Introducing Ellery Twining: A Musician Crafting Sonic Narratives

Ellery Twining, among the countless maestros, stands out in a unique fashion in the music scene. This multi-talented artist has made his own road with an iron will that led to the emergence of artistic sincerity-a characteristic that is dearly cherished of these fans and critics all around.

The singer’s musical career began with the intimate album “REVENGE,” but he has already been through the transformation of his whole style. Lately, he dropped an album,” RESULTS” which is not just a compilation of new songs but an audiovisual fabric that has got to do with the narrative established in his debut album. Not only is this album remarkable, but also what really makes it remarkable is that Twining plays every instrument himself and writes all the lyrics by himself, giving it a unique sound that no one else can possibly make.

The song “S.B. Butler” is also worthy of note, accompanied by a powerful music video full of visuals describing Twining’s adventures in the soundscapes of post-pop. Directed by the photographer Michelle from Mystic, CT the video does a detailed piece on meshing together pictures and story that evokes with nostalgic feeling and self-reflection. Filmed in Mystic CT and with model Carly Straub, the video essentializes the song.

In our featured session, Twining reveals to us his artistic process, sources of inspiration, and future goals. Since the early days of music to now, he is able to reveal the process of understanding and developing his own style.

Come with us as we discover the world of Ellery Twining- an artist breaking rules and offering his fans a trip along the path of self-exploration through his music.


Watch S B BUTLER below

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What is your stage name

Ellery Twining

Is there a story behind your stage name?

Yes. I’m not a big fan of my given name, certainly not as a musician. There was a guy in Mystic when I was a kid who had a mastless sailboat docked next to the drawbridge. Year after year he was there, but no mast was ever raised. I think his name was Charles Thompson, but he had a brother, who was a painter, and occasionally Ellery Thompson would show a few paintings on the deck of his brothers’ boat, complete with sign ELLERY THOMPSON PAINTER. I loved that name, Ellery, even as a kid. When I started to do social media, I decided to use Ellery Twining so I would have a layer of anonymity. Years later when I began to write songs as a solo act, the name was already set up for me.

Where do you find inspiration?

“I have a million ideas that I ain’t even rocked yet.”

What was the role of music in the early years of your life?

I was lucky enough to be a kid in the 1970s, and I had no idea disco was “uncool” or that anything WAS anything. There was so much good music on the AM radio, and then the explosion of FM in the late 70s, I was surrounded by music. Great music. But I was setting up pots and pans as early as 4 years old banging away with wooden spoons in the kitchen of my parents home.

Are you from a musical or artistic family?

HA! Not at all. I used to think I was mixed up with some other kid at the maternity ward. I do have a kind of funny story about that. I work at Mystic Disc, one of the great American record stores. Every once in a while I get a shy customer who is afraid they are not going to look “cool” in the record store if they ask me a certain question. I always tell them how my parents had no taste in music, but my mother had a bunch of Barry Manilow records. And of course I listened to them incessantly. No one can surmise what music affected you in what way at a certain period of your life.

Who inspired you to be a part of the music industry?

Seeing The Police live in 1983 at the height of their powers.

How did you learn to sing/write/to play?

I don’t really sing, so I am not going to claim that, but I did perform extensively on the spoken word poetry scene in the 1990s. So, what I tried to do was use the syntax of spoken word, and utilize that method to combine the height of the lyric within the proper moment of the song. I basically taught myself how to play the drum set. At first I would bang out vocal melodies on the toms, and gradually figured out how to layer and combine the cymbals and the drums and pace.

But where I truly became a drummer was playing snare drum in the marching band during high school. The drum section had 15 additional hours of practice outside of the band practices. It was rigorous and challenging, and you also could not make a mistake. That is where I understood musical discipline.

As far as guitar goes, I was in an electro rock band for 5 years in the mid -90s, and I taught myself how to play simply by playing every day and forcing myself to get better at it. When that band ended, I didn’t pick up the guitar for another 24 years. And I had to basically start from scratch.

What was the first concert that you ever went to and who did you see perform?

The Police in Hartford, CT August 13 1983. REM actually opened the show but no one had ever heard of them before, so I was secretly praying they would be over in at least a half hour.

How could you describe your music?

