Having spent the last six and a half years on the road, it was with their debut full-length ‘Free’ that things began to fall into place for Twin Atlantic. After its release in 2011, a slew of headline tours, festival appearances, a Gold certification and soundtracking a free fall from space followed, and the Scottish four-piece finally found themselves playing to the audiences they had always hoped for. Now they’re back with a second album, ‘Great Divide’, but they’re set to change things up a little.
“The best part of the build up for me,” begins the band’s frontman Sam McTrusty, “is knowing that there are still songs on there that will catch people off guard. We know the cards that we have up our sleeves, so that’s the exciting thing. From the beginning we were always talking about, ‘What type of song do we not have in a headline set?’ That was a starting point for writing songs. We had a billion ideas for a riff, a piano part, a drum fill that could maybe be a song. We scrapped a lot of good ideas because they already existed.”
If anything, this album was written to really transform their live show. Having spent almost half a decade playing across the country, when the venues began to get bigger, crowds began to get rowdier. The band realised it was time to inject some fun into their sets, as well as adrenaline. “We learned from the last time that we go out and play these songs every day,” offers Sam. “Obviously we knew that was gonna happen, but the reality of it is that we want to have fun. I think rock music can be taken too seriously, and we found that doing all of our shows for the last album, the people that came wanted to have a party. It was a celebration almost, because we’d taken baby steps to get to the environment where we could put on an actual show. I think we were really excited by that, and that’s why there’s all of these directions. We were filling in the gaps of what we’ve always wanted to do on stage, I think.”
It was also an album inspired by the shows themselves. Readily admitting to writing the majority of the album in the back of their tour bus, McTrusty is adamant that you just can’t remain unaffected by playing to thousands of people every night. “I could’ve come off stage and hated a gig, and been in a really frustrated mood and then the next night, it could’ve been the greatest feeling I’ve ever had,” he offers. “And not just during the shows; there was meeting people during the day and stuff. We were doing things like meeting a 40 year old guy from Aberdeen who had got the petrol can [from the artwork for ‘Free’] tattooed on him and told us the story of why he got it, before playing a fucking sold out show in a big room in Aberdeen… All those things, you’d have to be a stone to not absorb some of it, and I mean, a lot of it was from the sub-conscious because I was so tired. I only started playing guitar at the back of the bus because I couldn’t get to sleep. Then, I’d get really into an idea and I’d be fucking exhausted, but the words would start coming out. A lot of it is probably from a more honest place, because I wasn’t filtering it in the same way that I would if I’d been sitting at home.”
Twin Atlantic have always been a band with something to say, at the heart of things, and that honesty is something that spills into the album’s message. It’s a fairly simple one, too. “Ultimately, it’s just to - it’s so cliche to say - just be yourself. I know that’s pretty naive to try and live like that, but I guess that’s what it’s kinda inspired by. That’s where it all stems from; this one stems from us trying to find our feet with everything that was going on with the last album, and spending all that time away from home. All of that happening, whilst we were becoming men. I don’t know if I’m a man yet,” he stops and gestures to Ross, “you guys definitely are, but I’m trying. That’s what it’s all built upon; our experiences.”
Taken from the August issue of DIY, out now. Twin Atlantic’s new album ‘Great Divide’ will be released on 18th August via Red Bull Records.