Sam: Good, I’m good. Craig?
Craig: Aye, I’m good.
Sam: A little bit tired today.
Craig: We’re in lazy Sunday mode.
Sam: We usually get up at 11 or 12 and today we were up at 10. That’s not even early though! That’s like late for a lot of people!
So how has the tour being going so far, you are almost done, right?
Sam: Almost done, we have tonight, Preston and then four gigs in Scotland.
Sam: Kind of, although three of them are like really north. Although they are in our country, they kinda of feel like you could be in another country.
Craig: But the tour has been going really well. Really great for our band. Great crowds, good turn outs.
You have had some huge support slots in the last year, bands like blink-182 and My Chemical Romance. How does it compare, playing those huge venues and then going back into smaller ones. Do you have a preference?
Craig: I think we are getting used to it. At first, it was pretty scary seeing such big crowds and then we got used to it. But we definitely prefer headline gigs to support slots. You get a lot more out of them.
Is it quite hard, playing to crowds you know are not there exclusively for you?
Sam: Yeah it is tough. It can either be really rewarding if they like you, but if they don’t its quite soul destroying, as you put yourself out there and are trying to turn a crowd, to cause a reaction.
And the bands you have supporting have been really iconic and have been known for having really passionate fanbases, does that make it even harder?
Craig: Yeah, diehard fans who you know are only there to see that band. Even I have been to gigs and I’m there just willing a support band to finish, so I do get it.
Sam: Although Craig told me once something which was quite encouraging, he went to see the Foo Fighters and from there discovered one of his other favourite bands, called Cave In, so it is a great way for people to discover new bands.
How did you get on those tours? There were rumours around that you were handpicked for some of them?
Sam: Kind off. You get put forward with a bunch of other bands and then they pick who they want from there.
I heard when you supported The Smashing Pumpkins they asked for you personally. Is that true?
Craig: Well we didn’t get an actual phone call from them, but we heard that Jimmy Chamberlain (Smashing Pumpkin’s drummer) asked for us, we got told that, which is really cool.
You toured out in America last year, what was that experience like, was it very different from the UK?
Craig: Oh hugely different! I think in America people are lot more willing to talk to you, I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing, but you definitely get more feedback. They’re lot more likely to tell you how you played and sounded. There are a lot more areas, a lot of different scenes. It’s really cool.
You have a new album out in May, can you tell us a bit about that?
Sam: Yeah, it’s out on 2nd May, it has 13 songs on it and its on a CD!
Not vinyl? I’m a cassette fan myself.
Sam: The first album I ever brought was on cassette!
What was it?
Sam: Take That!
Oh high five, me too!
Craig: Mine was The Smurfs Go Pop! Great album!
But back to your album…
Sam: Yes! We recorded it in November / December in Santa Monica and we worked with a producer called Gil Norton, who we were really excited to be working with, we were massive fans of the stuff he has done with other bands. It was a pretty straightforward process really; we were pretty clear what we wanted to do, as we had taken a year crafting the songs before we even really got involved with Gil. Hopefully when people listen to it, they will be able to feel the vibe with it, it’s a really honest record.
Do you have any standout or favourite tracks on it?
Sam: Yeah, I’m quite cheesy so I love the title track, Free, there is also another track, called The Ghost of Eddy, which we’re playing tonight (it’s pretty amazing, believe us ). They are my two favourite right now, but it always changes.
Craig: I like them all!
What would you say were your influences on this album, what kind of stuff were you listening to when you wrote it?
Sam: Well, definitely for me, more American based music, which its kind of always been, but I think I followed it a bit more closely this time. Bands like Nirvana, Weezer. But on the other end of the spectrum, Bruce Springsteen. It’s hard to pin point, but we all individually like a range of stuff.
Craig: For me, Pearl Jam. I listened to Pearl Jam for the whole year. Some people have mentioned the Pearl Jam influence, I am not sure if that is because of me or not!
