Twin Atlantic have spoken to NME about how their upcoming album ‘Transparency’ will see them take a much more “lo-fi” and “on the nose” approach.
Next year is set to be a busy for the Scottish alt-rockers – with a new LP and a 10th anniversary tour for their breakthrough album ‘Free‘ on the horizon – so frontman Sam McTrusty to NME about going back to basics for the new record and how it feels to be revisiting the LP that changed everything for them.
Speaking backstage at the recent TRSNMT festival ahead of their Glasgow homecoming set,(which McTrusty likened to “nerves turned into a mixture of fear and pressure, like I’ve got an exam or I’m getting married again”), the singer told NME about what was to come following their final show with drummer Craig Kneale, who recently announced his departure from the band as they prepare to become a duo.
Confetti during Twin Atlantic performance on the Main Stage on the second day of TRNSMT Festival 2021 on September 11, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns)
Hello Sam. Things have changed quite a bit for the band, most recently you have become just a two-piece. How has that impacted the forthcoming album?
Sam McTrusty: “It’s going to be a bit different. We promised ourselves when we started that we would never make the same album twice. We’re dealing in rock music with the big kind of pop chorus thing. To be honest, I try not to do that because I know it’s super uncool, but that’s just me. So, there’s still elements of that Twin Atlantic DNA in there. I know everyone’s sick of hearing this from bands, but we made it during lockdown sort of by mistake.
“I got in touch with a mate of mine we’ve worked with before, [Irish producer] Jacknife Lee, because I was meant to be writing a song with him in America. Obviously I couldn’t go, so I just texted him to be like ‘Can we do it remotely?’ and that turned into this album. We just kept going because we became each other’s pastime during the very first lockdown. I made it in my daughter’s bedroom which makes me sound super old.”
What’s changed in terms of sound?
“It’s a way more lo-fi approach for us, kind of more back where we started at the beginning when there wasn’t somebody else paying for a fancy studio for us and I couldn’t do the big high rock vocal thing I’ve for some reason been trying to do for years. I don’t even know why I’ve been doing that. It’s a lot more subdued in places. But I feel like it carries a lot more weight because of that.”
Do you feel like you channelled a lot of what’s happened in the last year and a half into the writing?
“I’ve always tried to write honestly about whatever is going on in my life, because then at least you know there’s a solid grounding. Writing any album is quite daunting – going into it you can write about anything, you’ve got that blank slate at the beginning. I don’t know, I was worried I would write prog concept albums if I didn’t just write about myself and the world around me. I’ve probably been guilty in the past of burying my own opinions or my own take on things a little bit too subversively, too hidden in metaphor. Whereas this record is pretty on the nose because I had the time to process what was going. I’m a good bit older from when we started, so I’ve probably learned how to just get to the point.”
And now you’re also celebrating the 10th anniversary of ‘Free’ while this new album is coming out…
“It’s confusing, isn’t it?”
Well, is it confusing for you? What’s it like revisiting the emotions that went into that record?
“I’m still trying to unpack it all to be honest. We were planning on doing this 10 year anniversary for ‘Free’ in November. It was booked, we moved it, and then I made an album by mistake! The level of band we are – we’re a working band still – everything we do is to make a living, we’ve not had a massive hit or a Number One album, so we’re very much like, ‘Let’s do another record, I can afford to still be in a band, that’s great’. I know because we’ve been going for a long time some people might perceive us as these big stars, but we’re not really. So there’s an element of just trying to keep going and keep your head above water.
“The fact these things are happening simultaneously is a bit strange but it was kind of our only option. When we were touring for ‘Free’, it was such a whirlwind and such a dream, because I was just a music fan desperate to do that, and all of a sudden I was just doing it, and I don’t feel like I took it in properly, so it’s kind of a bit of a selfish greedy thing to revisit it now.”
Twin Atlantic release ‘Transparency’ on January 7. Check out their upcoming tour dates below and visit here for tickets and more information.
5 – Dublin, Opium
6 – Belfast, The Limelight
8 – London, Roundhouse
9 – Newcastle, Boiler Shop
11 – Inverness, Ironworks
12 – Glasgow, Barrowland
15 – Leeds, Stylus
17 – Manchester, O2 Ritz
18 – Bristol, O2 Academy
19 – Birmingham, O2 Institute