Twin Atlantic talk new album ‘Power’: “There’s a weird little corridor between pure euphoria and depraved darkness”

We also talk raving in Optimo and feuding with Billy Corgan

We put it to Twin Atlantic that, as with most bands, if they were being really honest with themselves even they would admit, ‘Fuck! We wish we were LCD Soundsystem!”

“Aye,” easily replies frontman Sam McTrusty. “They’ve got the freedom to what they want just because it sounds good. It doesn’t have to be anything.”

Watch our full video interview with Twin Atlantic above

And it’s this spirit of doing anything, driven by their love of the likes of LCD and Depeche Mode, that formed the basis of their new synth-soaked new album ‘Power’.

“There’s this weird little corridor that runs between pure euphoria and depraved darkness,” says McTrusty. “That note in between, that’s our favourite moment in music. I always used to describe it as being navy blue and gold. Bands like Depeche and New Order are masters of that.”

So is this record all ’80s vibes, glitter-balls and shoulder pads?

“We’ve had character writing in our songs before,” McTrusty admits, “but that was us pretending to be confident. There’s a flair and a swagger on this that came from us having a total riot while making it.”

To find out what inspired their newfound freedom, NME sat down with McTrusty and Ross McNae to talk teenage dreams, religion, and a run-in with Smashing PumpkinsBilly Corgan.

Twin Atlantic
Twin Atlantic. CREDIT: Press

So, you approached this album with a sense of adventure and curiosity, right?

Sam: “Nothing was really premeditated in any way, apart from maybe the situation we found ourselves where we chose to leave our last record deal – which looking back now seems pretty bold. It was maybe a little bit arrogant and little bit too cocky. We were just like, ‘Ah, we’ll just get another deal in couple of months’ time. It’ll be chill and we’ll make some demos’. We thought, ‘People know the band name, we’ve been going a minute, this’ll be easy’.”

Ross: “That actually forced us to think about what it was we were making and take it a little more seriously.”

Then you built your own rehearsal space and recording studio. Was that like going back to jamming together as teenagers?

S: “It was honestly as close to that as you could get – probably because we had no idea what we were doing the whole time. We embraced that limitation. We didn’t know how to properly record and we didn’t know about a lot of drum machines and synths that we were messing about with. That meant that we made some mistakes and learned from them. Ross and I used to write songs at his mum and dad’s house and this was the grown up version of that, with us just trying to figure it all out again.”

What can you tell us about your lyrical approach to this album?

S: “I was just trying to take the barrier down about being anything. Because I was producing the record, I almost became detached to the songwriting process. I wanted it to be like I was responding to the feeling that the music was giving me. Some of it means nothing at all – and I love that.”

…And what about the religious themes? 

S: “Religion is so powerful and brings so many people together, but really, en masse, it divides more than it joins. The music on this record had either an ethereal or dominant and foreboding sound. It conjured up all of these religious images.”

You need to get some Billy Corgan-style robes to wear on stage

S: “Be careful what you wish for! We played a show with Smashing Pumpkins years ago. We were so fresh-faced and naiive to the whole arena show thing. We had come from a really solid punk DIY scene, and there’s Billy Corgan who had a seamstress on tour. We were like, ‘That’s not music, man – what’s going on?’ I spoke out about it at the time naively and now I kind of get it. If we had the cash to splash, we’d be doing it.”

Oh, you’ve gotta look after your seams

S: “It is a bit outrageous but it matches their music, I guess. This went badly for me before. He outed me to all of his Twitter followers. He was heavy slagging me online. Respect, though. If we were sports teams then he’s won the Champions League 10 times over and I’m in, like, the Championship. A bit more real, maybe, and a bit more genuine.”

Now that you’ve reinvented yourselves, what do you have in mind for your next album?

S: “I did enjoy the electronic element to this record and the minimalist approach to it. I feel like we could dive into that a little further. A lot of our songwriting is quite linear so we’d like to mix it up a bit. You’ve really got to do that from the beginning, or you’ve got to earn the right to be that experimental. We’re left-leaning with our music tastes, but when it comes to writing we can’t wait to get to the chorus or be cool! We always go for the pure money shot. Maybe we need to make an album with some element of chill to it.”

– ‘Power’ by Twin Atlantic is out now

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