A chat with Twin Atlantic’s Sam McTrusty

The Glaswegian alt-rock group Twin Atlantic had quite a busy year in 2014. They saw the release of their third album, Great Divide, which received critical acclaim and became their highest charting album to date. Singles from the album like “Heart and Soul” and “Hold On” became instant alternative anthems on non-stop replay on the radio. The band also got to open for 30 Seconds to Mars on their European tour, and ended the year by headlining Edinburgh’s own Hogmanay Street Party. The Student caught up with lead singer Sam McTrusty on album writing, touring, and the future for Twin Atlantic.

The Student: What’s the band up to right now?
Sam McTrusty: We just got back from Australia about a week ago, so we’ve just been having some time off. Kinda turning the cogs on what to do next in terms of new music, so we’re in imagination zone.

TS: Great Divide was just released in August 2014, are you already planning on a new album?
SM: Probably not anytime soon, but this is the gestation period that we usually like to take our time over because it’s obviously quite a permanent thing when you release something, so we like to have a long run up to it.

TS: What’s the writing process like? Do you write while you’re on the road, or is it an active effort to get in a room together and produce?
SM: It’s kind of a little bit of everything; that kind of keeps it quite fresh and healthy, because you can get stuck in a rut if you just stick to one thing. The main avenue is usually when it gets late at night and I feel quite separate from my own brain. I’ll sit and just make stuff up on the guitar by myself and that develops into a song with the rest of the guys later on.

TS: What was it like playing Edinburgh for Hogmanay?
SM: I’d never been to the event so I was excited to just be there and take it all in, but then getting to play was quite an honour, to be honest. At first I was quite nervous because the timing of it was fairly military. Being in a band is quite a relaxed thing, so we never really had that sort of detail put into a show before, but I think we learned quite a lot from it, and it was a cool way to spend New Year.

TS: Are you excited for your headlining UK tour that’s coming up?
SM: Yeah, it’s become more of a reality in the last week or two. We’ve started planning it this week. That’s as serious as it gets, when you start having meetings about the gigs! There’s a couple of venues in there that are a bit of a challenge for a band.

TS: What about playing the Hydro in Glasgow 9 May?
SM: That’s one of the ones that will be a challenge, I think. It’s obviously a massive venue…it’s funny because we’ve probably played every single venue in Glasgow, right from playing Bar Bloc to six people. It’s funny to be a band that’s doing an arena show. It’s amazing that it’s in Glasgow because it’s obviously the city that’s supported us the most. It’ll be a kind of mixed emotion – like adrenaline fuelled, but also really grateful and appreciative.

TS: Do you have a favourite song to play live?
SM: I don’t know…it’s just the last few weeks we’ve been playing a condensed version of all our singles because we had never been to Australia before. Not that I get sick of playing them, but they’re the ones that you play without really thinking. The ones that I enjoy playing the most are the album tracks from Great Divide, things like “Rest in Pieces” or “Why Won’t We Change?”.

TS: What do you see for the future of Twin Atlantic right now?
SM: In all honesty, I think that’s the great thing about being in this band is that we can kind of go anywhere we want musically just now. I’ve always thought that would be the goal, to be a band that can do anything and still be accepted and have people excited about you. Our long-term goal is to be a festival headline band; I feel we’re kind of at the halfway mark because we’re headlining a couple of the second stages at major festivals.

Photograph: www.mancunion.com

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