Twin Atlantic drummer Craig Kneale takes a well earned break from constant touring and demo-ing new songs for their debut album to talk Tom Morello, South by Southwest and murders with our very own JustBoy57.
How is everyone in Twin Atlantic doing?
We’re very well thank you, enjoying the Scottish sun. Even saying that sounds a bit wrong, like the tectonic plates have altered.
Where abouts are you just now?
We’re back in Glasgow working on our album, it’s starting to sound very exciting!
How did the tour go with Fall of Troy? Were you sad to see them go?
The tour with the Fall Of Troy was great, as a first tour in a new territory for us it was perfect. As it was their last tour all the shows were pretty much sold out, being people’s last chance to see them. Also on the tour were a band called Envy On The Coast whose new album is incredible, check it out. The tour was quite emotional at the end! I was a fan of the band years ago and the last show in New Haven, Connecticut was so memorable. It was chaotic and there was a huge stage invasion and I think every piece of their equipment ended up broken. A fitting end…
I heard Vic Galloway raving about you guys at South by South West. How was it? Any crazy (crazee) stories?
Yeah, we still owe Vick money for that! Only joking, he’s been great to us since the start though – with no need to be. Great guy. South By South West was incredible, it was our second year in a row doing it and it was even better this year. We knew what to expect this year so we were more prepared. We played 3 shows this year, and they all went pretty well – two were in an hour of each other so it was a mad dash to get to the next venue and set up! A lot of fun though. We also got to see Tom Morello lose his mind on guitar in a tiny bar, I don’t think I’ll ever forget that. The guy is a god.
Do you get a chance to enjoy other performances (and the area) when you’re not on stage yourself?
Apart from SXSW and watching the other bands every night we didn’t get to see much music. We played a couple of festivals but it was mainly terrible emo bands playing – I think the only good thing we all collectively saw was Mute Math and Weezer. And we try to see as much of an area as possible, but because the drives are so long over there, most of the time it was get to the venue/set up/play/leave to get ready for the next 8 hour drive. But we still got to get a vibe from all of these different cities, that in itself was so rewarding.
How does playing America compare to playing back in Britain? Any major differences?
Mmm, it’s basically the same apart from people have different accents! And the people at the shows are a bit more willing to come up and say if they enjoyed your set than they are over here. That was the only real thing we noticed. And people don’t shout ‘Braveheart’ at us in the UK…
Do you miss home when you are away? It must get difficult at times being so far away from home for so long…
I personally don’t anymore. I actually dread the end of tours now, I wish I could just stay away for ever. It’s not that I don’t like home, I love my family and my friends – but I just love travelling and playing in all these different places. I always get scared at the end of a tour that I might not get to do it again. When we first started touring I’d miss Glasgow even if we were only away for 5 days!
I regularly read your blog and think it’s hilarious! You are also avid user’s of the old Twitter. Has social networking become incredibly important for a band to use to keep everyone in the loop?
Ha ha, glad you like it! It is utter nonsense from my sad excuse of a brain, but people seem to have been fooled by it. I think social networking is important for every band these days – people expect it because it’s such a big part of society now. It can be a drag having to keep in touch with people, only because I find the internet quite boring, but it’s so rewarding to read messages from people who love what you’re doing – so sending a message to them is really the least you can do. There are so many great bands out there so if you’re a dick then why would they stick by you?
Vivarium is great. I actually love every track off it. Is recording something you guys enjoy?
Thank you! Appreciate you saying. We love recording, just the process of seeing these songs process from the way you hear them in your head into something completely different is so exciting. And because I play drums which are generally recorded first I got to sit about for weeks!
Any major plans for the Summer? Confirmed for any festivals yet?
Well, we have the Gaslight Anthem support tour at the end of June which is a pretty big tour for us. That’s just UK and then one show in Amsterdam. And we do have a few festivals over summer but we’re mainly going to be writing!
