As an elusive entity, the jamflowman is never seen but heard with his quick hands and the ability to shake people’s bodies all around with fat ‘ol jams. You may spend your whole life searching but if you aren’t looking in the right places, you might never witness the mystery found within his jams.
However, if you follow the music of the jamflowman, you’ll find yourself on a one way train to the music of Twiddle, this generation’s premier jam band that intertwines the influences of jazz, blues and reggae into one of the most dynamic and euphoric sounding bands to emerge today.
Finding their genesis as college kids in Vermont over 13 years ago, Twiddle came at a time when their heroes and biggest inspirations, Phish, were hanging up their capes for an indefinite hiatus and the jam band scene seemed to be running low on steam.
From those ashes came the phoenix named Twiddle that has delivered five records of original music as well as start their own music festival, Tumble Down, which ran this past July in Burlington, Vt. “We’ve been planning this year’s Tumble Down since last year’s Tumble Down ended,” said Mihali Savoulidis, lead vocalist and guitarist of Twiddle. “It’s fun for us to have control over the whole thing as opposed to heading straight to a stage.”
For Savoulidis and the rest of Twiddle, much inspiration for their own festival came from the Phish festivals of the 1990s and 2000s. “I don’t think it’s just Tumble Down, I think it’s every major festival that is happening now [that] has been influenced by the Phish festivals of the 90s. Phish paved the way for that,” said Savoulidis.
Speaking of festivals, Twiddle has existed recently as a non-stop touring machine, delivering face-melting shows with epic 20-minute jams and enough instrumental proficiency to keeps the fans coming in drones. Just as the Deadheads and Phans, Twiddle’s Frends, a name given to their fanbase, travel near and far to catch their favorite band and make it their mission to attend as many shows as time allots. “It’s the greatest compliment for anyone to give us by going on tour and going to six shows, or whatever it is,” said Savoulidis. “We’ve had a couple people do the entire tour and there is no greater honor than someone giving up that chunk of time to appreciate your craft.”
As for their songcraft, Twiddle weaves tales of old friends and iridescent, joyful memories into tunes that fully flourish in a live setting. In April, Twiddle released “Plump: Chapter 2” of 2015’s “Plump: Chapter 1,” a mature follow-up that chronicles the band’s progression through life and sound as well as the state of affairs in today’s political world. “I think music can play any role you want it to be and it depends on how outspoken you are,” said Savoulidis. “It was right after [President Donald] Trump got elected that I wrote the ‘Juggernaut’ lyrics and you know, this whole thing has been very tough to swallow for our generation.”
“You also don’t want to alienate anyone by being too political; my views are my views and I’m not going to hate someone if they have different views than me,” added Savoulidis.
Tunes from “Plump: Chapter 2,” such as the magnum opus “Orlando’s” and the funkified ballad “Drifter,” indicate a progression for Twiddle since 2007’s “Natural Evolution of Consciousness,” though a key underlying player to Twiddle’s sound has been the “natural evolution” of Savoulidis’ guitar tone. This tone is courtesy of DGN Custom Guitars in Fairfield, Conn., from which Savoulidis and DGN have developed his signature, custom guitar, “The Kalos,” as well as create new amplifiers.
“For me, it’s working one-on-one with the artist and working on a shape; so we draw a bunch of shapes and how do we want to build it? What kind of pickups do we want to put in it? Do we want to put coil taps in?,” said Savoulidis. “Whereas if you’re working with Fender, they’re not going to make you a custom shape unless you’re Kurt Cobain. You’re either going to get a Strat or a Tele.”
As this evolution takes place, the core essence of Twiddle remains untouched as Twiddle continues to produce a stream of uplifting music that is turning the jam band scene on it’s head.
“All anybody can do is write honest music, play well live, play what you believe in and writing music that you stand behind, and if other people dig it, then you should be super stoked,” said Savoulidis earnestly.
Twiddle will be playing at The Warehouse in Downtown Fairfield for a three-day residency from Thursday, Aug. 31 to Saturday, Sept. 2.