Interview: Twenty Twenty

Ahead of supporting The Saturdays in Newcastle, Faye caught up with lead vocalist/guitarist, Sam Halliday, of Twenty Twenty, grilling him on touring with one of the country’s biggest pop groups, aspirations to break the mainstream and their drama with Ten Second Epic!

Faye: We last interviewed you in January 2010, what have you been up to since then?
Sam: Flipping hell, we’ve been up to a lot, we did that Get Down Tour and then we did two kinda small-half tours for our single, Worlds Apart, released that, which got to number 72 in the charts and was one of the top indie singles that week, then we did an October headline tour to finish off the year and released a live DVD as well, that got to number 4 in the charts as well.

Faye: So, how’s this tour been going for you? It’s a bit of a weird one for you.
Sam: Yeah, and you know what? It’s been going really well, obviously, it’s a pop tour and it’s with a band where their fans probably won’t have heard of us, but it’s going really well. Honestly, we’ve been on stage every night and it’s really fun, and everyone seems up for it. They’re taking to the music really well, and before the tour, we weren’t really sure how well we’d be perceived, but everyone seems to really like us, so it’s great.

Faye: Have your own fans been coming out? Or did it sell out before they even had a chance?
Sam: It was really annoying, because we got told a few days before it was announced that we were doing it and, obviously, we’re not allowed to say anything, which I don’t think made a lot of difference, since a lot of it was already sold out. I think a few of our fans managed to get tickets, but we feel really bad, that’s why we’ve been doing meet and greets outside, because it’s only fair if we’re in their city, they can come and see us.

Faye: Are you personally fans of The Saturdays? Have you had the chance to hang out with them?
Sam: Yeah, well, obviously, they’re really busy girls and they’ve got lots of stuff to be getting on with, and we’ve said hi to them, but, yeah, they know us.

Faye: You’ve always said you’ve maintained a somewhat DIY ethic, so how did you manage to get on this tour?
Sam: Yeah, well, we’re on the same label as them now, so it probably came about from that.

Faye: What do you want to get out from it?
Sam: It’s just like any tour being a support band, to get more people to hear your music; it’s just an outlet. It’s a different type of tour for us and more people get to hear our stuff, and, obviously, it’s good promotion and we’ve got a single coming out as well, we’re playing that on this tour and just trying to get more people to know more about the band, really.

Faye: Is it your aim to break into the mainstream?
Sam: Yeah, I mean, it’s funny because a lot of people think it’s a weird tour because it is very mainstream, and especially in the last year at least, we’ve always been a very out and out band, we’ve never kind of stopped ourselves doing anything. We’ve played festivals, we’ve supported McFly, Scouting For Girls, The Sugababes and stuff, so we’ve always done from when we first started out, and I suppose this is kind of like that, but, yeah, it’s a good platform for people to be able to hear us.

Faye: The last time I interviewed you, you said you were working on an album, what happened with that?
Sam: [laughs] It’s always really tricky, we had a load of songs recorded and just like any band – anyone in a band will know exactly what I’m talking about – it’s the most nerve-wracking process, because there’s always the fear you haven’t recorded the right songs or you haven’t done this and you haven’t done that right, so we just kept on writing, really. