Reporting live performances: twst

The Welsh artist on their standout live shows of 2023 and why young musicians need to get on top of the admin side of the music business.

Sam Moore
  • By Sam Harteam Moore
  • 29 Nov 2023
  • min read

‘It's really important to be on the business side of things and be able to look at all of your potential sources of income,’ twst tells M about why PRS members should report their live performances. ‘This is one of the ways that you can make money as a musician!’

The London-based Welsh artist, songwriter and producer, who has released their latest project TWST0002 (Off-World) today (29 November), has been finding their feet as a professional live performer both on and off-stage this year. ‘I think it's super important to stay on top of your admin. It's a good habit to start and treat very seriously,’ twst continues. ‘As soon as there's money coming in, I think it's really important to, if you can, get an accountant to help, or, if not, learn how to do it yourself.

‘There's a lot of help out there [if you do the latter]. I know PRS for Music is super forthcoming with help; the website is really detailed in terms of how to register your music. It's really good to get into the habit of making sure you register your music and your setlists, and stay on top of your accounts.’

For twst, performing live helps ‘complete the whole creative process’ of writing and recording music. ‘It's a really good opportunity for feedback as well, seeing what people actually enjoy,’ she adds. ‘You can really feel that performing live: you can't mask that feeling.’

twst will play a headline show at The Grace in London on 12 December in support of TWST0002 (Off-World), and they tell M they're intending to channel any pre-show nerves into delivering something special on the night.

‘I feel like I always get nervous for these shows, and then as soon as I get up on stage I just surrender to the situation,’ she explains. ‘I have to surrender to the performance and my music, because that's what I'm doing it for.’

Ahead of that London gig next month, we asked twst to look back over three memorable live performances that she's registered with PRS this year.

Reading Festival, August 2023

'It was amazing; one of my favourite days of this year. It was actually the sweetest because my family were there as well — seeing them there was so wholesome. I think [playing at Reading] is one of those moments where you're like, "Damn, this is a bucket list thing". These are the kind of milestones that we're working towards [in music] as artists, so it felt really good to be there and be like, "Yes, we're doing this. Let's go!"

'Reading was probably my favourite show I've played so far. The biggest feeling I took from it was the euphoria, and I felt like I was in a very nice state of flow with my performance where I was very committed to the music. I have to serve the music: whenever I get nervous, I start to see my music as something much bigger than myself or my anxieties so I'm like, "Come on, this is about the music". I then don't really care about what I look like or how I really come across [on stage], I'm just here to serve my music. That's all I'm ever trying to connect to when I perform. With the Reading performance I was able to get into that headspace, which was really good.'

Leeds Festival, August 2023

'I'd never been to a festival before that! When I first got to Leeds on the Friday, I was like, "Nah, this is so loud! What's going on! There's so much music coming from every direction, this is crazy". My manager had to be like, "Yeah, this is a festival".

'I was definitely more nervous for Leeds as it was the day before Reading. At Reading, for some reason I wasn't nervous at all! But Leeds was only the second show I'd done this year and, in that context, it was quite a big show to do. Leeds is an interesting place in that there's such an amazing energy there, and it was quite intense. I was like, "Wow, this is wild," it being my very first festival experience as well. Leeds was way more nerve-racking, and it didn't go as to plan as Reading did: there were a few technical difficulties and some issues with my outfit where I hadn't pinned myself in properly. But then it became about trying to not let those things distract from why I'm there.'

LVRA support slot, March 2023

'It was quite a last-minute thing! LVRA is a really good friend of mine, and she's an amazing artist. But it was actually the first support slot I'd ever done, and I didn't realise it until I got up on stage! It hadn't really clicked until I thought, "Hey, why don't many of these people know my music? I don't get it!" All I'd done before then was headline shows where people are specifically there to see you, champion you and scream the words back at you.

'But I actually found the experience [of playing the support slot] to be really freeing. It was great that the audience there didn't know me, so I had a great opportunity to gain some new fans and win them over.'

twst's new project TWST0002 (Off-World) is out now. They will headline The Grace in London on 12 December.