Twin Atlantic @ Download Festival 2009
'I've been practising head windmills, rock horns and I've worn a black t-shirt'
Ruth Booth caught up with vocalist Sam, bassist Barry and drummer Craig
to talk about how you prepare for your first Download, and why they need flame retardant gear.
This is one of the first dates you've played since you guess got back from recording your debut album in the States. Is it weird to be getting back to playing live again?
Sam "The weirdest thing for me is that when we were doing the record, I had to transition between monitor vocals and headphone vocals and now I'm in headphones vocals, I need to try and transition myself back into shitty monitors again. We played Middlesbrough Music Live last weekend and I sang so terribly, so bad. My voice cracked like four or five times, it was awful."
Barry "Another main transitional thing is the fitness aspect. Being cooped up in a studio, it gets tiring - for Craig, there's always physicality there - but for us we're just standing there playing. Whereas at Middlesbrough, actually rocking out and being onstage, we forgot how tiring it was. We were just so out of shape, so hopefully we put in some training between then and now."
This is your first Download, so how have you been mentally preparing yourselves?
Barry "I've been practising head windmills, rock horns and I've worn a black t-shirt. That's all my preparations. I know Download's a big metal festival. We've never really played any metal shows before, so this is like dipping our toe in to the metal world. We don't really know what to expect so we'll see."
Sam "The metal world doesn't know what's going to hit them, that's what I say."
So today's a bit of a mix - you've got rock and metal legends on the Main stage, and the cream of the underground on the small stages. Are you going out there and sticking to the classics, or are you going to check out the up and coming indie bands?
Barry "We're probably going to catch a bit of Journey, and then maybe catch a couple of new bands as well."
Sam "We're an eclectic bunch. We've got loads of friends playing today - Attack! Attack!, who we've played with, and Flood Of Red who supported us on our last tour. We can maybe catch up with them, see what's happening."
It must be great being so high up on the bill, but obviously there are disadvantages with it...
Craig "Hopefully there's not many Whitesnake fans that crossover into our fanbase - I think we'll be ok with that. We have Papa Roach as well, so we're kind of worried about that, cos I planned to see Papa Roach as well!"
Barry "Papa Roach, for people our age, there's quite a nostalgic value there. Even though they've still been about, they've kind of been out of the limelight for so long. But when they were in the limelight, like everyone our age was like a massive fan. I think pretty much everyone my age owned a copy of... is it 'Infest', that album? It had a cockroach on the front? That's like classic nu-metal."
Craig "I don't think any of us care how many people will come to see us. We're just happy to be here anyway, so it doesn't matter if we clash with anyone, or we're on first or whatever, so we're just happy to get the chance to play."
What's the best piece of festival advice you could give to someone?
Craig "We're pretty new to it, we're not like veterans of it yet. I dunno, just never, never trust the weather. I've got a rain jacket, even though it's really warm right now, you just never know what might happen."
Sam "The British Summer can turn on you. I would say expect to have a really shit weekend. That's what I do. Any festival I've been to or any gig, I'm like 'this is going to be rubbish', so that I'm never underwhelmed. I'll leave going, 'that was fucking amazing'. That's my advice. Total pessimistic outlook."
Barry "Festival advice? I would say drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun, apply lots of cream, I don't know, just have a good time, that's what everyone's here for. See as many good bands as you can... Don't get too drunk. That's the biggest one. There's so many people on the Monday morning, it's like, 'how was Download?' 'I cannae remember, I was pissed out my face!' You got all these classic bands playing, and all these people getting muntered and not actually just taking in the music, so I would say drink sensibly and have a good time, but just see as many bands as you can."
What's the best thing about playing Download Festival?
Sam "Maybe like the ninja agility training from dodging bottles onstage. Gonna gain two points on my ninja skills."
Barry "Apparently it's going to be cigarettes we'll be dodging. My girlfriend had a weird dream that she came to Download and was watching us, and we got pelted with like packets of cigarettes, like lit cigarettes, they were taking them out of their mouths and chucking them at us. So if that is an actual vision, we need some flame retardant stuff onstage."
Sam "Probably getting the chance to play this is like our first sort of real big festival we've played in England and we're just happy to be here, man, it's the best thing about playing. We get to see our friends we haven't seen in a while, make friends south of border and see the sunshine!"
Twin Atlantic's new single 'Light Speed' is out 29th of June. They play Guilfest on July 10th, T In The Park on July 11th, and Sonisphere on August 1st.