Alexandra James is a force to be reckoned with. Her gothic style and gritty voice exude a flow of power as her voice takes hold of your soul. She is a seductress, taking hold of her audience as if she is casting a voodoo spell. Her band Twin Temple is self-described satanic doo-wop. Their music is reminiscent of New Orleans with their dark swampy aesthetic, and swanky bluesy style. Their recent release titled "Girl Trouble" is a soul tune whose catchy chorus and frank lyrics are difficult to ignore. The music video will entrance the viewer as Mrs. James dances and belts out the groove in a church filled with albino snakes and skulls in a bewitching style. Read more to learn about her views on feminism, Satanism, and her band Twin Temple.
When did you become emersed in the world of gothic style?
In the Victorian era, after I drained the blood of my first husband.
You call your sound "Satanic doo-wop." Do you consider yourself a Satanist, or is it just an alter ego for the group?
Yes, I am absolutely a Satanist. Though, I feel that this term is widely misunderstood. Satanism for me is refusing to be defined by stereotypical, patriarchal norms of what it means to be a woman: an obedient, pious, silent, sexual object.
Instead, I claim Satanism as a way to reject old-fashioned, oppressive ways of thinking. Satanism is about the fierce worship of the individual: "to thine own self be true." of being who you want to be. I feel like "rebellious" women throughout history- women who let their voices be heard, women who harnessed their own inherent power- have always been called “witches” or accused of being in cohorts with “Satan.” So I choose Lucifer. I call myself a witch, a feminist, a Satanist. It represents a reclamation of power and a symbol of my disgust with many of the old societal norms that continue to be propagated and perpetuated today. Solve et coagula.
So you are married to the guitar player? What is it like being in a band with your husband?
As with all things, there is light and dark. Because we’re so comfortable, there can be hell fire over creative ideas. However, overall I’d say it’s amazing. It’s great to be able to have an idea for a song, and just turn to the person you love sitting next to you, and write it in that moment. Zachary is an incredible musician and artist and it’s amazing to share so many different aspects of our life. We’re always dreaming and creating. I can’t imagine my life in any other way.
Do you guys write the songs together? What is your creative process like?
Yes. Each song is a bit different, though our general approach is that we’ll have a vague concept for a song. Then I write the lyrics and vocal melody, and Zachary writes the arrangements. Once we have a rough sketch of each of these two halves, we go in and start collaboratively fine tuning the song.
When do you think we will be hearing more music from you guys?
Right now we just released the single “Let’s Hang Together” via PLAG Records, and are focusing on filming & releasing a music video for it this month. We have a bunch of recordings and are working on new material right now for our next release.
Where do you like to shop for your amazing wardrobe?
There is too much to name. Definitely 1920’s macabre jazz like Cab Calloway, satanic spoken word like Anton Lavey’s The Devil Speaks & Plays or Aleister Crowley’s invocations. Billie Holiday, Anita O’Day, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Egyptian jazz like Salah Ragab, 1950’s doo-wop, Roy Orbison, Dion & The Bellmonts, Del Shannon, funeral classical like Chopin’s funeral march and the Moonlight Sonata, Clara Rockmore etc.
Have you faced any obstacles thus far because you are a woman in the music industry?
Definitely. Society in general, not just the music industry, poses more obstacles to being a woman. We have made strides, but we still have a long way to go. I just choose not to focus on that fact and use my music as a way to empower and express myself. I also focus on building and being a part of a community. There’s a lot of exciting organizations clawing out new spaces for women’s voices to be heard. We’re really proud to be involved with a Los Angeles based feminist collective called Play Like A Girl that supports women in the arts. They do so much amazing work including monthly showcases at the Echo, running a record label that released our last single, and now even workshops featuring women in the music industry. They’re a force of nature. Despite the obstacles, it is an exciting time to be a female artist.
What is some advice you would give to other female musicians?
Learn Witchcraft to harness the power of the natural world and your own divine femininity, as well as a variety of good hexes to banish any enemies. Call on Satan to reject hypocrisy, and support other women in the arts. Be genuinely glad of other women’s success. Go to their shows, buy their merch, commune, gather, celebrate the moon, love each other.
You can find more of Twin Temple at the following links.