Twin Atlantic‘s 4th new album ‘GLA’ has been freshly released this Friday 9th September. Josie Durney interviewed the band’s Ross McNae to ask him some questions about the new release and how this album is different from their earlier recordings. Tour dates and other upcoming events can be checked out on their website here.
Who, if anyone, has inspired you or the band for the new album?
“Probably, throwing back to when we were starting the band, bands like Queens of the Stone Age or Rage Against the Machine, and not necessarily in the actual sounds but more in attitude. It feels likes there’s certain people who always fly the flag of what rock is supposed to be as a genre. But over the past few years it seems to be co-opted a little bit by pop, like guitars are as distorted in pop songs as they are in rock songs and it’s probably because a lot of the people in rock bands are the ones writing those songs for people, so the whole genre has been diluted and confused and everything is very perfect and cheesy and happy. And we kind of found ourselves there somehow, and so we just wanted to get back to the rock of rock music and the attitude of it and what attracted us to it when we were starting our band in our late teens and wanted to change the world and the angst of it all.”
Was it more of a challenge this time round to force yourself to try and not to force things, was it a conscious effort to relax?
“I think that it happened naturally, because we had some time off in Glasgow and we wrote in our little studio set up in the house and so did Sam. So we wrote between the two of us and we’d send each other little ideas at the end of the day or maybe he would come round to mine, and I’d come round to his. It wasn’t written in the same way, and I think because we relaxed, you were in your normal life rather than away somewhere worrying in a studio that it was costing you X amount of money for you to be in there for the day.”
How did Glasgow influence or inspire the album?
“It’s no secret that we all love where we’re from, we got to travel a lot and I suppose once you get out and experience the rest of the world, we realised that where we were from was actually pretty good and we were starting to get to the point where we enjoying come back to Glasgow, so the album is supposed to be a kind of snapshot of what it’s like to live here. Each song is about the different aspects of living here. It’s not necessarily always positive; it’s not strictly about Glasgow. If we were from about London it would be about London, it doesn’t really matter. I think that’s what’s interesting to me, it’s about your experience of your own place and what you can take from it. No matter where we’ve been in the world and any friends we’ve had in far flung places everyone had the same relationship with the place that they’re from; they love it, they hate it, they want to leave, but they don’t know why they keep going back and they haven’t moved because there’s something about it that holds them there, and what is that? It just so happens the albums called Glasgow because that’s where we’re from.”
Are you heading in a different direction with Twin Atlantic at all or do you think you’re still progressing?
“I think we’re progressing. I think the person most likely to listen to rock music, like Craig, our drummer, still listens to more indie and rock music than the other three of us, but I think for some reason when we get together, it might not be forever but at least for the time being, what’s still coming out is rock music and I don’t know if that’s because that’s what we’ve always done or if it was our first love of music and what it is, but I think forever this band is a rock band and that’s what we love about it; it’s not to say we wouldn’t do something else musically but I don’t think it would be with this band, I think you need to be realistic, you are what you are.”
Is there a track or song that came easily to this album?
“Most songs actually did. We would write off the cuff, get an idea down on the computer and by the end of the day we’d have a demo up and running and be able to decide whether we liked it. I suppose ‘No Sleep’ was one that was really easily, really, really instinctive. Similarly, ‘Valhalla’ and ‘Gold Elephant Cherry Alligator’ was just a piece of music that I’d written and the first time Sam hadn’t ever played guitar on one of the songs, so it gave him the space to be free and just write a vocal melody. That was really quick and easy like a day for the music and half a day to write all the words and record it. There’s a danger that if you keep going with an idea you can get to the point where you might not actually like the song but you might like how you have crafted the production of it and how you’ve made it rather than with the core message of the song. I think the actual song is going to shine through whether or not it took an hour or two or two weeks, it’s still the same song.”
Could you summarise the album in 30 seconds?
“Our album is a carefree, careless, instinctive retrospective look on living in our city for our whole lives and the experiences we’ve had here, what it has made of us and it’s all about the rock of rock music and trying to inject back in some excitement into a genre which has, for the most part, been focused on perfection and rather than instinct. What we’ve tried to do is take it back to what is exciting about music and the angst of rock and roll when we were young.”