INTERVIEW: TWILIGHT SAD | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Off the back of the release of their fourth studio album Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave, The Twilight Sad have conquered euphoric feats, and overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles, much to the surprise of no-one aside from themselves.

Whilst, from the perspective of the listener, Nobody Wants To Be Here… is a morose yet melodic masterpiece, this wasn’t how James Graham, the humble and surprisingly jovial frontman of the group had foreseen it: “I genuinely thought it was going to be the last record. Things were pretty tough at the time, and it was looking likely, but thankfully we’re in a much better place now, where we can comfortably and confidently make a new record. Now we’re in a place where we can finally reward the people who have given us their time over the years, and where we can prove to others that we are the band that you should’ve been talking about and coming to see over the years.”

The story of the rise of The Twilight Sad is not too dissimilar from that of fellow Glaswegians Frightened Rabbit, in which their eventual and inevitable success came gradually, from album to album, and not overnight.

“From day one, we knew it would be a long process. I think a lot of other bands would have called it a day a long time ago. Whilst there have been difficulties with that, we’re also very happy that it’s took a while. It’s given us the opportunity to grow as musicians, and to grow as a band. We’ve been doing this for nearly ten years now, and we’re very grateful for that.”
Since the arrival of the band’s long-awaited success, they’ve been racking up a fairly impressive array of attainments, most notable of which being their recent appointment as tour support for The Cure in the US next year. “Shit, that’s actually happening isn’t it?! We still can’t quite believe it. Being asked to play with The Cure is a phenomenal accomplishment, I’m sure that most of the bands I know and look up to would cite supporting The Cure as such a huge deal, so to be doing it in America, in venues of that scale is unbelievable – a dream come true. Robert [Smith] has really taken us under his wing – the things he’s done for this band have been mind-blowing.”

As a result of their bleak, post-punk output, The Twilight Sad are tailor-made for tours of this caliber, supporting fellow doom-connoisseurs such as The Cure and Editors, who also specialise in the blend of erratic, tremolo guitars and restrained, incredibly somber vocals and lyrics.

The Twilight Sad aside, Graham is seemingly upbeat, which makes the band’s ever-present dark side (and its origins) all the more intriguing.

“To me, songwriting is a weird form of therapy; these songs are about me, my friends, my family, and things that I struggle to talk one-to-one about, so I write songs about them instead. Yeah, I am a miserable bastard, but I push that out through the music.

“You hear about these comedians who crack jokes and are made to be chirpy on stage, and then lead incredibly troubled lives behind the scenes. Whereas, I have the platform to get these things off my chest, and not let them affect me off stage.”

Last week, the band released The Oran Mor Session, a live album recorded at Oran Mor, a popular entertainment and arts hub in the west end of Glasgow, which features unique and incredibly visceral renditions of what went on to become the bulk of Nobody Wants To Be Here…. Originally released as an EP earlier in the year, it seemed important to the band that the full session was released as a record of its own.

“The stripped-back stuff is something we’ve always done. We’ve done acoustic tours and stuff like that in the past, and people have responded incredibly well to them. I think people like that we have that other side, and that we’re not one-dimensional.”

The band is currently undergoing a UK tour in support of Editors. One week in, Graham seems positive about how it has gone thus far, and looks ahead in anticipation for the rest of the tour – the Newcastle show at O2 Academy on Tuesday 20th October in particular.

“The tour has been great so far. The crowds have been great to us, the band have been great to us. It’s an honour to have been invited on to the tour, and to be playing such big shows. We certainly have an affinity with Newcastle; it’s always great to play there. The last time we played at The Cluny, it was the only show that sold out months in advance, which felt right to us, and ended up being one of the best shows we’ve ever played as a result. We’re definitely looking forward to coming back.”

The Twilight Sad play the O2 Academy, Newcastle in support of Editors, on Tuesday October 20th.


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