Gaetana and James fell in love – and then decided to start a band. To Gaetana, songwriting for War Twins provided an opportunity for her to express the pain of a life marred by abuse. Inspired and encouraged by meeting fellow abuse survivors at the East LA Women’s Center, Gaetana felt emboldened to share her truth. She hopes that their new single “Right or Wrong” will provide a message of hope and strength to other survivors. The song gave her a safe space to process her own feelings and recognize that healing can include multiple and sometimes confusing emotions, but all of them are valid. “Right or Wrong” is just one of the tracks on War Twins’ new record, American Kids, produced by Grammy Award-winning Sylvia Massy. Listen to “Right or Wrong” HERE.
Cliché: How did you meet?
War Twins: I was a small town girl and had booked my first ever show on my own in Boston for UnRegular Radio. James worked for the radio and I immediately fell for him. I struck up a conversation and then we fell in love over the next few months. After about a year and a half, he asked me if I wanted to start a band. I said no, and he convinced me it was worth a try, so here we are!
Your first tour took you to over 80 cities! Did you bond while you were on the road?
Definitely. Living in a van, with no space or creature comforts for 7 years can really do a lot of humbling and bonding to two people. James and I literally ate oatmeal everyday with nasty protein powder and spirulina so we could have basic nutrition. We had some incredible moments and learned how to survive off of about $50-$75 a performance (if we were lucky) , while we drove anywhere from 5-6 hours to each gig. Damn, I mean it really proved to me that we love each other through thick and thin.
Talk about your new record, American Kids.
It was an incredible experience to work with Sylvia Massy. She really brought this whole record to light. My hope with all the songs on this album was to be straight forward and honest in my songwriting with all the different sides of myself and James. I feel that we achieved that in this music.
You identify as pansexual! What advice do you have for people who might be struggling with their sexuality or afraid of family rejection?
I would say to find the people who love you for who you are and support you. When you feel ready, open up to them first. Also, learn to love who you are, despite what anyone says. In my experience, there are always people who like to stir up pain and trouble and they are just not worth your time or any space in your mind. How someone else feels about me is none of my business. But how I feel about me? Now that is more valuable then anything else on this world because I live with me everyday.
One of the tracks in American Kids, “Right or Wrong” details your (Gaetana’s) experiences with being a survivor of domestic violence and rape. What gave you the courage to be so vulnerable in your music?
To be fully honest, War Twins has been a project that was my emotional release and deep expression of all the abuse I have seen in my life. To me, it was safe to wrap up my experiences in metaphors and scream them from a microphone. It has only been with this song release that I have been willing to publicly open up about this and that was thanks to meeting the women from the East LA Women’s Center. It was there that I first saw women like Norma Basitas open up and show their strength. They gave me courage and I realized that I too could share my story and give others strength that they too are empowered people.
You’ve said that writing the song helped you to heal. Do you think being so intensely honest in your lyrics gave you closure or reminded you of your true strength?
Maybe. Truly, it just gave me a safe place to be free in my expression, and I feel that when I am able to get out what I do not understand, then I have more clarity.
What message do you hope the song can send other survivors or people currently in abusive situations?
That they are not alone.
What has this whole process taught you about reclaiming your identity and reaffirming your own resilience?
It has taught me that the journey of healing and empowerment is messy, weird, uncomfortable, rewarding, joyful, supportive and entirely my own. It has taught me that I do not need anyone else to understand, approve of me or accept what has happened to me. As my beautiful friend Cathy would say, “Be a Warrior for your own personal truth”. I feel now that my life is about standing in my truth, being open, honest and authentic and being willing to be empowered despite what is around me. When I have the opportunity, I share my experience with other survivors so that they too can be reminded of hope, and that they are not alone.
Read more Music Interviews at ClicheMag.com
War Twins Share Powerful Story of Healing and Survival in New Single, “Right or Wrong.” Photo Credit: Cory Ingram.