By Mike Skwark
The goth scene is one of the most tight-knit scenes in the Winnipeg music community. Goth shows are always well attended by fellow goths (and goth fans). One of the most prominent acts from this scene is Ghost Twin, a dark synthpop duo comprised of partners Jaimz and Karen Asmundson. Ghost Twin is made up of equal parts haunting melodies, eerie synths, and bass that makes you feel your skeleton. All of this is coupled with occult-inspired glitched out visuals, creating a live show that engages on every level. The two have been married for 11 years (“We met at Goth Night,” says Karen. “He was dancing to Ministry, wearing eyeliner”) but only started the band a couple years ago after Karen’s previous band, Querkus, ended.
“We started writing music without any intention of playing [live] right away,” Jaimz explains, “then our friends asked if we’d do a show and we pretty much wrote an entire set in a weekend. We both really respect each other’s ideas and totally jive on musical tastes, so it comes pretty easily.”
“The Winnipeg music scene is so welcoming,” says Karen. “We love playing here.”
This natural chemistry leads them to work on all pieces of the band together. “We take passes at [writing lyrics].” says Jaimz. “Usually if I start, then Karen will rewrite everything to be more poetic.” Karen says the videos are, “mostly Jaimz . . . but I help choose elements to add.”
2015 has been a busy year for Ghost Twin. In April, they released their EP Here We Are In The Night, a project that contains four new tracks and four remixes from local producers—one being Jaimz’s side project, vvinter rainbovv. The project is available digitally, on CD, and on a VHS mixtape with the four original tracks paired with their live visuals. They followed up this release by touring eastern Canada this summer.
“[The tour was] mostly good!” says Karen. “The best thing was NXNE. We got to play at 1 a.m. on Saturday night at Handlebar. There were people backed up to the front door and there was lots of dancing. We had zero expectations and were so happy about the response!”
There were some negative experiences along the way, but Ghost Twin embraces the strange and unusual. “What wasn’t good was weird and memorable,” says Jaimz. “The weirdest part was staying in this old haunted hotel with no one else there. There was an entire floor of just darkness. Then playing to an empty bar with the only patrons being Kingpin from the Daredevil comics and his band of strippers. He paid with a brick of money and then yelled at people on his phone the whole time.”
Overall though the tour was a success, playing to packed rooms full of dancing people. They’re home now, but they haven’t taken a break. Karen says they plan to record again this winter and are currently shooting a music video.
“Gwen Trutnau is directing,” says Jaimz, “it’s for the title track. Something about creepy gardeners, dark hallways, and amoebas.” “We’ve been friends for years,” adds Karen, “A few years ago we made a film together called ‘Polar Express’ in which I did heavy metal cross-dressing at the Red River Ex. We are going to put it on YouTube very soon.”
Working with friends is something that both Karen and Jaimz find important, and they say it is “basically [their] philosophy” with Ghost Twin. “It’s so great finding someone as weird as you are,” says Karen.
Catch Ghost Twin live on October 31 for Hell Night at Ozzy’s.