Scottish rock act Twin Atlantic are simply looking to inject some honesty back into the good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll scene. That much is obvious from their latest studio album, ‘Free,’ which boasts songs about hope and being unrestrained, as implied by the title. With such anthemic tunes, it’s no wonder the band saw the record hit #12 on the UK Albums Chart. It’s also no wonder that they’re seeing more and more success as they continue on the road for the better part of five years, not only touring the UK and the US, but also playing huge festivals like T in the Park and the Belfast Festival. With Warped Tour on the horizon and the supporting slot on an upcoming Blink-182 tour, Twin Atlantic won’t be held back from spreading their candid music as far and wide as possible. Truly, no one can deny that this four-piece are anything but hardworking.
Luckily, we were able to catch up with lead singer Sam McTrusty before Twin Atlantic closed out the interactive portion of South by South West alongside Kasabian. We discussed many things, including how it feels to play with a band that inspires them, what all those pictures in their album mean, and even a little about Texas barbecue.
This isn’t the band’s first time at SXSW.
Have you seen it change over the years?
From what I can remember, not really, no. It appears to be a lot more about fun now. It seems like you’d come here and make a big deal about making your debut. I think the whole music industry has relaxed and [now] treats it like a big party, you know? They just accepted the truth that this is just a big party.
Everybody just gets together and plays.
It’s all about having fun, getting free food, and free drinks. [laughs]
I think this is the biggest it’s been, with 2,000+ bands, which is crazy. Are there any bands that you have on your list to see?
The main one would probably be Kasabian, who are a really big band in Europe, arena-size, big festival stuff. I knew we were playing after them here, and this is like a smaller show for them, so I’m excited to see it.
This is the closing party for the interactive portion, right?
Last year, the Foo Fighters played it, so it’s kind of a big deal, which is pretty cool.
You guys recently finished your tour with You Me at Six, The Swellers, and We Are the Ocean. I actually got to see you guys, which was really exciting.
Ah, cool! Where about?
I saw you in San Antonio.
Yeah, I was next to the guys who were really into it.
Okay, okay, okay. [laughs][laughs] It was a fun experience. Were there any crazy things that happened on that tour?
Crazy things? Shit, I don’t know. The whole tour is a big blur to me, man. I had to be in a state of zen to get through it. Touring in America is really different; it’s like an endurance test.
Is it the weather? I know in Texas it’s ridiculous. You actually just missed our cold front; it was like in the 40s.
I heard all about it! It’s not even hot. It gets hot back home, but here, this is nice. I think it’s the long drive and the distance from home. It plays tricks with your mind.[laughs] I can understand that. Now, the physical copy of your album just dropped today [March 13]. Are there any favorite songs that you have from it?
That’s a classic. It’s hard to pick, isn’t it? Otherwise we wouldn’t have put them all on. But, I guess the song called “The Ghost of Eddie.”
What was the inspiration for the songs?
Just honesty. In general, and across the board, [we were] trying to inject honesty back into youthful rock music. It’s kind of lost its way a little bit.
I like that the album has all these pictures that go with the songs. I was trying to interpret them. Are there stories to those?
Yeah, there’s stories and there’s also like…some of them are really basic. Like, we used the petrol can for the song “Free” because there’s the main line about setting yourself on fire. What else do they have? “Wonder Sleeps Here” is a big ornate sun because it’s all about how the sun will catch our hope. So there’s all these subtle, radical things. “The Ghost of Eddie” is a computer because it talks about living in a digital age.
Gotcha! So, say you have one song that personifies you guys that you use to introduce yourself to fans. Which one is it, and why?
It’d probably be the title track, “Free.” I’d like to think that it’s high-impact, melodic, Scottish rock music. And the song has got purpose.
It’s a great album to listen to while driving around with your windows down.
Yeah, so I tell everyone, “Just turn it up, put your windows down and you’re good to go.”
And you guys are on Warped Tour this year, right? This will be your first time on Warped?
Everyone says it’s like boot camp or summer camp. Is there anything you’re looking forward to?
[laughs] Not really. I’ve heard so many bad stories about it. Probably just getting to play to people who have seen us before, or new people who want to check us out. It’s probably the only thing I’m looking forward to, to be honest.[laughs] See, honesty, like you said! Are you gonna take a bus, or are you vanning it?
We will have a bus for that one. It’s too long and too hot to not.
Before that, you guys are going on tour supporting Blink-182, and I remember reading that you’re all really big fans of them. It won’t be your first time supporting them, but how is it to work with a band that inspires you?
I think it’s exactly like you’d imagine — it’s fucking surreal. But the thing that kind of relaxes me about the whole thing is Tom DeLonge. He is very forthcoming, honest, and wants to talk to us all the time and give us advice. He makes fun of us for being Scottish. He kind of relaxes us a lot, whereas Travis [Barker] is like a quiet, amazing drummer. So, yeah, it’s a weird, weird experience.
Do you know if Travis is going to do his flying drum solo?
[laughs] I don’t know. I’m in the dark about it, too. Probably. Now that he’s started it, he’s going to have to outdo himself.[laughs] He could fly. He can have it on a rocket and fly around.
I wouldn’t be surprised!
That would be awesome. So you guys have been touring nonstop.
Yep. Five years.
Wow, that’s a long time. Do you write on the road?
Yeah. It’s a lot easier to do back home because we tour on a bus back home, so there’s more space and time to do it.
Are you working on any new material?
Yeah, I’m always working on new things.
Any dates in the future that we should look forward to?
You mean for a new release or something like that?
I don’t like to break promises but we’re aiming for the start of next year.
That’s going to make for a good start to the year. I have to ask: have you tried any of the awesome barbecue places here?
I have! The very first year we came here. But, we have some vegetarians in our camp, so they’re not too friendly to the vegetarians.
Everyone loves some good barbecue.
Yeah, I love it. But, I like to eat with my brothers. Usually, when we tour in America, we have fast food every day, so when we’re based somewhere for a few days, we want to get extravagant.
Yeah, a good thing about Austin is that they’re very big on vegan and vegetarian food, so it’s easy to find options.
I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the other guys!
I know there’s a place down Guadalupe, by campus, so if you guys are ever down that way, you should go.
[laughs] Will do!
Pick up Twin Atlantic’s latest album, Free.
For the band’s upcoming tour dates, check out their official website.