an interview with the twilight sad
    • MONDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2009

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    "I suppose you could say I like my music dark and my weather cold and wet!" said the Twilight Sad's brooding vocalist, James Graham, in a recent email interview. Hailing from Kilsyth, a small town outside of Glasgow, The Twilight Sad live up to Scotland's long list of feed-back royalty, "I love living where I do. Saying that I am not trying to be an ambassador for Scotland or anything, Mel Gibson did a good enough job of that I think.........NOT!" Mel Gibson cracks aside, clearly there's something in the air over there that is getting those Scotts to produce some top notch music. I suppose where there is dark rainy weather there is bound to be music to compliment it.

    With the release of their sophomore album Forget the Night Ahead, this theory really seems to hold true. Graham admits, "all of our songs are about where we live, the people we know and the stories that come out of the small villages we live in," but the band has always been known for keeping the actual content of their songs pretty mysterious. Most of their songs are adorned with titles like "Here it Never Snowed, Afterwards it Did" or "And She Would Darken The Memory," sounding more like a creative writing prompt than a track off an album. Graham added, "I haven't really ever told anybody what my lyrics are about and I don't think I will, suppose I see it as some sort of therapy and other people can take what they want from my words." Along with the elusive lyrics, the band uses everything from sound to cover art to convey something more along the lines of an impression, not a concrete concept. Given that their debut record, Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, was a loose concept album about childhood, their penchant for elusiveness is definitely something that has been with the band since the beginning." My favourite songs are the ones where I don't know exactly what they are about and I can relate the song back to the time in my life I was listening to it, be it a good or bad time."

    The Twilight Sad definitely produces evocative, emotional music, with their beautiful melodies and Graham's layered brogue. But let us not forget the other, probably more obvious love of the Twilight Sad: noise. I asked Graham where their wellspring of inspiration comes from for their wall of sound tidal waves, and it turns out the source changes from studio to live shows,"when we are recording and writing its more of an emotional and artistic outpouring, but then when we play live all the songs are there and there is a lot of emotion in the songs already so then we just like to make it as loud and noisy as possible."

    That is the truth; live, you won't be hearing the tracks verbatim. Graham told me, "We saw so many bands that just replicated all the sounds and the performance of their record and we felt that instead of spending the money on a gig ticket to see that band we could have stayed in and listened to the record in the comfort of our own homes. We would never want to be like that and we made a decision to make the live experience something worth paying for." In the early days, the band used to carry out their experimental edge on stage: "we used to use a lot of tape loops in the first few shows we did, but it's all pretty much a normal band set up now with a shit load of noise." They did, however, learn a few things from those early shows. "We found out that the fire extinguisher is a good percussive instrument."

    The Twilight Sad's sophomore album 'Forget the Night Ahead' is available now on FatCat Records, check out our recent review. -amelia trask

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