I’d imagine there will be an Aberdeen date at some point 😉
Ha ha, we’d love to come back to Aberdeen – fingers crossed before too long…
I’ve got to ask about the next album! Are the wheels in motion? When can we expect to hear anything from it?
Yeah, the wheels are very much in motion. If you want to continue that analogy I’d say we’re going about 30 miles an hour right now, momentum is gaining but we’ve yet to hit full throttle. Once we do we’ll be ready to go in and record them all I think. In a perfect world we’ll be recording at the end of summer.
And most importantly, will Crash Land be on it?! 🙂
You’ll just have to wait and see…
How do you find time to write new material? Do you do it on the road? Or do you solely write songs with an album in mind?
We’ve tried to write on the road to varying degrees of success, but most of the songs are written by Sam and brought to practice. We’re writing with a collection of songs for an album right now, but a lot of what’s relevant for the album will mainly come from Sam’s lyrics? We want it to be a really cohesive package, but at the same time we don’t want to stifle ourselves by writing to a set of parameters. It is definitely starting to sound like an album though. Which is good obviously.
Congratulations on securing the aforementioned Gaslight Anthem tour! You must be over the moon with this?
Yeah, it’s going to be a great tour! We’re all fans of the band so it’s always an honour to support a band you respect. And Bruce Springsteen has guested with them! I mean, that makes them infinitely cooler than us already.
Are there any other bands that you would love to share the same stage with? And your favourite artists you’ve already supported?
Wow, too many really. I’ve always said I’d love to play with Rage Against The Machine, but they’re so good that they would make most bands look bad. We’ve had the privilege of supporting a lot of bands we admire a lot, but the biggest one probably being Smashing Pumpkins. They were on of the first rock bands I listened to when I was about 14 and they had a huge impact on me. They showed me you could be really weird and not have a perfect voice but still craft these huge songs.
You’ve all been together for what, three years now? Whats the secret of being such a tight unit, do you have loads of dirt on each other or something?
Ha ha, yeah! We all murdered someone so we have to stick together so we don’t squeal on one another. For the record, that’s not true – in case the cops are reading this. We did NOT kill anyone. But genuinely, we’re together so much on tour and at practice at home that you just learn each other’s intricacies and learn to respect them. We all have our moments but we’ve never really had any serious bust-ups.
Back in April you gave your full support to Record Store Day, do you think this is important for the industry in so much that we now (almost) live in a digital music world?
Record Store Day was great, we played an acoustic set at Sound Garden in Syracuse, New York. I think it’s very important to support record stores as it would be so sad to see them go, and you can already start to see that happening. I’ve never downloaded any music from iTunes, I always buy the CD or Vinyl because I see at as a package. The artist made the artwork to link in with the songs, so it’s a massive part of the music too. And I would hate to grow old with just a folder on a computer documenting all the music I’ve loved over the years. I want a colourful, interesting collection that went towards supporting the artists I loved.
Where would you like to see Twin Atlantic a year on from now?
I would love to see us just keeping on what we’re doing, pushing our songwriting and trying to play to as many people as possible. We’re quite privileged now where we can play to quite a lot of people in some places, and a good few in others too. As long as we can keep that up over the next 12 months and build from it slightly then I’d consider the year a massive success. We’ve got a pretty long term plan for this band, we’re in no rush.
Nearly there… who’s going to win the SPL next season?
Ha ha, no comment! I’ll say Partick Thistle, they’ll miraculously get to jump leagues and then win every game 8-0.
Top 5 Desert Island Tracks?
Tough one! Right now: Blur – Battery In Your Leg, Manchester Orchestra – Shake It Out, Band Of Horses – North West Apartment, Envy On The Coast – Southern Comfort, and Neil Young – Heart Of Gold.
Anything else you would like to add?
Just thanks for reading! And don’t take sweets off of strangers, they never have the good flavours.
And finally….Your favourite flavour of crisps?
Probably Cheese & Onion? Hello ladies.
And that’s it… thanks very much for your time Craig and hopefully we’ll see you in Aberdeen soon. JustBoy57
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