Posted On 01 Oct 2014
Tag: 30 Seconds To Mars, All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Alternative band, Alternative Music, Artist Interview, Babylonian Throwdown, Barry McKenna, Big TV, Blink 182, Bombay Bicycle, Brothers And Sisters, California, Canada, Catfish And The Bottlemen, Craig Kneale, Drummer, Free, Glasgow, Great Divide, Heart And Soul, Jared Leto, Jimmy Chamberlin, Justin Timberlake, Kings Of Leon, Lie In, Lion, London, Los Angeles, Oscar, Red Bull, Red Bull Records, Rock band, Ross McNae, Sam McTrusty, Scotland, Scottish, Scottish band, Smashing Pumpkins, The All American Rejects, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Topanda, Topanga Canyon, Twin Atlantic, Vivarium, Wales, White Lies, XFM, Your Amazing Lying, You’re Turning Into John Wayne
When Glasgow’s Twin Atlantic released their 2009 mini-album, Vivarium, it immediately found an awestruck audience. The reviews were uniformly ecstatic. Grand, sweeping and eloquent, it was a collection of songs with a heart and soul, crafted by passion and informed by staunch lyrical and musical frankness. It set Twin Atlantic on a roller coaster; one that has led them to the release of their third studio album, Great Divide on Red Bull Records, an inspiring collection of songs full of ambition, pain, belief and soul. In a world of music dominated by talent show winners, mass-marketed bands and meaningless music, here, finally, is a band in which to invest your heart.
Twin Atlantic 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 fellow, Scot, Biffy Clyro.
This year, the Scottish four-piece will have three records to their name with the release of their latest album Great Divide (which was released in August) Just before March, their single, ‘Heart and Soul’ got its first play and has been a major hit on playlists throughout radio. Now, their latest single ‘Brothers and Sisters’ has had its exclusive worldwide play on Zane Lowe’s BBC Radio 1 show, and the release of the single is set to cause a frenzy across the radio waves once again.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa got to catch up with drummer, Craig Kneale between the bands radio appearances. Read their Q&A here:
Hi Craig! How are you? Where does this interview find you and what else is on the agenda today besides our interview?
Hello there! I’m very well thank you, our new album came out this week so we’ve been all over the place. We’re in London today. Besides this interview, we’re actually playing on the roof of a radio station called XFM later today. It’ll be like when the Beatles played on the rooftop of Apple records, but with shorter hair!
How did you all meet and realize you wanted to start a band and perform together?
We all met around Glasgow playing in different bands. We all admired each others abilities and realized we had the same passion for music as each other, and were willing to give up everything to pursue it.
How was making your third album, Great Divide different then the previous albums, Vivarium (2009) and Free (2011)? What was the mood or vibe that you wanted to capture with this album?
It was pretty much different in every way from our previous recordings. From the start, we wrote the songs in a very different way. Previously we’d all lived in Glasgow and just written the songs together over months and months whereas this time, Sam was living in Toronto so we wrote all songs over three two week bursts.
Sam would write ideas in Canada and then come over and we’d work on about 6-7 songs at a time. Also, we’d recorded our two previous records in Los Angeles, which is kind of as metropolitan as it gets – but with ‘Great Divide’ it was recorded in the countryside in Wales and in the mountains of Topanga Canyon in California. It meant we could fully immerse ourselves in the recordings without the distractions of a big city calling you all the time.
We wanted to capture the mood of a band making the transition into adulthood – which I think we have. It’s a youthful sounding album, but made with a maturity of a band who’re very confident in their songs.
What was the inspiration for the single,”Heart And Soul”? How did that song come about? Did the lyrics or music come first?
You’d have to ask Sam for a full answer on that one! To me, the song is just about giving yourself fully to the moment and not holding back. Something we’ve always tried to do with this band. We actually wrote that song during the recording of the album. We were getting towards the end of our time in Wales and realized there was something missing from the album. Sam wrote a few songs which, kind of captured that feeling we were missing. Those were the songs we ended up recording in Topanga Canyon in California towards the end of 2013.
What is the bands approach to songwriting? How do you capture the inspiration when it comes?
We’ve kind of always worked in the same way since we started the band. Sam usually writes the initial idea for a track, the melody and the basic chords. Then he’ll bring that to the rest of us and we’ll get a rhythm down for it and work on any chords that aren’t hitting hard enough. Whilst we’re doing that, Barry will be working on his lead parts, which he’ll then add in once he’s found something he’s happy with. We then play the track through together many many many times until we’re sure we’re happy with everything.
Sometimes everything comes together within a couple of hours and then it’s just adding those little details, other times we can still be working on songs for months. For instance, there’s a track on the album called ‘Brothers And Sisters’ which we initially worked on at the start of 2012, and finally got a recorded version we liked at the end of 2013. I think we got there in the end with it though.
I read that Jimmy Chamberlin, drummer of Smashing Pumpkins (who I am a big fan of) personally chose you guys to support the band in Glasgow. What was that experience like?
Apparently that’s true! We never actually met him, but we have it on good authority that happened. For me, it was a crazy opportunity! Smashing Pumpkins were one of my favourite bands growing up and we were supporting them in our home city less than a year since we started playing together! It was a long time ago so I can’t remember much about the gig. I just remember the venue seeming so massive at the time. It was a big exhibition hall so we literally drove our van into the venue, that felt cool!
Who is currently in your playlist? Any “guilty pleasure” songs or artist we would be surprised to find in there?
Right now i’m listening to a lot of Bombay Bicycle Club and a band called Catfish And The Bottlemen. A questionable name but every song I’ve heard from them is an anthem. I’m also just getting into White Lies last album ‘Big TV’ – I think it’s the best work they’ve released. Guilty pleasures would be…a lot of Justin Timberlake because of my girlfriend – but he is very cool so I don’t even feel guilty about it!
I love all of your song titles, “You’re Turning Into John Wayne,” “Your Amazing Lying, Lion, Lie In,” “Babylonian Throwdown.” How do you come up with these? Just the titles along make anyone who hasn’t even heard the song yet, want to listen!
Ha ha, a lot of them are just in jokes between the four us that we thought would be funny, and we kind of forgot that once they’re released we can’t change them… That song ‘Babylonian Throwdown’ was actually a direct quote from someone at our label describing a party on a beach he’d been too. The minute we heard it, we knew it had to be a song title! It was just too mental not to use! Our song titles have kind of tamed down a bit these days.
You guys have toured with The All American Rejects, Blink-182, Kings Of Leon and most recently Thirty Seconds To Mars. Can you share any memorable stories from the tour with our readers?
I’m not sure about stories, but for us the most memorable thing has always been how nice all these bands have been. When a band gets that big there always seems to be a pre-conception that they are unapproachable, which we’ve rarely found.
When we toured with Thirty Seconds To Mars in Europe it was a couple of weeks before Jared Leto won his Oscar and he had a crazy schedule, but he still made time to come to chat with us and make sure we were enjoying ourselves.
With Blink 182, they tour with their whole families which is really nice, it brought a different dynamic to the usual testosterone fest which is touring in the rock world which is predominantly male.
What’s on tap next for Twin Atlantic?
We have a couple more festivals to finish off the summer, and then we’ll be doing some more promotion for the album in September before we head out on the road until October until the end of the year. We’ll be back in America in December by the looks of it and we’re very much looking forward to it!
To stay up to date with TWIN ATLANTIC, visit their website here