A strong contender has risen to the forefront of Scottish rock music to compete with the unrivalled champion that, to date, is Biffy Clyro.
You may have heard of them – we believe you should have – straight from Glasgow, Twin Atlantic. They formed in 2007 and have been on a significant rise ever since with albums ‘Vivarium’ and ‘Free’ both receiving positive reviews throughout the music industry and have already played alongside many greats such as Smashing Pumpkins, Blink 182 and of course Biffy Clyro.
This August the Scottish four-piece will have three records to their name with the release of their latest album ‘Great Divide’ on 18th August 2014. Just before March, ‘Heart and Soul’ got its first play and has been a major hit on playlists throughout radio and now latest single ‘Brothers and Sisters’ has had its exclusive worldwide play on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show, the release of the single is set to cause a frenzy across the radio waves once again.
Ahead of their Belfast appearance at Belsonic Festival 2014, we were delighted when we got the opportunity to speak with the band we’ve been following almost since their inception.
The last few years have been very busy for Twin Atlantic I’m sure. The last time we spoke you were supporting Taking Back Sunday in Belfast – how would you describe the past few years?
“Wow, that really does seem like an age ago now! We didn’t even have an album out then, now we’re on the cusp of releasing our 3rd. Not to be clichéd, but the last few years really have been a whirlwind – things have gone from strength to strength to the point where we feel like we’re in a position now where we really can make a lasting impression with this band. That Taking Back Sunday show was our first show in Northern Ireland and we’ve had so many good experiences here since then, some of our most passionate supporters were made from that show.”
I remember watching live videos of you guys playing in Scotland and the crowd going insane. What’s it like going back to Glasgow to perform? How does it make you feel?
It does still hold something very special for us. We’ve managed to get to a point now where we have a loyal fan base in most of the UK, but the Scottish gigs (and especially Glasgow) still hold that little bit more weight for us. There’s always more emotion and a sense of pride in the fact we’re exports of the city and we’re playing in the venues we went to growing up in front of people that share the experience with us of growing up in Glasgow.
You’ve released ‘Heart and Soul’ ahead of your next record ‘Great Divide’, available on August 18th – what can everyone expect from the new record?
“Again, clichéd answer – but to me the album sounds like our band pushing ourselves in new directions and hopefully challenging perceptions of what our band is capable of. We got to a very exciting level with our last album ‘Free’, much further than we really expected it to do, and that excitement gave us the confidence to write a collection of songs that challenged us creatively and musically. When I listen to it feels like a musical journey, quite diverse stylistically with parts that allude to our older songs and songs that don’t sound like anything we’ve attempted before.”
How did the United States treat you when you were on your travels?
“America has definitely given us some very big highs and some very big lows. It’s such an exciting country to travel across, more than anywhere else we’ve been it’s felt like the biggest adventure. But the size of it has been demoralising at times because it’s so vast it’s hard to know where to start in our quest to get our music to people over there. We’ve played some of the deadest shows of our lives there, but also some of the best – real goose bump moments where you realise how far you are from home and there’s still people feeling a big connection to our music.”
If you had to choose a five song set with four original songs and one cover, what would your own personal choice be to demonstrate who Twin Atlantic are and what they stand for?
“I’d probably pick ‘Animal’ and ‘Brothers & Sisters’ from our new album, ‘The Ghost Of Eddie’ and ‘Make A Beast Of Myself’ from our last album, and as a cover I’d probably go for Pixies – ‘Where Is My Mind’. I don’t really have reasons why – I just like playing those songs.”
In Northern Ireland we have a strong local music scene. What would your advice be to NI bands looking to get that big break?
“My only advice would be to treat it like a job. I mean that in the sense that you have to put your all into and treat it like it’s your job when you’re starting out, it really does take so much of your energy to get it off the ground. I think a lot of people think you can just write good songs and the rest will sort it self out – but in my opinion it’s maybe 25% the songs and 75% hard work. You need to make a lot of sacrifices and be available to go at a moments notice at all times.”
Recently it was announced that you will be returning to Belfast to support Biffy Clyro at Belsonic Festival in August. Do you have any memories of playing in Belfast?
“Yeah, loads of memories. That Taking Back Sunday show at Spring & Airbrake was a memorable one, can’t believe that’s 5 years ago now. We actually played at Belsonic in 2010 with Biffy actually! We were first on that day though, main support this time so it’s exciting to see our progress and theirs. We’re big fans of theirs and we looked up to them a lot growing up and when we started the band, so it’s always a big honour to play with them.
“The last time we played Belfast was at Mandela Hall and it was nearly a sell out, so that was really exciting for us – we’re relatively close to Belfast geographically from Glasgow, but the fact we had to get a boat to the show made it seem somehow more satisfying than the bigger gigs we were doing in the rest of the UK on that tour!”
What are your plans after festival season and beyond?
“Well, our album comes out towards the end of the summer – so from that point it’ll just be touring in support of that for the next year or so. We have basic plans for the Autumn that look very exciting, but we’re just trying to fit it all in at the moment!”