10 Minutes With... Sam McTrusty

Twin Atlantic’s third album, Great Divide reached Number Six in the charts when it was released in August. Since then, the Scottish quartet have undertaken their first headline tour of the US and are current gearing up for a special New Year’s Eve show in Edinburgh. Well, once Christmas is out of the way. But as McTrusty reveals, it’s not all been plain sailing, though…

Your new album Great Divide came out this year. Using that as a bad conceit, divide your year between the best and the worst things that happened.

“Probably the worst thing that happened was we were playing Manchester Academy on our headline tour for Great Divide and I got the start of a song that we’ve been playing for about five years so badly wrong we had to restart the song four times in front of like 2,000 people. It was genuinely the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to me. The worst thing was that every time we restarted it again thought I had it, and it was this Springsteen-esque thing of shouting in the mic and being all, ‘Come on! Here we go!’ and getting it more wrong than the time before. I was mortified. The best thing that happened? That’s tough… We played our first headline shows in America and people knew all the words and were singing louder than I was. That was a bit of a moment when I realised what sort of reach we were starting to get and that all those years of touring were starting to come together. We felt like a real band in other countries, not just the UK, which was really gratifying.”

What’s been your personal highlight of the year?

“It’s tough, but obviously our record coming out, if I look back years down the line, that’ll probably be the thing that stands out most, the fact that I got to release an album that I’m really proud of with my best friends and a lot of people listened to it and a lot of people came to see us live, and I think 2014 will be a benchmark year for me because of that album.”

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself in 2014 is?

“Probably that I’m not a boy anymore. I’ve finally accepted that maybe I’m an adult. I don’t know if that’s from a year of non-stop touring so now when I look in the mirror I’m like, ‘Jesus, man – you’re starting to age.’ It sounds so simple and obvious, but now that I’ve turned 27 this year – and a lot of my idols are all obviously part of the 27 Club – I had all those thoughts going through my head. It sounds silly to say that, but that’s the big realisation for me this year – that I’m not a little kid.”

One a completely different note, which films do you make a point of seeing at Christmas?

“Annoyingly, over the last five years, it’s become Elf. It used to be Home Alone, but now it’s Elf.”

Twin Atlantic, September 2014. Photo credit: David M. Benett / Getty Images Entertainment

What’s your ideal way to spend New Year’s Eve?

“I like to do something different every year. I think that’s the trick to it. If you just do the same thing every year it gets a bit boring. We’re actually playing this New Year at a massive street party in Edinburgh. Something like 20 or 30,000 people go through the streets of Edinburgh and we’re headlining that this year. And that’s something we’ve definitely never done!”

One of my questions was going to ask which five songs you’d pick for a New Year’s Eve party playlist, but I guess it’ll just be your own this year!

“Yeah! I think our set starts 30 minutes before the bells, we stop like 5 minutes before, there’s a countdown and fireworks going off for ‘Happy New Year’ and then we play for 45 minutes after it again.”

What was your hangover like on January 1st?

“Wow! What did I do? Yeah, it was pretty bad. I’m starting to remember. I went to a few different parties last year. I had friends from Canada staying at my flat in Glasgow, and Canadians can seriously drink beer, like way more than any stereotype of a Scottish person.”

**With that in mind, do you have any surefire hangover remedies? **

“Embarrassingly, Irn Bru. Honestly, it’s a really well-known one in Scotland. I think that’s probably why it outsells Coca Cola. I think there’s only two countries where the national drink isn’t Coca Cola – China’s one, Scotland’s the other. If it’s cold enough, a couple of sips will do it.”