Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ The Twilight Sad

The first Twilight Sad track I heard which completely captivated me was I Became a Prostitute; there was a certain depth and immediate connection to the emotion evoked through the vocals in the song. The feelings the group from Scotland are able to convey is brilliant. Their recently released album No One Can Ever Know maintains all of these great attributes to their music, so we caught up with their vocalist James Graham to see what the band’s been up to with the latest album and more!

AMBY: There seems to be a great sense of composition with the new album No One Can Ever Know, tell me about the songwriting process.

JG: The song writing process was the same it’s always been with the band. Andy would send me some music & I’d write my melodies with a rough set of lyrics then we’d work out a final structure for the song. Then Andy would layer the song up with all the different elements. I think the main difference was with Andy on the new record and the instrumentation he used when producing the new songs. He started to use different instrumentation that was interesting him and the he thought would push the band forward musically and using sounds that suited the songs we had written. I’ve said before that we don’t want to make the same album twice, we want to take risks. Some bands are happy making the same album  over and over again,  Not us!

AMBY: The sound has completely evolved in your music! How would you describe the progression from the last album?

JG: Well I mean we’re 2 years older and hopefully a bit wiser which is a start and that has probably has influenced some different sounds we’ve used on this new record. We never want to repeat ourselves so “no one can ever know” was never going to sound like “forget the night ahead” just as that album didn’t sound like “14 autumns & 15 winters”. Although saying that in my opinion this album still sounds like The Twilight Sad. There’s things that we can ever change about this band, I mean influences come and go with each album. The things that will always remain the same are my voice,the way we write and the reason we write songs in the first place. We don’t write music for the sake of having to have an album out, we write because we want to and we have something to write about. I suppose something else that won’t change is that we’re never really going to write a happy song, I’m too much of a miserable moany bastard to change that. I’d say the main difference on this album would be the instrumentation with Andy changing his guitar style a bit and the added synths, but ultimately as I say every song is recognizably us.

AMBY: What are your favourite songs off No One Can Ever Know? Mine would have to be Don’t Move and Sick!

JG: I wouldn’t like to single out certain songs. We’re a band that produces albums and each album is supposed to be listened from start to finish to really get them. There’s certain songs that I enjoy playing live and that’s just from the audiences reaction to them and then there’s others that I enjoy performing because of what they mean to me/how I’m feeling at the time

AMBY: Who inspires you as a songwriter?

JG: I’d say that places and experiences inspire each album we write in different ways. I mean if we didn’t live in Scotland I’m sure our music and our albums would sound a lot different. Also the experiences I write about all take place at home in Scotland so I’m influenced by both places and experiences in the same kind of way, if that makes any sense. I’m also influenced and inspired by people close to me and I write about things that happen to my family/friends and myself. Also a good film or story can inspire me to write.

AMBY: You have a North American tour scheduled, tell us about the craziest thing that’s happened while touring.

JG: This might sound like a cliche but what goes on tour stays on tour.

AMBY: What three items next to food and water would you take to a desert island?

JG: Irn Bru, Buckfast tonic wine and Wham Bars.

AMBY: What were the last the albums you played?

JG: Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights
Beirut – The Rip Tide
Bat for Lashes – Two Suns
Liars – WIXIW
Errors – Have Some Faith in Magic
Richard Hawley – Coles Corner
David Bowie – Low
RM Hubbert – 13 Lost & Found

AMBY: What do you do outside of music for fun?

JG: I love going to the cinema. I have a cineworld card which means I can go see as many movies as I want each month for £14.99. It’s pretty much all I do during the week. I love football or soccer as you call it, I play twice a week when we’re off tour. I’m a comic book fan so I like going to the comic book store. Apart from that I’m pretty boring. I spend most of my time either writing music/watching TV. Oh yeah I like drinking, I mean we are Scottish. I like to drown my sorrows quite a lot.

AMBY: There is also a remix album coming out in November, tell us about some of the cool people that worked on it.

JG: We made a list of possible remixers and asked our label to get in touch with them to see if they would be interested. Luckily for us a lot of them were. We said they could remix any song they liked off the new album and let them get to work. We thought it would be cool/interesting to see what other artists we liked would do with our songs and we were really happy with the outcome. It’s a pretty varied remix record. The record features these remixes

1. Sick – Brokenchord
2. Sick – Com Truise
3. Nil – Liars
4. Not Sleeping – The Horrors
5. Alphabet – Optimo (instrumental)
6. Not Sleeping – Warsnare
7. Nil – Breton
8. Alphabet – Ambassadeurs
9. Sick – Brokenchord (Remix 1)

AMBY: And lastly, tell me something that nobody knows about you.

JG: I love sour candy/sweets. I’m a worrier. My favourite season is winter. The only kind of alcohol I don’t really like is whiskey, I’ll still drink it though.

No One Can Ever Know is out now, so go lend an ear and start listening to The Twilight Sad! They’re extremely pleasing to the ear, and are a band you surely don’t want to miss! And thank you very much James, for giving me your answers!


Alicia Atout

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