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“We were standing in our house with our titties out and our ritual props”: Twin Temple on their new single Babalon

Twin Temple
(Image credit: Travis Shinn)

With their new “unholy hymnal” Babalon, LA-based husband and wife duo Twin Temple (aka Alexandra and Zachary James) have served up another spellbinding helping of Satanic doo-wop, that’s an ode to the Goddess Babalon. From rituals to Cardi B, they give us the lowdown on the new track and what's been going on in their world. 

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What’s the story behind your new 7-inch single, Babalon

Alexandra James: “We actually recorded it over a year ago, on the day that coincided with one of the Babalon workings that [mid-20th century occultist] Jack Parsons did: he did a series of rituals to call forth Babalon. Babalon is an archetype we’ve worked with extensively for the past couple of years, both within our personal magickal practice and onstage, so it was only a matter of time before we wrote an unholy hymnal in her honour.”

For anyone who’s not clued in, can you explain who Babalon is?

Alexandra: “Babalon is known as the Sacred Whore, the Mother Of Abominations, the Scarlet Woman. She rides upon a seven-headed beast that has 10 horns. People simplify it and say she embodies lust – that's the Tarot card that [Aleister] Crowley associated with her. But I think her symbolism is a lot richer than that. She’s an incarnation of the Divine Feminine, so in that sense she represents both creation and destruction, sex and death, blood and milk. She carries in her hand an unholy grail, which sort of embodies the potential for creation – it’s everything and nothing at once. It’s sort of like the womb: it holds pure potential.

“She reminds us that we are divine not because of our flesh but in spite of our flesh. It’s very much life itself – duality and transcending that duality and understanding that both sides of the coin of life are to be exulted – the sacred and the profane. Which is why she has the moniker of The Sacred Whore. We personally believe that we’ve been seeing the dawning of a new eon where this kind of energy, the sacred whoredom that Babalon represents, is rearing its seven heads again.”

Zachary James: “It started in the 60s, the sexual revolution. It’s been going on for a long time. It’s a slow process, these massive cultural changes, but sexual freedom has evolved so much since the 60s.”

Alexandra: “I was watching the video for Cardi B’s WAP, and that to me is pure sacred whoredom – in terms of a woman being in charge of her body and being proud of the physicality of her wet ass pussy. I’m, like, 'Damn, that’s Babalon.'” 

The B-side of the single, Ritual 777, is an actual ritual, right?

Alexandra: “We did a ritual with a performer called Louisianna Purchase. She’s a person we really love, and she embodies Babalon’s energy in a beautiful way. So when we were thinking about a B-side, we thought, ‘We should record this ritual we have been doing onstage with her.’ She is our neophyte.” 

Twin Temple

(Image credit: Twin Temple)

The cover of the single is amazing. What’s the story behind it?

Alexandra: “The artist’s name is David Brinley. We wanted to depict a classic image of a Babalon evocation, so Zach is taking the form of the magician and I’m appearing as Babalon from the flames. I was, like, ‘Our covers have been photos. Are people going to like this?’ Zach was, like, ‘Of course people are going to like it, they get to see your titties.’” 

You’re both naked in the illustration. Was there some life-modelling going on?

Alexandra: “There was, actually. Zach was standing there, hiding his dong. But this artwork was a hard birth – it took a while to get it right. We were dealing with Babalon, so we knew we had to get it right or she would be fucking pissed.”

Zach: “We were trying to show a ritual, so the mood had to be right. It took a while to get the expressions right.”

Alexandra: “We were literally standing there in our house, with our titties out and our ritual props, our chalice and sword.” 

There must have been points where you were standing there thinking, ‘What are we doing?’

Alexandra: “[Laughs] That’s pretty much our entire career. ‘What the fuck are we doing?’”

The last year has been tough for most bands. But have there been any upsides to it for you?

Alexandra: “Absolutely. Again, this is Babalon in motion, but with any death there’s also going to be a rebirth. So I think with this period of disruption, new things have been born. And also, it was interesting to see a lot of bands and companies and groups that were problematic just getting totally slayed – I felt that Babalon’s swords were severing so many heads.”

Zach: “That’s very Babalon. A great reckoning.”

Alexandra: “We suddenly found ourselves with all this time on our hands. We thought we were going to be going on tour with Uncle Acid and Tiger Army, and then going off to the UK and doing a headlining run and then doing all these festivals. And then all of sudden, nine months of our life we had planned out were totally open. So we were, like, ‘Let's go make some music.’” 

Where are things at with new music? Have you recorded enough for an album?

Zach: “There’s more music, for sure. We have much more music recorded. We’re not deviating far from the first album, but it’s a bit different.” 

Alexandra: “You can’t really change. We never really expected things to happen with Twin Temple. It was such a pure reflection of who we are as people that we didn’t really think it would take off like it did. I don’t think we can radically change who we are in terms of our interests and inspirations. But we’ve elevated some of the things that we do.” 

So will there be a new Twin Temple album this year?

Zach: “There will be new music, but I can't say if it will be an album.”

Alexandra: “We could tell you, but we'd have to hex you.” 

Babalon is available now.