One of our all time fave bands is The Twilight Sad. Between the great lyrical work and an ever evolving sound that mutates from release to release, it’s like finding the right author and relishing on the books released, each one brimming with atmosphere and strong emotions.
We have had the pleasure of interviewing the band before, once during Tramlines 2010 and a couple of months after, before the release of The Wrong Car (review). We enjoyed their latest offering, No one can ever know (review) and we jumped into the opportunity of interviewing them again via email.
What drove you towards this change in sound?
We never want to make the same album twice and we always want to progress. Since day one in this band we knew that we never wanted to repeat ourselves on each release. I mean, if we’d replicated the sound of our first or second record that would have been boring, we always want to push ourselves to try new things whilst staying true to what makes our band…..well…..our band if you know what I mean. We never sat down with each other and talked about changing or trying different we just got on with writing songs and used instrumentation and arrangements that interested us. At no point did any of us question the direction we were taking with this record, I think we were all in the same mind frame and were enjoying the freedom of being able to try new things as well. No One Can Ever Know is still 100% recognisable as a Twilight Sad record and I think the more people who like our band and were maybe a bit unsure of the direction we have taken with this album listen to it the more that will become apparent!
Any particular synth band that inspired your sound in No one can ever know? ‘Another bed’ sounds straight from the gothic side of the 80s (love the tune, btw).
‘Another Bed’ was a song that was originally supposed to be a B-Side when we went into the recording studio but it changed into something completely different when we recorded it and it became a lot of people’s favourite song on the record. There was a debate wether it should be included at all but in the end we decided it worked well in the second half of the album and as a second single. I think it’s the closest thing we’ve came to a proper sounding single on any of our records although it also plays an important part within the album as the record is supposed to be listened to as a whole. Andy was listening to a lot of bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, Can, PiL, Fad Gadget, Cabaret Voltaire, Wire, Bauhaus, Magazine, D.A.F. etc. when we were writing/recording the album.
Speaking of ‘Another bed’, interesting video. Any story behind it?
Not much to tell to be honest. Fat Cat approached the director Craig Murray because we liked his previous work then Craig did a treatment and we liked it so he made the video. I really like it, I think he’s done a really good job and people seemed to be freaked out by the video which means it’s a winner in our book.
Really love the t-shirt designs in their gory form. Who designed them?
The new T-shirt designs are snippets of the artwork inside the album sleeve notes. Our good friend Dave Thomas (dlt) has designed all our artwork since the first record. He gets what we’re trying to do. Andy and Dave are always on the same wavelength when it comes artwork. I always send Dave a set of my lyrics when he’s creating the album artwork, so everything is related within every aspect of the album. We’ll always work with Dave.
The credits for the album say that Andrew Weatherall “antiproduced”. What’s the deal with that?
Once we had written the demos for the record we were thinking of producers we’d like to work with and Andrew was one of them. We knew he liked the band. We met him and we talked about the record and what direction we were wanting to go with the record and he was on the same wave length. We did a lot of pre production before we went down into the studio and when we got started in the studio on our own. Andrew came in on day two and said to us: “Look, you’re doing/have done everything I would have told you to do,” so he said he didn’t want to take the full production credit and said that we deserved to be credited with that. He was still very much involved and it was amazing to have him there as a guide and having somebody there telling us we were doing the right things definitely gave us a confidence boost and helped us progress with this album. He came up with the term “anti producers” and we were happy for him to have that credit and for him to be involved in the making of this record.
I really enjoyed the Errors remix of ‘Reflection of the television’. Do you plan to have another collaboration with them (or any other electronic artist)?
We have a few collaborations we’re working on just now but unfortunately I’m not allowed to talk about them. All I can say is that we’re working with some of our favourite bands from Scotland/UK and abroad! It’s all very exciting!
Will the older songs be reworked to fit the new style in the current tour?
No, I wouldn’t want to do that. People like those songs for what they are originally and I feel it would be wrong to mess around with them. I think the new songs work really well with the old ones and breathe new life into them and the overall dynamic of the live sets has been improved.
Will this February tour be your only UK outing or do you plan to do a bigger one in the summer? Any plans to go over the USA (or maybe Latin America) to play your new stuff?
Yeah, we’ll be doing a pretty big UK tour in the second half of the year. I’m pretty excited about that as the album will have been out for a while and people will have had time to live with it. We’re touring North America at the end of Feb/start of march. I’d love love to go play in South America, I know our friends Errors played some shows over there recently and they had a great time and said the shows were great. So if any one out there is reading this who has the power to get us over there then they should book us and we will come!
James: any particular comic book film you’re really looking forward to? What were your thoughts on last year’s films (Thor, Captain American, Green Lantern, X-Men: first class)?
Thor = Great! I loved it! Weirdly it reminded me of Masters Of The Universe starring Dolph Lundgren. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing, to me that’s a good thing. Thought Tom Hiddleton was great as Loki, as was Chris Hemsworth.
Captain America = I liked it but it was my least favourite of all the Marvel movie adaptations last year. It had an Indiana Jones Raiders Of The Last Ark kind of feel to it which I liked which was obviously down to the director.
Green Lantern = Utter Shite! A complete waste of a good character and great original source material! Thinking back on this film has put me in a bad mood so I’m going to stop talking about it.
X Men : First class = Amazing! Favourite film of last year! The X-men comics are my favourites. Michael Fassbender is my favourite actor at them moment and he was perfect as Magneto. I’m going to stop talking about it as I’m totally fanboying and I’m embarrasing myself. I’m happy that Matthew Vaughn has signed to direct the next one, can’t wait!
I’m stupidly excited for The Dark Knight Rises and The Avengers!
Mark: I’ve always enjoyed your drumming style and wondered who your influence was?
Thanks very much! That’s something that’s constantly changing and really there’s too many too mention. I guess Scott Asheton would be a good starting point. And Moe Tucker. Some other mainstays that are pretty consistently influential to me are the likes of Steve Shelley, Glenn Kotche and Stephen Morris. Between them I can usually find some ideas worth stealing.
Thank you very much, see you at Queens Social Club, Sheffield!
We’d like to thank James Graham, Mark Devine, The Twilight Sad, Fat Cat Records and Ash Dosanjh for this interview.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López
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