Best Of 2015
The rise and rise of Twin Atlantic.
Words: Heather McDaid.
Oh, Twin Atlantic. What a year it’s been. While life in a band can be a rollercoaster, a trajectory of ups and downs, and the occasional loop, for the Scottish foursome it seems like they’re on the incline, gradually working their way skyward with no real sign of stopping. 2015 has, by anyone’s reckoning, been the biggest year of their careers, or as bassist Ross McNae would say, “surreal. We’ve not played as many shows as we have in previous years but they’ve been the best shows we’ve played I would say. We finished touring for ‘Great Divide’ much earlier than we have on previous albums and it’s kept us hungry to start making new music rather than wanting time to do life.”
While it’s been a case of quality over quantity on their touring schedule, it’s given some real career-defining moments.
Their biggest UK tour to date.
It wasn’t a relentless month-long tour of all the main cities and every place in between, but a few massive dates that showed how far Twin Atlantic have come. They command the likes of Brixton Academy with ease, but make it feel as intimate as a club show. Upon crossing the border back into Scotland, they took to the Hydro – a stage that has hosted the likes of Beyonce – in one blinding celebration.
“It’s hard to explain without telling you that it made the last few years make sense,” says Ross. “I suppose the last thing you did always validates your journey to that point, especially if it’s bigger venues than you’ve played before.”
Headlining the second stage at T in the Park
Scotland’s leading festival has been home to many bands over the years, fostering talent and giving them the opportunity to return. For Twin, it’s almost a second home, but 2015 saw them headline second stage to an endless sea of people.
“We’ve played nearly every stage at the festival over the years and it will always be close to our hearts,” Ross notes. “For that reason alone [headlining the second stage] was a real moment for the band, but add to that mix the fact that we’d been there multiple times before we were in a band and you start to see the importance of that particular party for us as people.”
Twin Atlantic photographic record.
While it’s easy to talk about the journey the band have come on, it’s also nice to physically look back on it. Documenting the first eight years of the band, from the tours they booked themselves up to their more recent mammoth shows, they have a collection of photos taken by drummer Craig Kneale – a personal memento for the band, and nice way for fans to see a little more into tours gone by.
On documenting this first epic chapter, Ross says, “It feels great to look through it and remember the journey to get to where we are today. Not many people realise that we’ve been a band for eight years and that we’ve taken a pretty scenic route compared to a lot of other bands that are playing the same stages as us nowadays.
“Craig got a camera around the same time our band started touring so it documents his story as a photographer alongside ours as a band which is a unique angle I think. We don’t usually look to the past as a rule really as we’re pretty driven to keep doing new things and making new music, but this has been a chance to take stock for a second. We’re proud of our journey.”
Goodbye, ‘Great Divide’
‘Great Divide’ has marked a change in Twin Atlantic While it now opens up the question as to what happens next, it also offers a moment to pause and look back at this latest chapter.
“There’s too many highlights,” Ross notes, “but a few would be playing Brixton Academy, The Hydro in Glasgow, Reading and Leeds, Glastonbury, T in the Park, going to Australia and South Africa for the first time. Kicking the album off with shows at the Webster Hall studio in New York and The Troubador in LA, and meeting all the people we’ve met on our travels. It’s been fun.”
“We’ve learned a lot about what we like and dislike and have a bit more time to think about why we’re going to make the next record, rather than just making it because that’s what you do.”