Two Knights are going to be your new favorite band. Following the release of last year’s My Love, The Woods EP, the math-pop duo of high school seniors have been playing shows almost nonstop, bringing their infectious sound beyond the DIY scene of their Arlington, TX hometown and out into the world. The songs are jubilant, youthful, and enthusiastic, and the musicianship impressive – an inspiring interplay of innocence and technical prowess that never fails to charm and delight.
In the time since their EP release, guitarist/vocalist Parker Lawson and drummer Miles DeBruin have played all over the state, often spending sleepless nights driving home from shows to make it to school the next morning. They have honed their skills while sharing the stage with local math-rock luminaries like Dear Human and Babar, writing new material that incorporates a more aggressive and experimental edge into their songs, while maintaining the fresh-faced pop sweetness that sets them apart.
With a move to Denton planned for the fall (to begin their studies at UNT), a summer tour in the works and a new EP already recorded and waiting to be released, you can expect to hear a lot about Two Knights in the future. Consider yourself lucky.
– Dale Jones
Miles DeBruin: Hey.
Parker Lawson: Hello.
Miles: Two Knights…
Parker: Two Pussies…
Miles: Two Pussies…
Parker: Did you ever hear that story?
Michael Briggs: No.
Parker: Have you seen that Zach Galifianakis stand up video? Where, itʼs like…live at the Purple Onion or something?
MB: I know him, I’ve seen some of his stuff.
Parker: He tells this joke about how he and his friend were at a gas station and, while they were walking by, this redneck guy just saw them and says, ʻtwo pussies.’ So, that’s what people started calling us, like, Eyes and Ears and stuff, as a joke. And then the first time we played in Austin I said, ʻHi, weʼre Two Pussies.ʼ I’m pretty sure that half of them were on crack, so they probably think our name is Two Pussies. Yeah…
MB: That’s funny.
Miles: Yeah… that’s dumb.
ONE: So where did the name Two Knights come from?
Parker: It’s stupid!
Miles: We were in French class one time and we were trying to think of names, a long time ago, and we just came up with that…for some dumb reason.
MB: Itʼs funny that all of the related videos on YouTube are about chess.
Miles: Yeah! The Two Knights Opening, Two Knights Defense…
Parker: Two knights Defense! It’s a good move. I’ve used it.
MB: Is it?
Miles: Yeah – I don’t know. We’re not very good at chess.
Parker: We’re not, but it’s a good opening move. There’s also a two knights end move, where you can end the game…
Parker: Checkmate with Two Knights! We’re all over the chess world!
TWO: Do you have any touring plans for the summer?
Parker: This summer we’re going on tour with our friend Warren Franklin from Rockford, Illinois; and we’re going to the Midwest and a little bit of the East Coast. We’re booking it right now, so that’s exciting. I’m really excited for it.
Miles: You know, like, up and then across, above where the Great Lakes area is, and then into the Tri-State area and down the East Coast and around back to Texas.
Parker: We just booked a show in Connecticut.
Miles: Our friends are helping us book it, and Warren, who we are going on tour with, is booking a lot. Yeah, it’s very exciting.
THREE: How did you meet and decide to start a band?
Miles: We met at school..
Parker: Yeah, when we were in 7th grade, we had Speech class together, and I remember the first time that I met Miles he bragged to me about how he could play guitar, bass, and drums – he told me he was a triple threat!
Miles: [laughing] I don’t remember this at all, but I’m sure I was probably really stupid and said that.
Parker: No, it was hilarious.
Miles: So we joke about that. ‘I’m a triple threat!ʼ [laughing]
Parker: He is a triple threat.
Miles: And I didn’t actually play drums at that time. I just fooled around on my uncle’s drum set so I was like, ʻYeah, I can play drums!ʼ
Parker: He was trying to impress me.
Parker: So, we hung out at school. In 8th grade, during Thanksgiving break, I went over to his house with my bass guitar that I had bought in 7th grade – I didn’t really play it, I just wanted an instrument and I chose bass. I brought it to his house and we played “Fall Together” by Weezer over and over because that’s what he taught me and I couldn’t play anything – except for, like, Green Day songs.
Miles: It was fun. Then we played Lego Star Wars and called it a day.
Parker: And we became best friends. We decided.
Miles: Ever since then… best friends and we played in bands together.
Parker: Then I joined his Junior High band in 8th grade, and that kept going for a while. In 9th grade we wanted to do a two-piece because, at the time, he played guitar and I played keyboards and I wanted to play guitar and he wanted to play drums. So, we bought a cheap drum set from our friend and that’s why we started Two Knights.
Parker: Too bad we came up with this stupid name and didn’t change it.
MB: So, Parker, how did you get into tap style guitar playing?
Parker: Well, I didn’t really know anything for a long time-
Miles: About guitar.
Parker: And, I just tried to learn Green Day covers and we played “Smells Like Teen Spirit” over and over when Two Knights started in 9th grade.
Parker: That, and then we wrote some stupid song and we played it over and over.
Parker: Then we played “Dimension” by Wolf Mother over and over.
Miles: We did that one a lot, just trying to learn our instruments.
Parker: Then we saw-and I only thought the tapping thing was done in metal bands and stuff-then we saw Maps and Atlases in…
Miles: …in like September of ‘09.
Parker: Yeah. Then I was like, ʻWoah! That’s cool!ʼ
Miles: Yeah. We were kind of blown away by their style and sound.
Parker: I wasn’t very good at guitar, and I was just teaching myself. I’d taken piano lessons for a really long time, and so I tried it out and, I don’t know, it was easy, I guess, because I played piano for so long. So, I kind of figured it out. At first I wasn’t very good at it…
Miles: But he kept going.
Parker: I kept practicing it.
Miles: We wrote a lot of songs.
Parker: I liked it. It was weird because, before I started that, I could never write any songs. We had tried to do all different kinds of genres – we tried to be a blues band at one time, then we were going to be, like, punk…
Miles: Pop. Techno style.
Parker: Then we were going to be something like Hot Snakes. We wanted to play music like Hot Snakes because they’re sweet.
Miles: And then, like, an Americana/folk band we tried, and I copied a bunch songs that I wasn’t realizing that I was trying to write. It was a bunch of dumb stuff.
Parker: I couldn’t write anything. Everything I did write sounded poppy, kind of like All American Rejects…and I didn’t like it. And then I was like, ʻLet me see if I can tap some stuff, and maybe we’ll try to do kind of like math-y stuff.ʼ And then, I actually wrote songs. Most of them were pretty bad for a while, but I like the stuff that we’re playing now.