Post Pop. What I am trying to do is write without using conventional ABACAB arrangement. I have no choruses in my songs, no verses, and no solos. When I begin to write a song, I want to find four chords, or “figures” that can all revolve around each other melodically. Then, I find another group of four voicings. Then a third set, and often a fourth set. Once I feel I have four “movements” that all relate to each other, I arrange them so the song unfurls like a train of thought, or a novel/narrative.

Describe your creative process.

When I am working on songs, what I do to begin is come up with nine lyric ideas- a song about the neighborhood fire, for example, and then I will write the entire lyric before I have any music. I will write the entire album full of lyrics before I write a note of music. Once I have nine musical ideas arranged, I match the lyric to the music that matches the intensity or integrity. At that point, I weave the spoken word lyric around the rhythm of the beat, matching emotional levels accordingly.

What is your main inspiration?

Mystic, Connecticut and my desire to let people know they can do it if I can do it.

What musician do you admire most and why?

Prince, for obvious reasons. Now, as a kid, we had no idea Stevie Wonder had already achieved what Prince was achieving, because Stevie was just another “singer” on AM radio.

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Now, as a kid, we had no idea Stevie Wonder had already achieved what Prince was achieving, because Stevie was just another “singer” on AM radio.

Did your style evolve since the beginning of your career?

As Ellery Twining, yes. My first record REVENGE was fairly stripped down, partly because I wanted to keep things under control, and partly because I didn’t want to take a long time in the recording process. On RESULTS I leaned more into my intuition about how to mix and match frequencies and create more dimension in the music.

Who do you see as your main competitor?

One of my biggest weaknesses as a young musician is that I brought my athletic background into the music scene, where success was not only being great but beating everyone else. It did not serve me well. I have a pretty funny story about how I think I got my first band banned from New Haven CT clubs because I ripped a local band in an interview. Whoopsie…

What are your interests outside of music?

I have built extensive gardens at our house that I enjoy watching reveal the seasons.

If it wasn’t a music career, what would you be doing?

I would be running a fastpitch professional Whiffleball league.

What is the biggest problem you have encountered in the journey of music?

I have an interesting story about that. In 2012 I was asked to play drums in a new band found by a bunch of kids twenty years younger than me who hung out at the Mystic Disc. I hadn’t played a live gig in 7 years, but I agreed to become the drummer. And the manager ,and the roadie, and the booking agent…

Our first out of town show is in New Haven at an all ages club whose owners I sort of knew through the years in the “scence.” We had a good bunch of kids travel down from Mystic, we probably played to 80 people. I was so excited by the response, I didn’t even think about getting paid, just getting everyone and all the equipment back to Mystic. The next day I realized I didn’t ask for money, so I emailed the club and asked if there was something we could work out. I’ll never forget that response email:

“ You did not make prior arrangements for payment.”

And these guys knew me! There was only one conclusion: I had forgotten it was The Music Business. Now magnify by 100.

If you could change one thing in the music industry, what would it be?

What we really need is a reinvention of the Indie Label / Touring circuit that Michael Azzerod so succinctly describes in his book “ Our Band Could Be Your Life”.I have always felt that the thing that weighed the most on Cobain’s mind is that he knew that the success of Nirvana had destroyed that ecosystem, that culture that allowed a band like REM five albums to hone their craft before signing to a major label. That was all gone in an instant when Nevermind was released.

Why did you choose this as the title of this project?

I named my first record REVENGE because I was getting some for all the musician’s I worked with before who left me holding the bag. RESULTS is the name of a collaboration LP between the Pet Shop Boys and Liza Minelli, and it is easily one of most cherished records. So, by actually following up REVENGE itself was RESULTS.

What are your plans for the coming months?

My plan is to record the third Ellery Twining album by mid-September at Dirt Floor Studios with Eric Lichter.

Do you have any artistic collaboration plans?

I’m currently recording a new single with my electro rock band from the 1990s Delta of Venus. We are looking at an early June release.

What message would you like to give to your fans?

If I can do it, you can do it.



Mister Styx
Mister Styx
My name is Mister Styx and I'm a music blogger and an HVAC Engineer. I'm passionate about all kinds of music, from rock to hip-hop, Jazz, and Reggae as a matter of fact I am always eager to hear new sounds as music has no barrier, and I'm always looking for new sounds to explore. Hop on lets go fetch for some new sounds!

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