Twin Atlantic Interview
_Glaswegian formed quartet, Twin Atlantic, have been touring relentlessly to promote their incredible sophomore album, Free. I got a chance to discuss everything from the new album to Take That, amongst their hectic schedule._
**For the record, please state your name and role in Twin Atlantic.**
Ross: I’m Ross and I play the Bass.
Sam: And I am Sam and I sing and play guitar.
**Your amazing new album, _Free_, has been out for just over a week now. It debuted at 37 in the UK Charts – how proud are you of the new record?**
Ross: Really proud. I think we all made a record that we’re really happy with and we feel reflects our band, more than anything we’ve ever done before. But also we didn’t think anyone would want to buy it, so that’s cool. _Laughs._
**I have to say, I’ve read a lot of interviews with you guys since the realease of _Free_ and I’ve been surprised that you guys are so surprised by the success of such a great record.**
Sam: Thanks man.
Ross: I think we’re just surprised because we’re four young (but not as young as we once were) guys from Glasgow and you’ll never think that your band will ever be a real band, do you know what I mean?
**You worked with producer Gil Norton on _Free_, how was it to work with a guy who has produced albums for the Foo Fighters, the Pixies & Jimmy Eat World?**
Sam: So amazing. We’re not gonna’ try and play it cool and say “It was alright”. He just made the whole thing gel in a way that made us confident in ourselves. I think that’s what you need, self belief, when you’re going in to do a take on bass or guitar, so that you play it with passion. He’s had twenty-odd years of experience and he just channelled that through the songs we already had and it was just so relaxed man, and really naturally. There was never anything but him working towards our vision, so it was perfect.
**How did the writing process differ on _Free_ from your past effort _Vivarium_ (2009)?**
Ross: How did it differ? The last one was maybe two and half years worth of finding out what kind of music we wanted to play as a band and two and half years of different stories and different parts of our lives. While this one is more concise and all written at the same time. Maybe it makes a little bit more sense as a whole piece.
**What are the major themes you’ve addressed on _Free_?**
Sam: Ooh, that’s a big one to answer. Just like really human qualities and things that everyone thinks about every day. There’s a couple of relationship songs, there’s some songs about being pissed off about who you are, or not quite having the right direction, and not quite fitting in. But it’s hard to make it concise, cos’ I feel like a lot of it I was writing to myself to try and make myself a better person. It’s tough to make it this one theme, cos’ it’s just about being 23 and travelling all over the word and having all these different experiences. I’m still learning what it’s about. _Laughs._
**What’s your favourite song from the new album?**
Sam: Right now, mines probably ‘The Ghost of Eddie’, because we’re having so much fun with it live.
Ross: Yeah I think I’m the same. Every night when I see that song on the set list it’s like whoa. We’re playing like, what, 7 or 8 songs off the new album?
Sam: Yeah, it’s hard to choose the songs, there were some we decided to leave off in the end, but we’d play all of them if we could to be honest.
**You guys are still fresh-faced and I’ve spoken to some older bands that seem really tired of touring. Are you still relishing the opportunity to go out on tour and all the benefits that come with it?**
Ross: _Laughs._ We’re not the biggest partiers of all time. Some more than others, but on the whole we’re about…
Sam: I party on stage. I save my rock n’ roll for on stage.
Sam: So afterwards I’m usually in a heap in the corner, being sick or something like that. Going on tour just feels like a big joke sometimes. Like, how can we be getting away with this being our lives? You get to see a different city everyday and you’re with your best friends and meeting new people, it’s a really cool existence.
Ross: There are hard things about it, touring does get hard. Especially when you’ve got 5 nights in a row of 4 hours sleep a night, because you have to get up to go to the next place or catch a flight, blah blah blah..But if you complain about it, everyone wants to do it, you have to take a step back and say “whatever, this isn’t bad!”
**How have you enjoyed your UK tour so far?**
Sam: It’s been ridiculous man. Easily the best tour we’ve done, which is a pretty big statement for us, because we’ve done some pretty mental shows with some of our teenage heroes. But it’s just been so encouraging, seeing a community growing in the UK cos’ of our band. Shows, in terms of age and the type of person, are such a mixture, from early 40’s to 14. [At this point the washing machine in Twin Atlantic’s dressing room started making a lot of noise]
Ross: [Aimed at the washing machine] Fuck you! It doesn’t want us to talk about this. What he said.
**Sam, you’re known for your no-nonsense stage attitude, are you finding it harder to keep this up now you’re headlining a tour and everyone is there to see you?**
Sam: I’ll let Ross speak on my behalf. He’ll be honest, I’ll be like “Nah I’m a nice guy”.
Ross: Sam has dropped the attitude. I don’t know, you don’t really do it anyway when you’re headlining shows, because the people have actually come to see us. Let’s be honest, you shouldn’t really do it at support shows anyway, because people haven’t come to see you, so you should just be happy that anyone listens.
