TWRK: The twerking in pop culture is watered down

Categories: Q&A

Courtesy of the artist
eSenTRIK and Benzi of TWRK

Since DJ and production team TWRK hit the electronic music scene hard with the release of their first mixtape, Volume I, twerkers around the globe have been truly blessed. The music that the recently unveiled Benzi and eSenTRIK create, however, goes far deeper than just the dance move itself. They draw inspiration from trap elements, early Southern rap, and classic hip-hop samples to create a sound that stands alone.

Gimme Noise spoke with Benzi as TWRK prepare for a headlining slot at Bassgasm 10 this Friday.

Gimme Noise: How did you guys meet and start working together?

We met on the internet. I had been doing mix tapes forever, and I heard some of his remixes, and we started collaborating. We realized that we had good chemistry, and decided to form this group all over the internet and the phone. The first time we actually met in person was towards the end of that process.

How long were you collaborating before you actually met in person?

I think we met briefly. He came out to one of my shows in New York, then we met again in Detroit with Diplo. We went from never doing a TWRK show to the big time with Diplo. We hung out for a day before at my place, then went on and did the show, and we've gone on from there.

Putting out mix tapes is how you first connected with the Ying Yang Twins, right?

Yes. So, we did the TWRK Volume I with the Ying Yang Twins, but when I was in college I had tons of mix tapes, and I would just hit up all of these people -- you know, rappers, and people I wanted to be affiliated with, and the Ying Yang Twins were the first ones ever to hit me back. I did a mix tape with them in 2005, way back when I was young and in college. So, when we got to do TWRK Volume I, I decided to hit them up again, and things came full circle.

Do you remember what their response was to your first mix tape?

Yes. So, they loved the idea. They were kind of bewildered by it, but when we played it for them they were like, wow, that's really cool, and they asked us to remix some songs. We did a remix for their song called "Miley Cyrus." Now they're doing a new sound kind of similar to ours, which is really cool.


Are you planning on working together on anything new?

Yes. We have an EP in the works, which is going to be on Mad Decent, and we've been talking to them about getting on two of the songs and seeing how it goes.

You've said that your name, TWRK, was a "big pitfall" for you in the beginning. Can you explain?

When we decided to start this, it was January 2013. The whole "twerk," Miley Cyrus, all that stuff -- none of it had taken effect yet, so it was just a name of the genre of music. We said, let's put our name on this new burgeoning genre of music, not knowing that the whole Miley Cyrus mom knowing what twerk is, and that whole nationwide phenomenon. We thought we were clever with our name, but now we've come to live with it, and sometimes we just say, hey, we're T.W.R.K. It is what it is. We're content with it now.

In your own words, what's the difference between your TWRK and the pop culture twerk trend?

What's going on in pop culture is watered down. The music, I feel like, might have a longer shelf life, at least we hope. I'd say that Miley Cyrus twerking type of stuff doesn't have too much shelf life, whereas this has a longer shelf life, and it's just another branch of electronic music and all of the upcoming side genres.

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