The Twilight Sad are one of Scotland's most hardworking bands. The past decade of writing has brought four albums, five EPs and countless tours. They have a wealth of experience under their belts and plenty of stories to prove it.
The bands’ frontman, James Graham, told Patrick Dalziel how it feels to be supporting The Cure and why he hates Kanye West.
Everything seems to be going well for you guys. It’s been a decade and you’ve got four LPs, you’re playing The Hydro tonight and you’re supporting The Cure on their massive tour!
Yeah. We’ve been asked by [The Cure frontman] Robert Smith, to do it. Not just because someone we know is on the same label. This guy actually likes what we do.
The thousands of people that are going to see them - whether they like us or not - I’ve kind of decided we're just going to have to do what we do. The one thing I'm nervous about is playing in front of The Cure. It's playing in front of your idols every night that I'm nervous about. I want to prove to him that he's made the right decision to take us away.
Is that nerve-wracking or exciting?
It's a mixture of emotions, but it's all pretty phenomenal. We're just a bunch of pals from Kilsyth getting to do this stuff. If you'd told 15 year old me that this would be happening I would have punched you. Or tried to, because I can't fight.
We were watching TV backstage earlier and we saw a helicopter view of Madison Square Garden. I just thought, "God! We're going to be playing there!" That was scary.
Robert Smith covered your track, “There's a Girl in the Corner”. How did that come about?
Stuart from the band Mogwai sent Robert an email saying that he recommended our latest album [“Forget the Night Ahead”, 2009]. Robert said he was already a fan of us. Robert then sent us an email with the cover and I ran about my house screaming. We asked if [he] wanted to cover “It Never Was the Same”, for its release. He got back to us saying he'd love to, but he'd rather do "There's a Girl in the Corner”. We listened to it four or five times when he finished it. We were speechless. Pretty surreal. It's the biggest compliment you could ever be paid.
That was enough for us. Just knowing Robert Smith likes our band.
You've always had a devoted following, with your gigs taking place in smaller venues. Is The Hydro the largest venue you've done in the UK?
Yeah, I'd say so... no! Back in 2007 we opened for Snow Patrol at the O2 Arena. Gary, the singer, is a big fan of the band. We opened. That was in our first twenty gigs. That gig - and this one - are probably the biggest arenas we've played in. That’s a fucked up one, eh.
Are you going to any upcoming gigs?
I've got gigs that I am doing coming up. I’ve just been focusing on that to be honest. I'm going to see Minor Victories at the Art School because I'm on their record. I’m gonna sing a song with them as well. Basically it's going to a gig, getting to jump up for one song and then jumping back down. It's not a lot of pressure.
What’s been your gig highlight of 2016, so far?
Savages. I enjoyed Savages. I went to Savages and Frightened Rabbit.
James looks at John-Paul, the band’s PR manager, have I been to anything else?
John-Paul stops to think, probably not. He looks at me, explaining, he hates everything.
You're playing Electric Fields festival. Are there any other festivals you’re playing?
We've got ones in America. But we've got one more British one that we're not allowed to talk about.
James glances across at John-Paul, who’s still sat to the side. He looks back at me:
I can see John-Paul starting to sweat, thinking I'm going to blurt it out. It's an English festival, there you go. It's a big one though. It’s a good one! I can tell he wants me to shut up.
John-Paul interjects with If you look at the other dates they're doing, I'm sure you'd figure it out.
If you curate a festival, who would you put on the bill?
I'd kinda just want all my friend's bands. It may sound stupid, but I'm friends with Mogwai who are one of the best bands of all time. Frightened Rabbit are really good friends and I still love their music. I love CHVRCHES music so I'd want them to be there. I would love Portishead and Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens, PJ Harvey, Bat for Lashes and if he hadn't sadly passed away it'd be a David Bowie headline with The Cure on before him. But, unless we get a hologram that's not gonna happen.
Record Store Day is taking place soon. Are there any records you've got your eye on?
I haven't kept track of that this year. Usually we have something out, and then I kinda keep a look at it and see what else is coming out. I do like that it celebrates records and people get to go to a record store helping record stores survive for another year. But, there's also the side of me against big labels who know what they're doing just flooding the market. I do like it; I just wish we didn't have to have a record store day to be honest. I wish people just bought records all the time.
Kanye West's latest album "The Life of Pablo" was rereleased in a more completed state than its debut release on TIDAL. Do you think artists should be allowed to go back and edit their work in that way?
Nah, that's stupid. Fucking ridiculous. Do you want to see an unfinished film? No. Do you want to eat someone's dinner that they've half eaten? No. It's stupid, I would never do that. I can't understand why you would do that? I understand trying to get people to sign up for TIDAL and all that shit. Honestly, I think it's ridiculous. I've got nothing against his music. I’ve never listened to one of his albums before. It baffles me why he would do that.
Are there any plans for LP 5?
Yeah. Fucking hell that's number 5, isn't it? We've been writing away getting a collection of songs together. We're just taking our time. What we've got I'm excited about. It's still early stages at the moment.
The Twilight Sad will be joining The Cure on their US and later UK dates this year. Find more info here: http://www.thecure.com/events/
You can also catch them at Electric Fields Festival, from August 26th to 27th. Find ticket info here: http://www.electricfieldsfestival.com/#937539
Want to hear more from the Scottish creatives? You can find The Twilight Sad on the following sites: