Belfast Telegraph

Q&A: Twin Atlantic's Ross McNae

By Chris Jones

Ross McNae is bassist with the Glasgow band who will be hitting the stage in Belfast next week as part of this year's Belsonic music festival.

You have played here several times before, including Belsonic in 2010. Do you have an especially strong fanbase here?

Yeah, totally. We've got a lot of friends from there, and our lighting guy Paul too. There's a bond between Scotland and Northern Ireland anyway, and the people are pretty similar and it's really easy to get on with people.

You spend a lot of time touring around the world. What do you miss most when you are away?

We're pretty lucky because the people you meet when you are touring around the world are all pretty like-minded, so we seem to see the same side of most places. We essentially slot into the Glasgow side of Hamburg or Seattle. That means you don't really get homesick. You're at home wherever you go.

You have played big stages at Glastonbury and T In The Park this summer, as well as some small shows in the Scottish Highlands. Do you have a preference?

If I'm honest with you, I prefer playing big shows nowadays. I went to big shows when I was really young, and it's why we're the band that we are – it's not necessarily the type of music we'd listen to at home, but we always liked the drama of rock music. The more people you're playing to and the bigger the venue, the more you can put on a show that's not just playing the songs.

Were there any childhood gigs that had a long-lasting effect on you and the band?

When we were at school, Blink-182 and Green Day were the first big bands we would go and see, and that's probably why we've always had that (mentality) embedded in our heads. Last year and the year before, we were lucky enough to play some shows with Blink and kept in touch.

Did you tell them you went to see them when you were 11 or 12?

Yeah, they know so that's quite embarrassing (laughs). I thought they'd think it was cool but they probably just thought, 'Oh f**k, how old are we?'.

We read that you studied photography and wanted to be a photojournalist. Do you still have an interest in that?

I think I always wanted to do something creative, and at that point that was the thing that I was doing. Never say never, but now I'm more into making music and producing, which is something I'll go further into, the further the band goes on.

Music and art are all so closely related and I'm lucky that we get to have quite a big say in the way things look with our artwork and stuff.

Your fans are known for their dedication, and lots of them have Twin Atlantic tattoos. How do you feel about that?

There are a few things that you almost blank out, being in a band, and every now and again somebody reminds you. It's amazing to know that something you care so much about has had an effect on someone else in order for them to do that.

How long have you been growing your beard?

I don't know, quite a while! The other day our manager was showing us footage of T In The Park and I did think, 'Man, that's out of control! You need to rein that in!' Then all of a sudden it was cool to have a beard. So hey, I lucked out!

  • Twin Atlantic play Belsonic in Belfast on Sunday in support of Biffy Clyro. For details, visit

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