growing Pains reflect and embody that evolution?

 

T: Yeah in our eyes it was like, okay this is step one in the music. You know? We’ve been doing this for some years but you know little mixtapes and an EP, this is step one. We’re about to drop more music in the next year than we’ve dropped in the past four years. Subject matter on this one is just, it definitely was the deepest we’ve gotten on certain subjects and when we do these shows and we have meet and greet before the show, and some kids would come up to us and real personally in private like, “Yo, this song bring me something. I broke up with my girl right before I heard it, that shit helped me out a lot.” That means more to us than having a single that goes crazy on Soundcloud you know.

 

When you go into the studio to make a song, are you thinking about what you’re trying to create with the message of the song, or is it just kind of that in the moment feeling?

 

T: Depends what record it is, you know, and it kind of depends what the production is like. On songs like “Stamina” and “Never Coming Down” we just go into that zone like, “Yo I’m about to talk my shit, I’m about to be braggadocious. I’m about to go in.” And you can have more fun with it. You can’t really worry like, alright these two lines, what is so-and-so gonna think. It doesn’t really matter like, we’re just having fun with it. The records that speak to us, yeah we’ll definitely take more time and make sure that if we’re talking about an issue we want it to definitely come across a certain way. So you have to be a little more careful with what you’re writing. On turn-up shit, it’s a little less; there’s way more freedom.

 

You have a song called Stamina with Lil Uzi Vert. How did that song come about?

 

M: We got that beat probably like a year-year and half ago. It was one of those beats we heard in the studio and [we] were like, ‘This is something. We need this beat.” Literally I was playing it on the way back to Philly from New York, and I just felt the vibe, I caught it. And is was one of those verses that wrote itself. A very confident, braggadocious kind of record. We were just like, “Yo, Uzi would sound sick on this.” We have mutual friends, we’re cool with him as well, and we sent it his way. He did it a couple months later, we had forgotten about it, and we were like, “Yo he’s prolly not gonna be on the record, honestly.” We were fine with that. And um, he actually FaceTimed me at like 5 in the morning. I’m like, “What?” He was playing the verse and he cut it and it was crazy. I sent it right to Twist.

 

T: We never even were able to get the stem files of his vocals. When he sent it over it was just a two track and his voice was real loud on the beat cause he just recorded it and sent it to us, and we ended up having to make that the best sounding version it could be. Because he cut it in Atlanta one night at the studio, and dude, he’s like a rockstar, so they didn’t have the vocal file to send to us. We did our best with it and so far nobody has said, “Yo his shit doesn’t sound good.” It was just something we wanted to do for Philly, like, we’ve been messing with his music for a little while now so, the fact that he hopped on it, it was real cool.

 

Do you have a title for your upcoming project?

 

T: Yeah, it’s called All of a Sudden, and we’re gonna drop it out of nowhere… all of a sudden.

 

M: Yeah, so, it’s just one of those things we may announce a couple days before, “Yo. Big surprise in 2 days. Project. Moosh and Twist.”

 

T: We got like a whole idea. We’re gonna be dropping a lot of music these next couple months.

 

M: That’s it man. It’s a flood. Prepare yourselves.

 

You guys are a duo and you’ve been friends for a long time. In hip hop, even the greatest duos, UGK and OutKast for example, sometimes drift away from each other and it breaks down. It’s rare to have two people who are able to work together for so long and have it be so successful. How do you think you compliment and balance each other?

 

T: The other day we were saying, we’re both about to have birthdays and we’ll have known each other for like 18 years. So that right there is like, yeah we fight and we disagree, but at the end of the day, Moosh and Twist wouldn’t work without Moosh and Twist. It’s like, I wouldn’t be out here solo and neither would he. And as far as we compliment each other, like we said earlier, we have different styles. It’s never like we’re stepping on each other’s toes musically.

 

M: Yeah the music is the easiest part. We’ve been friends since we were five and six years old so we deal with every situation. Whether I’m going through a bad break-up, he is, or money problems, like literally we’ve dealt with everything. Growing up from 6-23.

 

Advice to the kids?

 

T: One thing we always tell people is, no matter what you’re doing, you always gotta definitely be yourself. 100%. Because if you’re being anybody but yourself, it’s not gonna work, people are gonna see right through it. So if you’re yourself, and it’s not necessarily working, you gotta keep doing you. And it’ll happen when it happens. And from early on, one thing that we think set us apart from other people is like, we treated it like it was a business you know what I mean? Even though it wasn’t a lot of money, even though it wasn’t a lot of tickets, we still acted as if, this shit is do or die. We’re professionals, we talk to people that we work with in a professional way, you know, we’d be on our emails making sure we’re not missing stuff... It’s our lives. So no matter what you’re doing, if you want something bad enough, you gotta put in the most energy towards that one thing. If you want it bad enough, you’ll put in the work to get there.

 

M: Yeah and it happens differently for everybody. Like, I wish I could tell somebody a formula. Cause I would tell myself. I would tell Twizzy. But it happens differently like, for example, I use Uzi cause he’s from Philly but it’s different from when we came up. Like we came up really heavy on YouTube. Videos are not even his bread and butter you know? He came into Soundcloud killing it. Dropping songs, just like different angles so you never really know. It’s different for everybody. So whatever works for you, you capitalize, you touch the people, it’s different for everybody bro.

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