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“I first started actually playing guitar when I was eleven years old. I had some neighborhood friends who told me they were starting a band and needed a guitarist. I told my folks and by the next day I had a guitar lesson set up with a local teacher…My neighbors never ended up starting that band.”

For most of his life, Darren Robinson has been performing music. While still a teenager, the guitarist founded Phantom Planet with childhood friends Alexander Greenwald, Jason Schwartzman, Jacques Brautbar and Sam Farrar. Taking their name from the 1961 science fiction film, “The Phantom Planet,” the band played around their native California before catching the attention of the music industry. And though Brautbar and Schwartzman would both part ways with the group in 2004, the arrival of drummer Jeff Conrad would breathe new life into the group’s performances and arrangements. Which is why, all this time later, 1998’s Phantom Planet Is Missing, 2002’s The Guest, 2004’s Phantom Planet and 2008’s Raise The Dead, remain demonstrative of the group’s musical growth and maturation. When taken in together, each record expands on the previous collection’s topics and themes, functioning as one piece of a much larger puzzle. And though the band has not released any new material in seven years, their decision to go on hiatus in 2008 would lead Robinson into a whole new era of songwriting and recording.

“Twin Terrors came about after I kept hearing this drumbeat in my head and tapping it out for months. Up until this time I never really wrote or produced music on my own. So eventually I started to lay the beat down in a recording program on my computer, and it began to take shape.”

After touring with Miniature Tigers and forming the Californian with fellow musicians John Graney, Mike Hopkins, Wendy Wang and Jonathan Price, Robinson would begin 2012 with a new project. Releasing at-home recordings under the name, “Twin Terrors,” he collaborated with a multitude of various friends and performers to produce music that was different than anything he had previously worked on. The experimental nature of the tracks organically led him to pursue diverse musical avenues, with Robinson describing the entire experience as both “challenging and rewarding.” Most recently, he has channeled this creativity into another musical outlet: Dead Honcho. Writing and recording alongside his good friend, Sal Romano, Robinson has managed to carve out a musical identity that is dedicated to flawless musicianship and persistent change.

New tracks, “Let’s Stand Up,” and “Lonely Fisherman,” underline an adherence to the unpredictable nature of composing without guidelines. Littered with sound effects and enriched by a garage rock personality and character, both tracks follow in the footsteps of previous Dead Honcho releases, “Something To Believe In,” and “Heart Tied.” And by striving for the type of atmosphere that could convince the listener that they have dropped out of this world and entered another, Robinson and Romano have elevated their initial vision, bridging an original sound with a sharp aesthetic.


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Article by: Caitlin Phillips


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