Regardless of the fact that plenty of 20 somethings still spend most of their Saturdays in their pyjamas, eating cereal and watching cartoons all day we all have to grow up some time. That's an idea that played a very significant part in the formation of Twin Atlantic's most recent album Great Divide.
“There are loads of cliches that exist about this sort of idea, a sort of coming of age, a dawning realisation of ‘Fuck, I’m almost an adult now’,” explains frontman Sam McTrusty. “It’s such a simple thought, but there are all these confusing and conflicting emotions that come from it. It comes to trying to write an album that’s from the heart. We’re in our mid 20s and that’s a formative stage of anyone’s life. It’s a commentary on how it feels to move from that part of your life to this part.”
The writing and recording of Great Divide also led to Twin Atlantic growing as a band in a musical sense. After finding their place within the rock world, McTrusty listened to lots of classic rock and pop in the hopes of penning an album full of classic songs. The band initially began the Great Divide session working with rock super producer Gil Norton (Foo Fighters/Pixies). Having worked his magic on the band’s previous album Free, McTrusty readily concedes that while Norton in many ways taught them how to be a band, they were getting a bit too comfortable and needed to try new things and evolve.
“We think about a lot of bands that we’ve loved the first two or three records, but then you kind of stop connecting with them and you’re not really sure why,” says the singer. “You’re growing up listening to them and then your taste changes. Now that we’re on the other side of it making our records we see that it works both ways. We’re different people now from when we first started. It’s not just based around music, it’s who we are.”
The decision to step out of their comfort zone lead to them working with former Compulsion guitarist Garret ‘Jacknife’ Lee (U2/REM/Snow Patrol), a man McTrusty describes as a “nutcase”. Lee took the honesty at the band’s core and got them to express it and try a whole range of musical processes they once wouldn’t have thought of. Lee encouraged spur of the moment decisions based on emotions at that time, which when coupled with McTrusty’s personal writing style results in a record that tackles the ups and downs of growing up in a band, such as being away from loved ones for great lengths of time.
“Being in a band is a pretty massive laugh,” says McTrusty. “The one thing you can allow yourself to complain about is that you do miss out on a lot of stuff that happens with your family and friends. We’re finding that out because we’ve been in this band since we were 18, 19 and now we’re in our mid to late 20s, and that’s when the big things start happening in people’s lives. It’s not something that puts us off, we just have to suck it up.”
It’s this positivity that makes Twin Atlantic so special. In a world full of mopey indie bands and metal bands making music for teenagers who tell their grand parents to piss off, Twin Atlantic’s music shares McTrusty’s positive outlook on life, with songs such as Hold On and Actions That Echo being nothing short of life affirming.
“We probably played the part of the underdog for quite a while, and we still do in a lot of ways,” says McTrusty. “Being from Scotland and playing rock music, there’s only really one or two bands that got away with it, so we had to be positive! I think positivity brings people together more than hate. Obviously there are a lot of rock bands that have downtrodden vibes, but I think the four of us never really feel sorry for ourselves. If anything’s going wrong it’s our own fault! You’ve always got control over your own destiny and the life that you’re living.”
This positivity is bringing people together…more and more people in fact. Twin Atlantic are currently on their biggest UK tour to date, calling at 11 cities up, and stopping off at some pretty big rooms. It’s a trend McTrusty would like to see continue into the future, with dreams of the four young men from Glasgow ultimately headlining festivals.
“It’s something we’ve said from the start,” says McTrusty. “The more people that were coming to our shows, the better the gigs were getting and the more fun we were having. It just makes it a better experience. It’s just the ultimate thing to do with our lives, to headline Reading. It’s still a total dream but with every step along the way, you never know. It makes the whole thing worthwhile when you see that many people in front of you having a good time. It’s definitely something we want to do, to be as big as we can.”
Twin Atlantic are on tour in the UK now, stopping off in Birmingham on November 1, before dates at Cardiff, London, Southampton and Cambridge. See www.twinatlantic.com for details.