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26th November 2014

Interview: Twin Atlantic

Hannah Brierley speaks to Twin Atlantic about Miley Cyrus, being stuck in a lift and making it in the music industry

After waiting two years for one of Scotland’s most successful rock bands, Twin Atlantic, to return to Manchester, they finally performed at Manchester Acadamy on Tuesday 28th October. Twin Atantic last performed whilst touring with Free, their second album in 2012. They have now released their long-awaited new album Great Divide in August earlier this year. Before the gig, I spoke to bassist Ross McNae and drummer Craig Kneale.

As I walked into the room, both Ross and Craig quickly rushed to pause their Fifa game, laughed and then got their serious faces on. I firstly asked them what their favourite track of the new album was and why. They both agreed on ‘I Am An Animal’. “When we first started out we felt we had to act and perform in a certain way to fit our genre. With this album we had a lot more fun and I think this song really represents that.”

When asked who was their biggest influence for this album, Ross quickly blurted “Miley Cyrus” and after a few confused seconds he explained: “No, seriously, for Great Divide we were influenced by people in the pop music industry. People who go and just have fun with what they do. Especially because pop music is something we’ve always shy’d away from. It was fun to make that transition.”

“I don’t think you should have guilty pleasures” Ross went on to say. “You like what you like and you don’t what you don’t. You should never be ashamed of what you enjoy… Unless it’s racist or something.”

Twin Atlantic performed on the main stage for the first time at T In The Park this year. “Yeah it was crazy, we love playing at festivals because its such a good way to branch out to new people, they’re so much more hectic and you get to have more fun playing because you just let go a little more. Before we play at festivals we get in a little huddle and we knock heads three times. I don’t know why, but it’s just become a tradition I guess. This one time it was my idea that we do a bit of yoga and meditation before we played. Like all sit down in a circle and hold hands but it didn’t really work though and it just calmed us all down instead, which isn’t what we wanted,” Craig said, shaking his head. “However there’s something about playing at smaller venues. Knowing that all these people have turned up just for you, there’s something really special when you can see all the fans singing along and know every word. That’s pretty awesome.”

However, being a band that’s been around for so long, what is it that annoys you when you’re at a gig? ”It’s relatively annoying when people are talking when we’re playing. Also when people are filming the whole thing, I understand taking a few photos but when people are filming it all the time, they’re missing out on the actual experience just so they can watch it later. Which is a shame, but at the end of the day they’ve paid to be there, I guess they can do what they want really!”

I proceeded to ask them if they could be stuck in a lift with anyone, who would it be and why? They both sat and thought for a few seconds. Craig answered first. “Funnily enough, when I was younger I was always scared that if you got stuck in a lift with someone, that the oxygen would run out. So I’d have to kill them to stay alive. It would have to be someone I hate… but I don’t really hate anyone so I don’t know.” After which Ross replied “well I mean you could take this one of two ways, I could say Taylor Swift and then let it be weird, or I’d like to be stuck with someone interesting like Julian Assange.”

Ross went on to say, “or maybe Jesus, and be like are you alive? Yes or no?” Craig bounced from this—“Jesus, is God your dad? Yes or no?” to which Ross joked, “Jesus, did God shag your mum? Yes or no?”

Finally, if you had any advice for anyone who is starting out in the music industry, what would it be? “Come hell or high water,” Ross stated, “you’ve got to put your all in from the very get go. You’ve got to forget college and university and that dream of becoming a chef. You’ve got to give it all your time and emotions and put your all into it, no one is just going to hand it to you.”

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