Having created one of the best debut albums for some time, The Line of Best Fit mailed Andy MacFarlane (guitar/accordian/noise) of The Twilight Sad a few questions about what makes them tick and what we can expect from them in the future.
Congratulations on the album. It’s certainly getting rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. Did you expect such a positive response?
No, not at all. We just wanted to release something that we were happy with, we didn’t expect anyone else to like it.
Tell us a bit about the band, where did you guys all meet and how did you decide on your band name and direction?
Well, Mark lives down the road from me; I met James at school and a good few years after I met Craig at a bus stop. We had been messing around just making noise in the studio since maybe November/December 2003 and we eventually found a sound we were comfortable with playing. We read the twilight sad somewhere, and to us it seemed to fit the type of music we play. We’ve always felt that the name becomes irrelevant after a while; it’s more to do with what’s associated with it.
How would you describe your sound?
We always get asked this at customs, to keep it simple we just say it’s loud.
What and who were your major influences on this record?
For this record it was people like Daniel Johnston, Arab Strap, Phil Spector, Serge Gainsbourg, Leonard Cohen and there is many more.
Do you have any ideas for the follow-up yet?
Yeah, we want to do it asap. We’ve already been writing some things.
How did your relationship with Fat Cat Records come about?
I’ve always really liked Fat Cat and the bands on their roster so I sent a demo down and they got in touch after a couple of days. They came to see us on our third gig and we basically signed with them then.
There seems to be a theme running through your artwork, is there and where did the images come from? They all look a touch on the dark side!
I’ve always like 50s style advertising and designs from this era, so I sent some ideas and explained a few things to the Fat Cat artwork man, Dave Thomas, and he came up with a lot of designs we thought related back to the music and we were really happy with.
Is it hard to replicate the sound of your record live? It’s quite dense and epic in production. Your initial live work involved using samples and tape loops, do you still use them?
The live sound is different from the album, which is something we’ve always wanted to do. The live sound is just a basic drum set up, 1 guitar, 1 bass and 1 vocals and it’s basically a loud wall of noise. We’ve always felt if the live sound is the same as the record, you may as well stay in and listen to the CD.
Are you a band that prefers to play live or would you rather be in the studio?
Both, I really like experimenting in the studio, but we also like playing live.
Are you interested in developing into any other artistic fields? You’ve recently collaborated with the audiovisual artists Semiconductor for a DVD, what was this like?
Yeah, I really like doing soundtrack work or any other kind of collaboration. I enjoyed doing the semiconductor DVD, there was a lot more room for experimenting and branching away from the sound on the album.
You share similarities, in terms of style, with My Latest Novel. Are you good friends with the band and is there any rivalry between yourselves?
We all get on well with My Latest Novel, we met up at SXSW and have stayed in touch since. We’re playing some gigs with them soon.
Are there any other contemporaries that you admire and would like to tour with?
We don’t mind really, we like going on tour and meeting new people and getting new ideas.
What are you thoughts on file sharing and the “Myspace phenomenon”?
I think it’s a good idea, especially to do with promotion. It’s a really cheap and easy way to get the band name around.
Are you part of the mp3 crowd or do you still buy CD’s / vinyl?
I’ll always buy vinyl and CD’s but mp3s are really handy to listen to especially when you’re on tour.