(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Quickfire Questions #90: James Graham of The Twilight Sad

By on Wednesday, 11th March 2015 at 1:00 pm
 

Header photo of James Graham by Mary Chang, Discovering Scotland showcase at Latitude 30, SXSW 2012

Just a week off now and it’s time for the music portion of SXSW 2015! But just as we did for SXSW 2014 last year, we’ll be running a special version of the TGTF Quickfire Questions, served up SXSW style with an extra couple of questions to get inside bands’ and artists’ heads so they’ll tell us what they really think of the event.

Today’s installment is the 11th, and this time we chat with James Graham of The Twilight Sad, who are SXSW veterans, having represented Scotland swimmingly in quite a few showcases in the past. You might be surprised just how keen James is with football, in addition to which ’90s boyband stirs up some deep feelings and just which legendary Swedish band gets his toes tapping. Get stuck into James’ thoughtful answers below.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you’re in Austin?
We’ve got a lot of friends in Austin so I’m looking forward to hanging out with them. The food in Austin is pretty phenomenal so I’m looking forward to some BBQ and some top quality Mexican food. SXSW is at the end of our North American tour and a lot of Scottish friends come over to Austin for the Scottish Showcase at so it’ll be good to see some friends from back home as well. The last time we were in town on tour we organised a game of football with some friends of our tour manager Chris who lives in Austin. I am hoping we can do that again.

What I’m looking forward to the most is the gigs though. It’s hectic at SXSW and you don’t get a proper soundcheck at most gigs. Part of me kind of likes that, you turn up you play and do your best to make an impression on people for that short amount of time you have on stage.

Of the bands who have already been announced, do you have any that are must-sees on your schedule? If yes, who are they and why?
I’d like to see Tom Brousseau, he released some albums on FatCat Records and we played a few gigs with him. He’s a really nice guy and his music is great so it would be good to catch up with him. I’d also like to see Mew as I’ve not seen them live in a long time so that would be cool. Andy (MacFarlane, the Twilight Sad’s guitarist) recommended Girl Band to me so I’m going to try and see them. Apart from that I’m going to drunkenly wander about the streets of Austin and see what I can find.

Name something you’re packing in your suitcase that we might find unusual. (You are welcome to elaborate.)
Football boots and shin guards. So I can play when I’m away. Apart from that its a pretty normal suitcase to be honest, Clothes and comics to read when I’m in the van. I always buy some hot sauce at the start of a tour and put it in my case because I try to eat healthily when I’m away and that always improves the blandness of some things I eat, though I treat myself to pizza once or twice a week.

If we happen to run into you in a bar, we’d like to buy you a drink. What is your tipple of choice?
We all drink different things in the band.
Me = Vodka and lemonade or wine
Johnny = Absinthe
Andy = Voddy soda as he calls it (vodka and soda water)
Brendan = gin and tonic
Mark = Pint of Guinness

What advice would you give other bands who have never played at SXSW before?
I’d say enjoy it and take in the city as Austin is a really cool city. Make sure you make the most of the gigs you have as you never know who’s going to be in the crowd. The food and drink in Austin is really good, as I mentioned previously. The main thing to do is to make sure you take it all in but remember why you are there. There are a lot of bands that would love to be given the opportunity to play SXSW so make that 30-40mins you have on stage at each gig count. Try and fit in as much stuff over the four or five days you are there, speak to people because you never know who you could be talking to and how they could help out your band in some way.

Let’s go on now to our usual list of Quickfire Questions…

What song is your earliest musical memory?
My sister listening to ‘Definitely Maybe’ by Oasis in her bedroom and I could hear it through the walls into my room.

What was your favourite song as a child?
‘Everyday’ by Buddy Holly (still is one of my favourite songs).

What song makes you laugh?
Diamond Lights by Chris Waddle & Glen Hoddle.

What song makes you cry?
I don’t cry; I don’t have tear ducts.

What song reminds you of the first time you fell in love? (It’s up to you if you want this to be sweet, naughty, etc.) [Something tells me we’re about the same age…ha! – Ed.]
‘I Want it That Way’ by The Backstreet Boys.

What song makes you think of being upset / angry? (Example: maybe you heard it when you were angry with someone and it’s still with you, and/or something that calms you down when you’re upset, etc.)
‘I Want it That Way’ by The Backstreet Boys.

Which song (any song written in the last century / 100 years or so) do you wish you’d written yourself?
‘The Winner Takes it All’ – Abba.

Who is your favourite writer? (This can be a songwriter or ANY kind of writer.)
Aidan Moffat.

If you hadn’t become a singer/musician/songwriter/etc., what job do you think you’d be doing right now?
I was an apprentice electrical engineer before the band got its record deal.

If God said you were allowed to bring only one album with you to Heaven, which would it be and why? (Sorry, but double albums do not count.)
Abba – ‘Gold’. Because it has ALL the hits.

Many thanks to James for his kind answering of our questions and Ash for sorting this out for us.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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