Sam: We feel it’s not because people aren’t listening, it’s narrow minded people. It’s not like we think we’re amazing and in between songs you should listen to what I’m saying cos’ I’ve got something important to say. It’s just people that are narrow minded piss me off and that’s usually the thing that triggers me. Or if I see someone being exceptionally rude to someone else. I think people forget that guys in bands are just guys, you’re just a person…_Sighs._ Why do I do it? I guess it’s just because I’m bored of people in bands being like action figures, they’re always the nice guys, and they think they can’t say that because it will give them a bad name in the press. It’s just boring, so why not just be an honest person?
**You’ve supported some really great bands (Blink-182, My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday). You supported Angels & Airwaves in January. How does it feel to play with some of the most revered stars? Were they bands that influenced you growing up?**
Sam: Yeah, massively man, and still. Maybe not as much as they used to.
Ross: I think it just reinforces the message that everyone’s human. Cos’ you meet these people and you think there’s gonna’ be something about them, but they’re just normal guys.
Sam: I still turn into a total fan-boy when they play though or play a song that I like. If I’m at the side of the stage, it’s just bizarre. We’re in these weird dream-like scenarios. We literally have dreamed of playing shows with those types of bands and when it happens you’re just floating about in a bubble. It’s hard to accept that we’ve actually had all those chances. We’re really lucky man.
**What’s the story behind your band name?**
Sam: There’s not really much of a story behind it to be honest. You know that band Death Cab for Cutie? Well they have an album called _Transatlanticism_ and I just got obsessed with that record and the band and that song, and when we were trying to come up with a name we wanted it to have quite a natural sound to it and big and epic, and Atlantic was in the front of my mind. Me and Ross sat for like a month trying to find a word to go with it…
Ross: And we came up with that.
**What music are you guys currently listening to? Did any of it influence the writing of _Free_?**
Ross: Hmm..I’ve been listening to Deadmau5 recently or “Dead-mau-five”. _Laughs._ But on the exact opposite, yesterday I listened to Jackson Brown..Fuck it, I don’t know!
Sam: I bought 3 CDs for the first time in ages. I got the Funeral Party record, the Foo Fighters record and the new Bright Eyes record. That’s what’s been on my mind right now. I think we were feeling guilty cos’ people bought our CDs. Everything we listened to through our formative years inspired _Free._ Just honest music that was obviously written from the heart.
**Can you name drop any bands?**
Sam: Yeah. Blur, Nirvana. For me personally, Bruce Springsteen’s whole back-catalogue. British rock bands like Hundred Reasons and Reuben. What else?
Ross: Take That?
Sam: Actually though. There’s a lot of great songs. Pop music, we’re big fans of a well structured song. Like even though we’re joking with Take That, a song that is seamless, that just flows from start to finish, we see that as a big achievement.
Ross: Like with the Vaccines new record and the Wombats, that came out last week, that just have those perfect pop-indie songs. You can’t really mess with them.
Sam: I’m trying to think man..I feel like we’ve forgotten something?
**How about bands like Blink-182?**
Sam: Oh yeah absolutely, growing up, when we were thirteen, fourteen we were into the whole American pop punk explosion and also loads of hip hop and rap, just cos’ that’s what my friends at school we’re listening to. Dr Dre, Eminem, all that mainstream rap that happened out of nowhere.
Ross: I think you can tell, we just like music!
**I might just be proving my point when I ask this question, but how often do you get compared to Biffy Clyro? Do you ever get sick of it?**
Sam: I started to get a little bit frustrated with it maybe a year ago, but again that’s just from narrow minded us. It’s not a bad band to be compared to
**Yeah, because of course you played with them?**
Sam: Yeah, ironically enough that was the one time we weren’t compared to them, because when you put us side by side, we’re not that similar. We’re not a million miles away from them, we still play rock music with upbeat pop hooks in it, but it doesn’t piss us off, but when people are lazy with it and they’re not even listening to us, that’s when I get frustrated with it. But they’re an amazing band, to be compared to them, it’s a massive compliment. In terms of being from Scotland, there’s not many bands that have achieved what they’ve achieved, and they’re complete pioneers from where we’re from.
**You’ve just been added to the lineup of T in the Park – how excited are you to play such a huge festival and are you playing any others?**
Ross: We’re very excited. We’ve got that, and what else has been announced?
Ross: We’ve haven’t announced that..
Sam: We have! Actually we haven’t announced it..We’re not playing that. _Laughs._ Actually you know what, we have announced that. We’re playing 2000trees festival which should be good.
Ross: Yeah, we’re higher up which should be good. We’ve got a few regional English festivals, a few European ones.
**How about Reading & Leeds?**
Sam: We don’t know yet. There’s lots of politics involved man. They wait to see how many tickets you’ve sold and shit, so we just don’t know yet.
**Thanks for your time guys. Finally, what do you think the future holds for Twin Atlantic?**
Ross: Couldn’t even begin to imagine. Something massive.
Sam: Massive failure. _Laughs._