Carving a name for themselves at the ripe age of 20, Californian identical twins Wyatt and Fletcher Shears are defying both gender stereotypes and music genre with their minimalist neo-punk band The Garden.
Their debut album “The Life And Times Of A Paperclip” created quite a stir in both the UK and the US, and now, following a string of singles, their highly-anticipated sophomore album “Haha” is set to drop October 9.
Gender-bending from time to time and ultra photogenic, the twins are not only turning heads for their distinct sound, but also their androgynous aesthetic, with Saint Laurent’s creative director, Hedi Slimane, recruiting them on more occasions than one for runways and campaigns.
TheFashionSpot caught up with Wyatt and Fletcher while on their whirlwind Australian tour to learn a little more about The Garden and what it’s like juggling modelling and music.
tFS: How’s your Australian leg of the tour going? Is this your first time in Australia?
Wyatt: This is our first time, yes, and I am liking it a lot. So far, we’ve gotten a really warm welcome.
Fletcher: This is our first time and it’s honestly been going so great.
tFS: Your sophomore album “Haha” is just about to drop — how are you feeling about the release?
W: My feelings vary with this record from time to time, but I feel proud, anxious, and ready to keep moving.
F: I also feel different about it in different ways. But overall, definitely proud, and content with it.
tFS: You have a unique sound that’s been likened to early Prodigy and Aphex Twin — but who do you credit as your musical influences?
W: When it comes to music and what I’ve listened to, I think that everything has an effect on me whether I know it or not. Good or bad, I like to absorb what I like and then shape it into my own unique thing. My influences always differ, but right [now] some of [that] influence has been directed towards the mainstream.
F: I think no matter what I listen to, music in general has an effect, whether it’s bad or good. I think for us it’s all about shaping our music naturally.
tFS: You’ve garnered attention for your visceral and energetic live shows. How do you approach your performances?
W: I tend to approach a performance the same way I would with a social situation. I need a bit of time to feel it out, and eventually as the crowd connects with me and vice versa, things will tend to mesh better and better. I am myself on stage, and I avoid any sort of contrived behaviour at all times.
tFS: In previous interviews, you’ve mentioned that there is a level of telepathy working with your twin – can you tell us about that and what it’s like to be in a band with your twin?
W: The “telepathy” shifts on and off. In my opinion it’s based off how the night has gone and how well we are getting along. To be in a band with a person that I basically share my life with doesn’t really feel like anything, because at this point, it’s beyond natural.
tFS: Aside from your music, how would you describe your style?
W: Usually based on feeling. I don’t consider it one sole thing. Clothing is something that I enjoy, but to a certain degree. I am very picky-choosy.
F: Clothing, for me, is something I enjoy. But don’t take too seriously. It’s fun to be able to dress up how ever I like, and I simply just wear what I feel. I don’t think about it too much really.
tFS: Has your style evolved over time or have you always steered toward androgyny?
W: It’s definitely evolved. Androgyny is great, but I’ve never steered towards it. Yes, I wear earrings, but for me that was always unisex. I consider my style to be relatively basic, but sometimes that’s not the case I guess.
F: My style changes almost constantly. But not because of influence, just simply because of who I am. I don’t limit myself, therefore the possibilities are endless.
tFS: You’re celebrated for stepping outside of gender stereotypes when it comes to dressing, what propels you to dress the way you do?
W: To be honest, I’m not putting a truckload of thought into what I’m wearing and how it’s going to look to other people… Unless I’m going to a wedding or something of that nature. I don’t think that anyone should be held back from wearing what they want because of a potential public reaction. If you want to wear boys clothes, then go for it. And if you want to wear girls clothes, then do it.
F: Nothing has ever propelled me to dress any certain way necessarily. I just simply wear what I want. If that sometimes has something to do being celebrated than great! But I just wear the clothes I want to wear with out the boundaries the people are known to create for themselves. It’s just a natural thing to be honest.
tFS: The term “gender-fluid” has been backed by celebrity advocates like Ruby Rose and Miley Cyrus. How do you feel about the term and do you identify with it?
W: I’ve never heard that term to be honest. I’m sorry.
F: I think it’s a positive thing that gives freedom to people allowing them to be who they feel like they are at any given time. But I myself, don’t really label myself as anything but a person. Sure, I’m a male. But at the end of the day I’m just a person. I don’t feel the need to classify myself as anything other than that to look a certain way or feel a certain way. I think gender fluid it is positive and a forward moving thing though.
tFS: Hedi Slimane has selected you for for Saint Laurent campaigns and runways, can you tell us how that came about and what it was like?
W: The experience was and has always been a positive one. The opportunity came about by chance and it’s been an opportunity that I’ve been pleased to be a part of ever since.
tFS: What’s something interesting you’ve learned about the fashion industry from that experience?
W: I’ve learned [to] read behind the lines of what you’re told and to of course be yourself. Do your best not to fall into “model character”. Unless you’re into that of course.
F: There’s always more going on behind the scenes that you don’t know. Be who you are on a normal day. I wouldn’t recommend walking around like you own the place. But then again, if you’re into that. Ok.
tFS: Do you think your recognition in the fashion industry has helped out your music careers at all?
W: Of course, I think it definitely has. It’s introduced our music to a whole market of people that would’ve never heard it before.
tFS: What’s scarier – walking the runway or walking on stage?
W: I don’t find any to be scary, but when you’re walking runway you’re modelling something and you’re supposed to be doing something in a certain way. When you’re playing music on a stage you make up the your own code.
F: Neither of the two scare me, but when it comes to runway it’s helpful to keep in mind that you are modelling someone else’s vision. So, that in itself can possibly enable a more respectful, honourable approach. At least in me.
tFS: Are there any Australian designers, musicians or artists that you’re into at the moment?
W: There are certainly a lot of nice people that we’ve came across. We are friends with the “Wax Witches” crew. They are super nice.
tFS: You’re on a whirlwind world tour, but what do you do in your down time?
W: Being that we are in the middle of it right now, what I usually like to do is, eat, work out, and brainstorm.
F: We are n the middle of it now… But in our down time on tour we keep it mellow. The shows tend to wear us down night after night. Considering the way we play.
tFS: Is there anyone you would love to see in the audience?
W: My loved ones.
F: It’s fun to play in front of my family and loved ones.
tFS: And finally, what does the future hold for The Garden?
W: The future holds progression and positivity. That’s the VV way.