From the El Paso Times:
The Scottish band The Twilight Sad hopped on the indie scene to critical acclaim in 2007 with its debut album, “Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters.” The band, which combines noisy guitar with folk and lead singer James Graham’s heavy accent released two more albums, but according to Graham, felt like it had hit a wall, both creatively and in terms of popularity, following the release of its third album “No One Can Ever Know” in 2012.
The band returned, reinvigorated in 2014 with the release of its fourth album, “Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave.” Graham said the band approached the album as if it could have been its last. But the critical and fan acclaim that the album has garnered all but assures this won’t be the case. The band has been riding high since the album’s release and now finds itself on its biggest North American tour, opening for The Cure.
The tour stops in El Paso at the Don Haskins Center on Tuesday.
Graham took some time for a phone Q&A with The Beat from his home in Glasgow prior to the tour kicking off.
The Beat: So you’re about to go on tour with The Cure. What have you been doing to get ready?
Graham: It’s been a weird couple of days. I’ve been working with Stuart (Braithwaite) from Mogwai and Rachel (Goswell) from Slowdive on a project they are working on. I’m singing one song with them, it was really easy going. I’m just back (in Glasgow) for a couple of days before we take off to your country.
The Beat: Is it a surreal feeling to know you’re about to be on tour with one of your biggest influences? Is this your biggest tour of the U.S?
Graham: I feel privileged to be asked to be on it. I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty much a dream tour. A dream come true. We are used to playing 300-capacity venues. We toured with Mogwai once and it was a bit bigger but this is something I never thought was ever possible or would ever happen. Six weeks playing in front of thousands of people.
The Cure are our favorite band so I’m waiting to wake up from the dream or find out somebody’s playing a mean trick on me.
The Beat: You’ve been catfished! How did the tour happen?
Graham: (Laughs) Yes! We found out Robert (Smith) was a fan of the band on our second record. Mogwai emailed him some songs and Robert said he was already a fan. I ran around my house screaming the night I heard that. Then every time a record came out, we sent it to him. Last year we asked him if he’d be up to cover one of our songs, for a b-side. That was mind-blowing.
Then Robert emailed Andy, our guitarist, asking if we would like to go on tour. He’s been absolutely amazing. It’s amazing to see someone that can (care) and really want to help us out.
The Beat: You said in a few interviews that you went into your last album thinking it could be your last. And now here you are two years later, the album has done well and you’re going on tour with The Cure.
Graham: It’s amazing how things can turn around. It was a hard period in our life. We never felt like we didn’t want to do this anymore, but it kind of felt like we were getting older and it was getting harder to sustain and make music. It’s still hard, to be honest, but at the same time, the way the last record was received and the domino effect that has happened since the record came out has been phenomenal. I never doubted ourselves, I just doubted that anybody else cared. We became a better live band, as well, which has helped. Everyone in the band feels like it’s moving in the right direction again.
Not that the next record will be happy pop songs, but we are moving into a place where I won’t have to think about (it being our last) again. Things are going well. We’ll be able to make another record. That was the goal at the end of the day, I just want to make another record after this one.
The Beat: So are you working on new music now or just concentrating on touring?
Graham: Our last gig was our biggest gig in Glasgow. That was in December. Since then, we’ve only had one show, with Churches, and in between then we got back to what we do back home. That’s when we write. Andy and I have been writing a lot of songs. We’re working on it, but after this tour, we do six weeks in Europe, so there’s not a lot of time this year and to rush our record would be a stupid thing to do.
And we feel that this tour will give people who never heard us before, a chance to listen. There’s four records for them to discover. We always do things our own way and I think we didn’t realize this is a business. You want to capitalize but also the most important thing is to make music you’re proud of.
The Beat: You guys come from a long line of great music. Scotland is home to everyone from Mogwai and Jesus and Mary Chain to even Bay City Rollers. Scottish music had to be a big influence on you, who are your favorites?
Graham: My main influences were bands like Mogwai and Arab Strap. Arab Strap opened things up for me – to know you could talk about everyday life and get things off your chest. I use it kind of as therapy. A really weird form of therapy. Mogwai, I find listening to instrumental things from them, I come up with more lyrics listening to them, than anything else. And of course Jesus and Mary Chain and Cocteau Twins, as well. It’s amazing that so much great music can come from a country so small.
And the biggest compliment we’ve been paid is that some of those bands like us as well. Before Robert was a fan, all of the other groups I’ve been influenced by have said they liked our music.
The Beat: You also toured with another big influence, Manic Street Preachers.
Graham: Yes. The first record I ever bought was Manic Street Preachers and we got to support them. Those are the things that to me, I’m like, man, that’s the music I love.
Dave Acosta may be reached at 546-6138; email@example.com; @AcostaDavidA on Twitter.