Twin Atlantic are certainly no strangers to success. 2014 saw their album ‘Great Divide’ top the charts as they played to 10,000 fans at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro.
This year, they’ve returned with a bang – dropping their new single ‘No Sleep’ and their pivotal fourth album ‘GLA’.
Ahead of the release of the new album, we caught up with Twin Atlantic’s lead guitarist Barry McKenna to chat about the new record, the recording process and their forthcoming UK tour.
The album is titled ‘GLA’ and we all know you guys are from Glasgow – but what does the title relate to or represent?
I guess factually we called it ‘GLA’ because it represents Glasgow, but it’s actually the international airport code for Glasgow and that’s kinda been our gateway in this band for the last few years. Anytime we’ve been at that airport we’ve either been going to do something exciting that’s shaped our band somewhere else in the world or we’ve been coming home to the city we love and the people we love. We just thought that was a good way to start the record. However, mostly it was about stripping out the pretence. We feel like there’s not been much reality and honesty in music as of late and we wanted to be real about the city that shaped us as people, where we grew up, where we met and became friends.
There’s real evidence of a rebirth of TA in the new tracks – new depth, intensity and aggression, where does this come from?
I think it’s always been there, we just let it lay dormant for a while. That kind of intensity and seminal grip that we have on the new tracks didn’t really have a place on the last record, it didn’t really tie in with the band we were trying to be. Last time around we aimed at writing really big hooky pop-rock songs and tried to write songs purposely for bigger rooms, but on ‘GLA’ we didn’t want to reuse any ideas from the last time around. It’s important for us to push boundaries and push ourselves into different directions as a band and that’s basically what we did this time round.
Were there any major differences in how the new album was recorded/produced in comparison to the others?
Normally we would have all got together before recording and played the songs out to see what works best. This time round it was very much organic in the sense that a lot of the original ideas when they were captured are still what’s on the record. We didn’t fully know what the record was going to sound like until we recorded it.
There was nothing being played hundreds of times so it got boring or dull, everything was tracked separately and done in a quick way. At no point during the recording process had we played these songs fully together as a band, that’s the first time we’ve made a record in that way. I think that’s why the record has the energy that it does – it’s combination of musicality that we maybe suppressed a little last time around combined with the new way that the tracks were recorded.
The album was recorded at Topanga Canyon in LA with Jacknife Lee, how was that as an experience?
It was an amazing experience recording with Jacknife. We just really clicked with him, he’s very energetic and makes you excited to be in the room making music – he makes you feel like you are doing something special. That kind of chemistry was paramount to how this album sounds. He has converted a carriage outside his home into a recording studio which was very different in comparison to the big room studios we have recorded in previously. It was very relaxed, there wasn’t much pressure or stress.
Are there any tracks you feel stand out from the rest?
It’s hard to pick a stand out track because of the way we approached the album – we were inspired by a lot of classic albums in terms of the way the album fits together, so things like Led Zeppelin, T. Rex and Bowie were albums have to be listened to as a whole to really be appreciated. Not really the modern standard of two stand out tracks and the rest are fillers. I feel like the energy flows through ‘GLA’ and stands together as a body of work.
If my arm was really to be twisted though, I’d probably say ‘Ex El’. It’s quite a unique song as I think the sound builds into a ball of tension and releases again – I don’t think we’ve had a song that captures that feeling before. Also ‘Whispers’ which is a song that Ross wrote for the record. ‘No Sleep’ stands out in terms of its big riffs, it just sounds like a fun time and we have a fun time every time we play it.
It’s been a busy summer full of festivals for TA, how are the crowd reacting to the new tracks?
Really great so far, the new songs just seem to fit really well amongst the older tracks. If anything, I feel like they have given the older songs sort of a new lease of life as well and have projected a spark into our whole live set. The two songs we have been predominantly playing ‘No Sleep’ and ‘Gold Elephant: Cherry Alligator’ are pretty full on and relentless, there’s not really any pause for breath in them. They are really exciting to play and people have been letting loose and getting involved, it’s really cool when you see your music having that kind of impact on people.
Lastly what can TA fans expect from the forthcoming UK tour, ending with three nights at the legendary Barrowlands?
There will be a good mix of the new record but also old music as well. We definitely aren’t going to turn our back on any of our old stuff. It’s been so long since we’ve done a headline tour that we are just absolutely itching to get out, play shows and make a loud noise.
‘GLA’ will be released on the 9th of September through Red Bull Records.
Catch Twin Atlantic on tour:
7th NEWCASTLE, University
8th MANCHESTER, Neighborhood Festival
9th CARDIFF, Yplas
11th BIRMINGHAM, Institute
12th LONDON, Forum
14th PORTSMOUTH, Pyramids
15th LEEDS, Beckett University
16th NORWHICH, Waterfront
10th DUBLIN, Academy
11th BELFAST, Limelight
13th GLASGOW, Barrowlands
14th GLASGOW, Barrowlands
15th GLASGOW, Barrowlands
Watch the video for ‘No Sleep’ here: