Foundations: The Twilight Sad

James Graham and Andy MacFarlane on the albums that inspire them...

The Twilight Sad have been a part of our lives for over a decade now.

From those taut, emotional, incredibly powerful early shows onwards, the Scottish band have been a continual inspiration – not always easy, mind, but forever rewarding.

New album 'It Won/t Be Like This All the Time' is out now, and simply put it's wonderful: an extraordinary, powerful record, both soft and LOUD in equal measure.

Clash is quite smitten, with our reviewer marvelling: "In harnessing the physical energy of their sound, The Twilight Sad seem to have found fresh nuance in their work; James Graham’s lyrics feel compelled, inspired, while the music itself continually leans towards the daring, the unexpected, and the sublime."

With the album bowling over fans, we sat down with The Twilight Sad's James Graham and Andy MacFarlane for a special edition of Foundations, to uncover the albums that truly matter to them…

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Section 25 – 'Always Now' (Recommended Song: ‘Be Brave’)

I think generally all Martin Hannett records are great, but Section 25 work particularly well with his style/sound. I like the space that's there, having restraint to let the drums and bass lead the songs.

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Broadcast – 'Extended Play Two' (Recommended Song: ‘Chord Simple’)

Listening to Broadcast records was important with helping to get the synth sounds, and to give some kind of direction, with this album. Everything sounds like it's falling apart and unfinished, it's great.

I'd make up mixes for us in the studio that would have 'Pendulum' from 'Ha Ha Sound' and 'Drums On Fire' from 'Extended Play Two' on them, although the whole EP has had some influence, 'Chord Simple' was always a song I'd go back and listen to when we were writing.

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The Cure – 'Seventeen Seconds' (Recommended Song: ‘At Night’)

I could put all The Cure albums down as a reference point for our new album, but 'Seventeen Seconds' probably has more similarities. I've always liked finding out the 'foundations' of an album, discovering reference points to other records I can go listen to.

When we were on tour with The Cure, I was talking to Robert Smith and Mike Hedges, about the sound of 'Seventeen Seconds', they weren't trying to sound like anybody or anything in particular, there weren't any reference points, that was just them doing their thing, I thought that was pretty amazing.

They would play 'At Night', 'M' and 'A Forest' most nights on the tour, and the transition from the other sounds they've gone through to the really stark sound of 'Seventeen Seconds' were particular stand out moments in their sets for me.

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Arab Strap – ‘Rocket, Take Your Turn’

With a few of the songs, I'd take some melodies James had wrote, and re-write new music underneath it. I had been piecing together the music for '10 Good Reasons For Modern Drugs' and I could hear some similarities in ‘Rocket, Take Your Turn’ when I saw Arab Strap on their 'reunion' tour a few years back, so it had a big influence in helping shape and change the direction we took the song in.

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Sonic Youth – 'Evol' (Recommended Song: ‘Shadow Of A Doubt’)

When we're writing, I'll put my guitars in different tunings that I'm not used to, to help try find new shapes and voicings.

The tunings Sonic Youth were using around the 'Evol' and 'Made In USA' albums are really interesting to mess around with, so I had my guitar tuned to something similar to Lee Ranaldo's on 'Shadow Of A Doubt', (maybe F#F#AAEE) for a while to try and makes sense of it which helped lead on to writing 'VTr' and 'The Arbor' on the new album.

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'It Won/t Be Like This All The Time' is out now on Rock Action.

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