About Sam McTrusty
It’s a crossroads at which any musician will eventually find themselves, if they’re fortunate enough. Once you have achieved all the ambitions that first compelled you to strap on your guitar, well… what next? Home.
For Twin Atlantic, this moment arrived in 2015, as the group were enjoying the greatest success of their career. Eight years after they first formed, seven years on from their debut EP 'A Guidance From Colour', their third album, 2014’s 'Great Divide', had topped the Scottish album charts, reaching as high as #6 in the UK. They had criss-crossed the globe multiple times, developing devout followings wherever they played. Their UK tour that spring had been a riot: playing Manchester’s Albert Hall, London’s fabled Brixton Academy, and a show before 10,000 fans at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro – their biggest hometown gig yet. Summer saw the band sub-headline the Radio 1 Stage at the Reading/Leeds Weekender and – closer to home, and perhaps closer to their hearts – headlining the Radio 1 Stage at T In The Park. Drummer Craig Kneale published 'Photographic Record', a book collecting his photographs from the group’s first eight years together.
Stardom didn’t happen quickly for Twin Atlantic: three years of writing, recording and touring the UK in a van. On their first album, 2009’s ‘Vivarium', McTrusty says the band “couldn’t believe we were getting to make a record”, and so squeezed in every idea and trick they knew. The work paid off on their second album, 2011’s ‘Free', as they started selling out 2,000 capacity venues and the album went silver. By 2014’s 'Great Divide', McTrusty had polished his gift for penning tight, laser-guided rock songs to a bright sheen.
“But”, he says,
"it wasn’t interesting anymore. It became an uncomfortable fit. We’d
become the ‘best’ version of this band.” In the process, they felt they’d lost
themselves. “When something’s shiny and new, it’s got no history, no bruises.
It’s not interesting.” If Twin Atlantic were to continue, they decided it was
time to wear those bruises like medals, to wear their histories on their
Twin Atlantic’s rehearsal space is in a dark corner of the
city with a dangerous reputation. “There’s a stereotype, a stigma about
Glasgow,” McTrusty says, “but there’s a lot to talk about too. The city has for
some years been enjoying a renaissance, transformed into a multicultural
melting pot”, he says with no little pride. “The city’s rebirth, and our lives
changing as we get older and take on more responsibilities, were all channeled
into the songs. We wanted to write an album that embodied what it was like to
be from one of the most exciting cities in the world, but one that also has
this dangerous reputation. The energy, the passion. We are done with trying to
be someone else or go somewhere else. It was time to be real to who we were.
This is a moment of arrival. A stamp that says this is who we are... This is
where we come from. It's laced in our blood not to mention our art and
“We were inspired by classic riff-rock, but we want to make our own version of it, and inspire other people,” McTrusty explains, “We’re giving that extra bit of ourselves, and we want to give power back to rock’n’roll, to reveal itself. With ‘GLA', we have everything to lose, and nothing to prove. That’s an exciting creative place to be."
“We could never have
made this album before,” adds McNae, “because we hadn’t had all our
experiences, we hadn’t made all the right mistakes. We have finally made the
album we wanted to make.”