IN CONVERSATION WITH: The Twilight Sad

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER       PHOTOS BY HUGH RUSSELL

Scottish punksters Twilight Sad recently supported The Cure at their edition of the British Summertime Festival; announcing their new album ahead of performing in front of a legendary Brit rock band, was nothing short of epic. Add to that the commemoration that they gave to their long-standing friend and ally Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit, who sadly committed suicide earlier this year, and you’ve got an act with a heart – and mind – of gold. Since the loss of the late singer/songwriter, Twilight Sad have included a welcome, masterfully executed cover of their compatriot’s track ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ (from ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ album, 2008) into their sets.

After touring with the honourable English band, Twilight Sad set about writing their fifth studio album. Set to be realeased in 2019, vocalist James Alexander Graham says the album comes from some dark spaces that the band have recently entered due to personal circumstances and events. These particular events have given the act a need to get back to normality, to ground themselves. To let the dust settle. “Lyrically each album is a snap shot of time and a reflection of who I am and what I’m going through at that certain period of my life. Whilst writing the album I went through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, I think that’s reflected in these new songs.”

Having met through different paths – with Andy and James meeting in high school, then Brendan and Johnny arriving through friends and finally drummer Seb through their aforementioned friends Frightened Rabbit – they’ve had an incredible journey along their career. With the gritty streets of Glasgow at the heart of their story, Twilight Sad is a family in so many more ways than one. Speaking of Glasgow, James mentions that the city is a community for musicians and creatives, it boosts them up and treats them well, that is if they’ve got something worth treating. Whilst working their way up the ladder, Twilight Sad have been lucky enough to have received support and guidance from bands that they admired and were fans of themselves, including: Mogwai, The Delgados, Arab Strap, Idlewild, Teenage Fanclub to name a few. 

Mogwai in particular are a key band that they’ve made a connection, the experimental work ethics of both working hand-in-hand with each other. “We quickly became friends and realised that we both had the same outlook about music and why we were doing it. We also have the same type of humour and bad Scottish patter.” Their friendship set them up for alongside one another, with Mogwai having had Twilight Sad on tour with them four times, cementing their clear appreciation of the band that’s also come from Glasgow. Further still, each and every Twilight Sad track is now released on Mogwai‘s very own record label  – Rock Action Records – what more of a nod of admiration can you give between two bands. 

You’ll know who Robert Smith is. The front-man and only consistent member of The Cure is a fond fan and colleague of Twilight Sad, as mentioned, it saw them take the support slot on one of the iconic acts biggest gigs, at British Summertime Festival, as well as on tour with them across the globe. It was TS favourites Mogwai that introduced the maestro to the Glaswegian act and it’s started a perfect mentor-type relationship between the two. Now each Twilight Sad track, demo or album set to be released is sent over to Smith, who critiques and sends back with notes if improvements are needed. For James, Twilight Sad have so much to owe to the legendary front-man – “People say ‘don’t meet your heroes’, in this case that saying is very wrong” – he’s thrust their music into the hands of a new audience, the world of The Cure fans, and it’s allowed them to blossom.

Speaking of their new album which is incoming in 2019 – we’re promised – it has themes of love, loss, self doubt, self hatred, not understanding the world, seeing the good and bad within people, trying to be a better person. It’s emerged out of a roller-coaster year for all members, that’s seen them reach soaring heights, but also the deepest of lows. James mentions, “I think it’s very dark in places but there’s always some hope within the songs. The title of the album can be looked at in two ways. It can be a positive or a negative. ‘It Won’t Be Like This All The Time’ can be a positive as in “it won’t be like this all the time so try and embrace the good things/times and make the most of things as life can change in an instant” or a negative if you are going through a dark time “things won’t be like this all the time and round the corner something beautiful might be waiting for you, stay strong”. We’re eagerly excited to see what the future holds for the quintet but we’re assured that they’ve plenty of strength in them yet, to pull them through any low. 

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