Is this the same kind of stuff you listened to growing up, other than Take That and The Smurfs of course.
Craig: The Smurfs went too commercial!
Craig: I know, gutted!
Sam: Mine has remained similar. When I was 13 it was all about blink-182. They were probably the only band I listened to for about three years, till I was 16. Then I started to get into bands Foo Fighters, and from there Nirvana. I know, I did it backwards! Then I discovered Sonic Youth, working in weird, arty bars in Glasgow, full of all pretentious arty folk. It expanded from there. I suppose you pick up what your parents listen to as well, so that’s where I got the Bruce Springsteen from, my dad’s a massive fan. But we all like different stuff.
You have that classical element in there as well.
Sam: Yeah, I never thought that kind of atmospheric melody could work with a pop or rock song. And of course, Craig loves the Smurfs.
Craig: If the Smurf’s covered a Pearl Jam song, I’d be made up.
In a lot of our interviews lately we have been asking bands their opinion on the way the industry is going, how they feel about their music being downloaded illegally. Some bands have mentioned how stuff like merch is just as important now, what is your take on it?
Sam: To be honest, we try not to pay much attention to it.
Craig: Yeah, we are rubbish with stuff like merch! Business wise we really don’t have it down at all.
Sam: Downloading is just such a big part of music now, to get annoyed with it is silly, just embrace it. For new bands, it’s great.
In past you might have not even bothered with a band without hearing a track, but now you might hear them, then go to their show, so the money is just being placed elsewhere…
Sam: Totally. I mean, I can’t afford to buy countless records, so I don’t really expect any others to. But I think the whole thing is we just concentrate on music, we are distracted by music, so we don’t put the effort into the whole new age stuff.
Do you think some bands pay too much attention to things like merch and social media?
Sam: It’s hard to say because you don’t see the inner circle of other bands. Maybe. I think ultimately if you concentrate on the music then it won’t be ignored.
So what do you have planned for the rest of the year? Any festivals?
Sam: We are going to hit up as many of the summer festivals as we possibly can. I don’t know which ones yet, or we would tell you! We are going to do another headline tour in April / May in support of the album and we have single coming out on February 14th, Edit Me.
Craig: And we are doing South by South West in America again.
What’s that like? I’ve heard great things about it.
Craig: It’s amazing! We are really lucky, this is our third year, but I’d definitely pay for a ticket and go, it’s that good.
Sam: Craig’s on about going to SXSW and doing a side project called Bordeux Bordeux. It’s going to be a French sound and he’s going to wear long shoes, leggings and massive t-shirts.
Craig: It’s going to happen! I’m leaving this band to do it.
Sam: Maybe later in the year.
What kind of thing do you get up to when you’re not touring?
Sam: I think about going on tour! No, I don’t do much. Watch, TV, watch copious amount of films.
Craig: I never really watch films, but I watched one today! ‘Body of Lies’ with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. It was alright. It wasn’t brilliant, but it was OK.
Do you read a lot?
Sam: I’d like to say yes, because it would make me sound really intelligent, but I just buy books and never finish them. When I go into Waterstones or whatever, I just get distracted by all the covers and end up buying five or six books then only reading the first chapter. I just don’t have a very good attention span.
Craig: I read Lord of the Flies this tour, but it seriously took me about four months to finish it. It had like the last forty pages missing! I had to buy another copy and when I did, I had to re-read bits as I had forgotten what had happened. It was really good though!
So you probably do loads of these interviews and we are always conscious of the fact we are going over old material, if you had to interview yourself, what would you ask?
Craig: That is a good question!
Sam: I’d ask ‘why are you guys so ridiculously rich, successful and handsome?’ but that is only so I could play the sympathy card and be like “oh, no, we are so poor, feel sorry for us!”
Finally, anything you want to add?
Craig: Yeah, thank you for supporting our band, we hope you like the new album and we’ll see you all very soon!
‘Free’ the new album by Twin Atlantic is out on Red Bull Records on 2nd May 2011