‘It’ll be the full experience of the band in a small venue’: An Interview with Ross McNae of Twin Atlantic

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Twin Atlantic are coming to The Loft in Southampton to launch their new album, POWER, on January 26th.  With a number of intimate launch shows coming up, as well as a tour later in the year, Records Editor Vicky Greer caught up with bassist Ross McNae about how the album came about, and what fans can expect from the launch gig.

What can we expect from the more intimate album launch shows compared to the tour later on in the year?

We’ve been thinking about that and toying with the idea of doing things differently or having a slightly different set up than we would.  But seeing as it’s so early and the songs are so new, it seems strange to do the songs any other way than they were actually intended, so we’re basically gonna try and approach it in the exact same way as we would always do, even though the shows are a lot smaller.  It’ll be the full experience of the band in a small venue.  And of course the excitement is that we’ve never played some of this material before, so it’s all brand new.

Are you playing any cities for the first time?

There’s a lot of places that we have been but there’s a lot of places that are gonna be new.  Not cities, I’ll be honest with you, in ten years we’ve been everywhere you could possibly imagine.  Especially back in the beginning of the band we made a point of going everywhere cause so many of our favourite artists for whatever reason would only manage to go to like six major cities.  So we always make a point of playing in Inverness or Portsmouth.

How does touring with an album compare to playing festivals?

Festivals always seem to be more of a celebration that the sun is out.  In the UK it’s like sun worship.  And it’s whatever ‘Greatest Hits’ means to your band – whether that’s songs that 100 people listen to rather than 20.  When you play all the ones that people want to hear, in the sun, with a drink, and that’s that.  But I suppose with an album, especially this early on, the excitement is based on the fact that there’s new material.  There’s a reason that people to come to see your band, because they liked your previous songs.  We’re not those people that say, ‘aye we’re not gonna play our main single, we’re gonna play five B-sides’.  Who wants to see that?

Tell us about the experience of producing POWER in your own studio.

It happened out of necessity because we amicably parted ways with our record label.  We all just kind of where we realised we wanted different things.  We went out trying to find a new partner then realised that the most important thing is making what you want to make.  On the last album myself and Sam got more interested in our home studios, and bringing our music together.  That sparked an idea in our heads of putting all our stuff together in one room and trying something new.  We decided we were going to finish the record and then see how to get it out into the world.  Making it ourselves was a bit of a leap, we intended to make demos and re-record them as an album but we were just getting too into what we were doing, so we just needed to add to what we already had.

What have been the biggest influences on the new record?

It’s funny because there’s a couple of bands cited in the press release, but the biggest influence hasn’t been a particular artist or genre, but the ability to experiment.  Having your own place means there isn’t a clock ticking and someone standing with a cheque book.  And having time to experiment and see where it takes you is really important.

How would you describe POWER’s sound?

We’ve somehow landed on something that seems more rhythmically tribal.  There’s a lot more pounding, not heavy rock but an underlying heartbeat that runs throughout the whole album that moves you forward.  Combined with being able to experiment with electronics and organic instruments is the most important bit about the sound.

What tracks are you most looking forward to playing live?

At this point in time, all of them cause we haven’t played any yet so there’s an excitement there.  There’s a song called ‘I Feel It Too’ and there’s a song called ‘Ultraviolet Truth’ and they’re the songs we had the most fun trying new things with, so they’ll be interesting to see how we deal with when we play them live.  Such a big part of playing a live show is people’s reactions.  If it wasn’t about that you would just release albums and not do any shows.

What’s been Twin Atlantic’s highlight from the last decade?

I think our song ‘Heart & Soul’ kind of became bigger than the band for a little period of time, especially in Scotland where we’re from.  I think that song is the highlight in terms of reaching and affecting the most people.  I think as a personal highlight, as much as  he obvious creating music, something I’ve always loved to do is travel.  So, getting to go to some amazing places.  We’ve been so lucky – maybe a highlight is South Africa, getting to go on safaris and all that stuff.

What artists are you listening to at the moment?

I really like Working Men’s Club, and a lot of instrumental music.  I’ve been listening to a lot of different music I like as an escape from what we’ve been doing in the studio to try and relax.

Be sure to join Twin Atlantic at The Loft this Sunday – tickets available here

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Records Editor 2019/2020. Second year French and Spanish student. Always going through some kind of music-based phase, frequently crying about The Cure.

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