Year Twins goes way back.
The trio from Lima, Ohio, gets its strong bond from years of playing “Super Smash Bros.” and participating in marching band together in high school, drummer Eli Leiss said. They began making rock music as teenagers, playing local record shops and bars under the name Radio Pilots, he said.
“Shoutout Groamy’s. It’s the record store in Lima. We wouldn’t have places to play if Groamy’s wouldn’t still be doing shows,” Leiss said. “That’s a formational place for us as musicians, I would say. I used to work at Groamy’s. Groamy’s is like an uncle to me.”
In 2017, the band reunited in Columbus, Ohio, to create a hodgepodge of pop-based Midwestern punk and emo sound, Ian Meyer, lead vocalist and guitarist, said.
Leiss said as the band has evolved, he has seen its music become weirder and less structured, inspired by the complicated rhythms of the math rock genre, a style of indie rock.
“It’s still a pop song, but it’s not a boring one. We take you for a ride because we still want to have an element of listenable surprises,” Leiss said.
Meyer said moving to Columbus was a big step for Year Twins due to the level of appreciation for art and creativity in the local music scene.
“There’s people that want to show people what they’re playing, and people want to hear what’s being made, which is really cool because it’s not always just a sense of, ‘We’re just drinking at a bar. There’s a band playing,’” Meyer said.
Being in Columbus has given the band the freedom to play at a wide array of venues with a diverse crowd of local bands, bassist Cory Stidham said.
“In Lima, we played basically one bar and a record store, and we’ve played — I can’t even count how many different places we’ve played here,” Stidham said. “Not only are there so many more places to play in Columbus, but there’s so many more bands to play with, so there’s an opportunity to see these other bands and see how good they are and then be inspired by them.”
The group’s most recent music video for the song “Mystics in Bali” garnered nearly 9,000 views on YouTube, with listeners across the globe from the United Kingdom, Australia and Bali. Leiss said this was a gratifying moment for the band.
“Our friend Rahul is a Reddit wizard, has like a billion karma and posted it on r/listentothis, and overnight a bunch of people are talking about it, arguing in the comments,” Leiss said. “It’s just very surreal, sharing that experience of — nothing any of us has ever done has ever got that much attention. It was just very validating, felt very good to finally be validated.”
In the future, the band said it hopes to finish its album and go on tour. For now, they are enjoying what Meyer said is an equal love of getting recognition for their music, feeling personally fulfilled through a creative outlet and hanging out with friends.