Most bands are excited when given the opportunity to film a music video, but when Twin Atlantic stepped on set to shoot “Free” -- the title track and single to their full-length debut album –- the Scottish four-piece felt a bit uncomfortable.
“Shooting the video was a weird experience as it’s something that doesn’t come natural to us,” drummer Craig Kneale says. “Obviously we play our songs when we’re on tour every night, but miming them in front of a camera is just a strange experience. It’s the closest thing that I’ve been involved with that felt like ‘showbiz,’ mainly because there were so many people involved in making it.
A Confident Album
Despite that initial anxiety, the Howard Greenhalgh-directed video is the perfect introduction to the group’s new studio album. The sincere 13-track collection is an extraordinary alternative rock offering where vocalist Sam McTrusty spews impassioned lyricism in his distinct Scottish accent over an assortment of indie ambience. Truth be told, “Free” might very well be the effort to define Twin Atlantic.
We think we’ve created something that can stand the test of time.
“This album showcases the band we’ve kind of been trying to become over the last four years,” Kneale proudly states. “It’s a confident album, and I think we’ve found a style that we’re really comfortable with. We’re not trying to please anyone anymore, and the songs have their own identity because of that. We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved with the album. We think we’ve created something that can stand the test of time.”
Formed in Glasgow back in 2007, Twin Atlantic aspired to fuse their Scottish heritage into their ambient rock resonance. The four-piece made the band a top priority, and as a result, sacrificed their respective jobs and college education. Although they were broke at times, they scrounged up enough dough to record their EP debut “A Guidance From Colour.” Between that, promoting on various social media platforms and performing at every venue they could, the hungry quartet was stirring up quite the buzz.
“The only way we consciously built our name up from that start was just by dedicating most of our time to practicing and writing music, and by taking every opportunity that was given to us,” Kneale explains. “That again ties into the fact that we didn’t let other interests get in the way of our music, so the band always took precedent over everything else. After we recorded our first EP, we noticed we were starting to gain a bit of interest and people started to come and watch us in Scotland. We’ve just kind of built it from there slowly by touring over and over and over again.”
Hard Work Pays Off
In the months that followed, Twin Atlantic toured all over the United Kingdom as the opening act for well-established artists including pop-punk kingpins Blink-182, pop-rock quartet The Matches and alternative rock legends The Smashing Pumpkins. Along with that exposure came label attention and in 2009, the Glasgow four-piece signed with Red Bull Records.
To build up on their momentum, the Scotsmen released “Vivarium” – a mini-album that served as a necessary introduction to get people all across the world more acquainted with them.
“We had a very small amount of success in the UK, but for the most part we were completely unknown,” Kneale says. “We wanted to release an album that would be a strong record for people that had never heard the band before, but also please the existing fans we already had.” The group also spread awareness by making videos for “What Is Light? Where Is Laughter?” and “Lightspeed.”
It was seven weeks of hard work.
Twin Atlantic, however, were still a young band in the midst of discovering who they were as musicians and that’s something they figured out this past winter while recording their official full-length debut album “Free.” The Scottish rockers traveled to Red Bull Studios in Santa Monica, California to work with famed producer Gil Norton (Counting Crowds, Dashboard Confessional, Foo Fighters, Pixies), who managed to pull the very best in them.
“In the studio, he was an inspiration,” Kneale recalls. “He always had advice to impart upon the four of us and had this amazing way of getting you to focus and getting the right performance out of you. It was seven weeks of hard work, but Gil did make it seem pretty straight forward.”
Crating Their Sound
Through that hard work, Twin Atlantic crafted a well-rounded assortment of records that possess their own identity and interlink with one another quite naturally. There are several energetic highlights like the self-acceptance smash “Edit Me,” the motivational banger “Time For You To Stand Up” and the encouraging indie anthem “We Want Better, Man,” where the band vents their frustration with big corporation commercialism and society’s unjust expectations that are often inflicted on an impressionable generation. Also, there are slower paced compositions such as “Wonder Sleeps Here” and the acoustic-driven “Crash Land,” both of which have a theme of lost love.
While they remain proud of their previous effort, “Free” shows Twin Atlantic’s immense maturity both as songwriters and a band. “I think ‘Free’ is just a lot more accomplished than ‘Vivarium’, and it feels like a concise body of work,” Kneale says. “People have said it’s more straight-forward than ‘Vivarium,’ but I think it just makes more sense because we’ve written songs in one piece instead of finding ways of gluing pieces of music together like we had in the past. We’ve all become more team players as well, so all the songs sound like a band playing with each other rather than all of us trying to put our stamp on a song.”
We just want people to take something from the album, be that to love or hate it.
But perhaps above anything else, the alternative rock quartet desires to evoke some sort of emotion from music heads. “We just want people to take something from the album, be that to love or hate it,” Kneale states. “We think we’ve written a collection of songs, which all have strong identities – and I think that’ll provoke a reaction from people at least. What we’d hate is for people to listen to the album and not to feel anything because then, you’re just treading water.”
Clearly, Twin Atlantic has overcome that fear and from the sounds of it, they have no intentions of watering down their music. Now, they just need to get over their fear of miming in music videos.
- Sam McTrusty – Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
- Barry McKenna – Backing Vocals/Lead Guitar
- Ross McNae – Backing Vocals/Bass
- Craig Kneale – Drums
For more from Bear Frazer follow him on Twitter: @BearFrazer