AMBY recently met Sam McTrusty and Ross McNae from the alternative rock band Twin Atlantic after their performance at NorthSide festival for a good chat about their brand new album. While going a bit bananas over the new work, we also discussed preferred guitar picks, awesome plectrum collections, favorite bands, and watched the guys show off some festive hidden talents. Join in on the fun right here.
AMBY: So you have a new album called G L A. Can you please tell us a bit about the themes and sound?
Sam: Yea. G L A stands for the city of Glasgow. It is our city famous for the atmosphere, people and attitude there. It is kind of synonymous with two things – Like being the friendliest people in the World, and then also being the craziest and most dangerous people. They are all mixed up in that place. That is something we have never really written music about. We have always kind of dreamed about everything else except that. It was all about escapism and that stuff. Then we realized that it could also be about just living in Glasgow and holding that atmosphere. You know, present where you are from.
AMBY: And how did you try to get this feel into the sound?
Sam: Well, we did it quite loosely.
(Ross spontaniously grabs one of the bananas by the neat fruit plate on the table in front of us and hold it up to to his ear like listening to a telephone, Sam joins him right after with a banana microphone. while they continue with the interview, but break into laughter with me)
Sam: Microphones! We did actually do it with microphones, but –
Ross: – and guitars.
(Sam tests the banana phone, and we get to laugh a bit more… I join in on the fun and grab another available banana phone on the table for a short time, before going forward with the interview)
Sam: Yea, so we were more attracted to sounds that sonically matched those feelings, so it was not like the words are spelled out for you like ”WE LOVE GLASGOW!”… but it was the first time we have made an album at home. From day one we have always been on tour buses, planes and travelled all over. We have never had a chance to really stay at home for more than 6 month the last 10 years when recording a record. So we just kind of thought that this was a good time in our lives to approach the music from there.
Ross: We actually appreciated it much more now that we have been out and about. We had not seen anything in the rest of the World before so we wanted to leave, but now that we have seen so much and was back in Glasgow we got to think, you know what, this is really good.
AMBY: So have you got some new equipment for the songs on the new record?
Sam: We have gotten some new guitar stuff.
Ross: Earlier on we didn’t take our own things, we just grabbed whatever was there and had to make that sound good.
Sam: This time it was more easy. We are spoiled.
AMBY: Oh, but that is good. Appreciate that. I was also wondering about when your fans wish to grab some guitar picks.
Sam: Oh yea…
AMBY: What kind of picks can they get from you these days?
Sam: I use a Dunlop 0.60mm orange Tortex. We don’t have a fancy logo on it or so. I have always wanted one, but every time we have went to order it we have started to feel a bit silly and asked ourselves like ”why?” It would be more a ego based…
AMBY: It should do the same for the play… but it is more like a special thing, you know as a kind of merch then..
Sam: It does. Yea, our guitar techs want us get it now as people keep taking them or asking for them. So we would get printed guitar picks to give it for someone else, but not just for ourselves.
AMBY: Nice. There is a kind of game getting these picks among music fans.
Sam: Yea, yea. I have taking plectrums as well. Even last year when we were playing with Muse, then I got one of Matt Bellamy’s plectrums. Think I still got it… And maybe one from Chris Wolstenholme, the bass player. It has MUSE written on it, which is cool to have.
AMBY: That is cool.
Ross: And our drummer got a plectrum from The Strokes.
AMBY: Yea, that is cool as well.
Ross: He met them and someone gave him one of theirs. Got a picture and all. Everyone would like that.
AMBY: That is nice. It is so great when you get picks with logos that you can show off and it is easy to see what band it is from, so maybe we can see this from you as well in the future…
Sam: Yea, we should get it. We got it planned.
(Two concerts are playing on each side of the press area as we chat, and we talk a bit about the concerts on this day and what to watch later on. Jake Bugg, Caribou, Beck and Damien Rice seems like some popular shows, but one band takes special attention)
Sam: … and Bloc Party. We have talked with the guys. I have never really said this in an interview, but when I was like 17-18 years old they were one of my favorite bands and they still are.
Ross: One of the reasons you got into music.
Sam: I really wanted to be in that band at the time. I was like standing in front of their concerts and sang every word.
AMBY: They are pretty great.
Sam: Yea. So hopefully see them.
AMBY: See you at the front line there.
Sam: That would be cool, I know all the words.
(Ross spontaneously grabs a grape by the fruit plate and throws the grape up in the air towards the ceiling of the tent, where he almost hits bulls-eye in the festive lamp deco. Ross gives it another go with a slight miss, while Sam hits top score on first attempt, which is of course followed by some high fives. Some pretty loud cheers come from our tent at this point)
AMBY: Okay. So lastly, I was wondering what kind of hidden talents do you guys have? Well, besides throwing these grapes, and oh, talking in banana phones.
Sam: Yea, the grape throwing… and Ross can juggle.
(Ross is quick to grab three oranges at the fruit plate and starts to juggle them around perfectly like a pro)
AMBY: Ey, you are really good actually!
Sam: So hidden talents… Well, I don’t hide any of my talents. I show off everything. Show it all off. So that is very much me. I would say I am a pretty good actor then.
AMBY: Oh yea, you guys are great in your videos.
Sam: Ah, thanks.
AMBY: Especially Make A Beast Of Myself. It is so awesome!
Sam and Ross: Ah, yea that one.
Sam: Thank you, again.
(We talk a bit more about this music video being filmed in Berlin and also traveling around as a band. A few jokes are made about the fact that the words globetrotters and business men could be some quite fitting phrases to associate with musicians on tour)
AMBY: Alright, I think this will be a good time to end up this chat. It has been so great. Thank you guys.
Thanks for giving us your answers, Twin Atlantic!
Interview and Photos by Jules Faurschou | @rockonpoets