Twin Atlantic Interview

I talk to TWIN ATLANTIC! and gives the drummer Craig Kneale the 20 question grilling!

TWIN ATLANTIC are one of those bands that for me was a total surprise to find. I first saw TA back in 2008 supporting another of my favourite bands BIFFY CLYRO and I have been a big fan ever since. Straight away they hit you with heavy hitting kick ins, Huge guitar sounds and a delicate yet powerful vocal line that gets totally glued to your mind and stays with you! Over the past few years TA have been touring relentlessly all over the world and have made a big impact on the current music scene. If you haven’t seen or heard this band yet then get on it! This is one band that put on a very energetic show that would rival a lot of your favourite bands. They are also some of the nicest guys you will meet, so don’t hesitate to talk to them after a show too.

I was lucky enough to catch up with the drummer Craig and give him a 20 question grilling and here’s what he had to say for himself.

1. How did you meet?

– We all met through the local music scene in Glasgow, which is quite a boring reason really. We were all in different bands who disbanded around the same time as each other, Ross and Sam had gone to school together and had started a new project with another drummer which became Twin Atlantic. They’d played a couple of times where myself and Barry had been in the crowd and we loved what they were doing. It turned out we all shared the same ethics and goals about being in a band, and we all joined together at the beginning of 2007.

2. What does Twin Atlantic mean?

– Well, I wasn’t in the band when the name was decided but my understanding is that they were looking for a name that couldn’t be easily tied to any genre. They had the word Atlantic and a friend suggested putting Twin before it and they liked how epic that made it sound. And I totally agree, its one of the things I noticed straight away about the band was the name – it’s a really tough thing to get right and I thought it fitted them perfectly.

3. Where did you record Vivarium and how did it go?

– We recorded Vivarium in Los Angeles, which is a big rock cliché but it turned out to be a great idea as it took us completely out of comfort zone and away from the distractions we’d have had if we were closer to home. It was a great experience and we’re so proud of the results but there was some bumpy moments getting to that point! It was a big learning curve for us as we’d never recorded anything on that scale, but it’s all things that are going to help in a big way when we record again.

4. How did the last UK tour go?

– It went very well thanks! It was our biggest tour yet, even if that meant playing to 150 people in Leeds, or 200 people in Manchester. But knowing how many people we’d played to in those cities on previous tours it was amazing to see these venues selling out and the crowds going that little more mental. We played our biggest show in Glasgow to 1400 people and ended the tour with a sold out show in London as-well, so there were so many positives to take from it. It’s just exciting to see what’ll happen on the next tour.

5. How have the Americans taken to your music?

– So far it’s been really positive. I think the first couple of songs are a little confusing for most of the crowds because of the accent, but they’re usually embracing that fact by the end of the set. Americans are a lot more vocal if they’ve enjoyed your performance and we’ve had a lot of good feedback after most of the shows. It’s refreshing to play to a completely fresh audience in every city as-well, it feels like our first tour of the UK when it’s up to us to form people’s perception of us as they’ve not heard anything about us before.

6. Where is your favourite place to play?

– Most places in Scotland are pretty amazing, but not just because it’s where we play to the most people. The crowds we play to up here are so passionate, and get very involved in the show. But it always seems a little unfair to say where our favourite place to play is because it’s constantly changing, you can have an amazing show in your favourite city then have a terrible time the next time you play there so there’s loads of factors to consider. We have so many places we enjoy playing now so we’re quite lucky.

7. What has been your most memorable show so far?

– I guess that last Glasgow show is one that’ll stick in our heads for a long time to come. We’d played to a lot of people there in previous shows but this was another level. It was the first time we’d played a proper show in Glasgow since Vivarium was released so it was so humbling to see that many people there to see our band and even more exciting to think about where we can go from here. I think as a band you kind of hope that your most memorable show is something that gets overtaken as much as possible.

8. What is your favourite TA song to play live and why?

– Mine is probably Human After All, mainly because I can play it as fast as I want and nobody complains! It’s just a very exciting song to play and I love the dynamics and the rhythm changes. We only really get to play it on headline sets so it’s probably never going to get boring to play either.

9. Which band has been your favourite to tour with?

– We’ve had the privilege of touring with a lot of great bands, and 95% of the time we’ve been treated so well and been taught us so much. My personal choice would be the Subways as they taught us a lot about how to capture an audience and that you don’t need props or gimmicks to put on a memorable show. They’re crew were always incredibly helpful and there was just a great vibe on the tour. They also took us to Europe for the first time which opened up a whole new market to us. And it also introduced us to the wonders of German catering, our lives would never be the same after that…

10. Is there any unsigned bands you have met on your travels that we should look out for?

– Quite a few actually. Back in Glasgow there’s quite a few bands we all love, off the top of my head LightGuides, Other People and Bronto Skylift. They’ve all got massive potential and also have the fact they’re all lovely people standing in their favour. Some bands we’ve met over the course of touring the UK are Cassettes from Liverpool, The Troops Of Mafeking from Stoke and Reginald from Carlisle.

11. Are you planning on playing any UK festivals?

– We are indeed, although we can’t say which ones yet! We’d love to do them all but that would be greedy.

12. Being from my point of view the flagship artist for Red Bull Records, how are you finding working with them?

– It’s been great so far. We’ve been with them for over a year now and it’s nearly all been positive. They’ve given us so many opportunities and exposure that we couldn’t have dreamed of otherwise. At the same time they let us deal with the music and have never told us what we can or can’t do.

13. You are currently touring America, how is that going?

– It’s been great so far! We’re about 3 and a half weeks in and it’s getting better as we go along. We feel very lucky to be able to see so much of this huge country in just a couple of months. Every city has it’s on personality so it’s a different experience each day.

14. You guys have a great relationship with your fans, have any of them done anything crazy or made you anything?

– No, they’re usually quite restrained in their craziness. We get baked quite a lot of cakes and things, but I’ve never understood why? We always gladly accept and eat them up though. Someone once gave us a teddy bear with our names written all over it which looked quite sinister.

15. Do you have any band rituals before you take to the stage?

– We do have one, but I don’t know how it started. We all have to touch heads in a huddle before we play, and if we don’t we’ll play really shit. Sometimes we play shit even if we have done it though, so it’s up for debate wether it works. We’ve now incorporated a sort of River-Dance toe tap thing at the end which has made it even more ridiculous.

16. If you weren’t in TA what would you be doing?

– I’d probably be hopelessly lost as I think i’m too caught up in this to go back to Uni and learn anything now! I think we’re all in the same boat now that we’ve committed so much to this band in the last 3 years that we’re just going to make it work.

17. When do you guys plan on recording again?

– We’re hoping to go back in after summer (September/October time) to record our proper first album. We’ve gained some momentum from Vivarium and we all love the songs on it but we’re very anxious to move onto the next thing already. We’ve got a pool of about 20 new songs which are at various levels of completion, but we’ve got a little while yet before we’re truly ready to go in and record again.

18. Which band would you love to support and why?

– For me personally it would be the Foo Fighters. They were one of the first bands I ever loved and it was always a dream when I was younger to play with them, and still would be now. Dave Grohl is my drumming hero and between him and Taylor Hawkins they were the two main reasons for my original decision to buy a drum kit. But the biggest reason is that I think it’d be the perfect tour for our band, both in terms of compatibility and how big the tour would be.

19. Where is the next place for TA to conquer?

– Ha ha, who knows? I don’t think we’ve conquered anywhere yet! I think you need to be playing
enormo-domes to be able to claim that.

20. Where are you right now and what does your next few days have in store?

– We’re currently on the second day of a two day drive to Portland, Oregon for the next show of the US tour. We have the show there tomorrow, then Seattle, Washington the day after that. Seattle is probably the show I’ve been looking forward to the most, because a lot of my favourite bands originated here so it’s a bit of a dream to get to visit it!

So if that doesn’t get you intrigued then I have no idea what will, check out this band and you won’t be disappointed!