I’d just started high school when I bought my first album, so I was into the whole mindset of independent life. I felt like I was becoming an adult, but obviously I was still just a little kid. My older sister had already been at high school for a couple of years and she was friends with a group of punk rocker kids that were into skate culture and alternative music, and by the time I got there I was looking for something to identify with. This was right around the peak of Californian pop-punk.
It was all kicking off at the same time: the American Pie movies, the Tony Hawk videogames, Jackass and all that stuff. I just happened to be at the right age at the right time, and the first record I wound up buying with my own money was Enema of the State by Blink-182. I saved up for the album with my pocket money and I remember it being really expensive; I think it was over 20 pounds for the regular jewel case CD!
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I’d never seen artwork like that before, or musicians with so many tattoos and such brightly coloured guitars. Growing up in Glasgow, which obviously wasn’t the most sunny or colourful place at that time, it was the exact opposite to my day-to-day experience and it became a form of major escapism for me. Like I said, I was looking to belong to something, and that album was there for me at that moment in my life. So I fully embraced it and it led me to the point I’m at today where I’m in a band myself.
I think I took a lot of top-line melody from Blink-182, and because they were a three-piece band the guitar played such a huge role in any sort of instrumental gaps that it became something I instinctively looked for in a lot of other music as well. Tom DeLonge’s particularly distinctive singing voice was inspiring to me too, because he sang in his own accent and embraced who he was, and I guess that bled into me doing the same thing when I started singing my own songs. I get a lot of stick for singing in my Scottish accent, but Tom DeLonge taught me to just go with it and so I did.
We actually went on tour with the band twice, around 2011 when our album Free came out, and we met and hung out with them pretty much every day. Tom’s other band Angels & Airwaves took us on tour around Europe as well, where we played much smaller kind of club venues, and I talked with him for up to an hour at a time some nights on that tour about his take on music and being in a band. It was surreal, like a teenage dream come true. He even invited us out to his studio in San Diego and we got to see all his iconic platinum records up on the wall. It was like a ‘died and gone to heaven’ sort of situation, only we weren’t there because we’d won a competition – we were there because he liked our band. It was bizarre.
Twin Atlantic’s new album GLA is out on September 9 through Red Bull Records. The band kick off a UK tour next month.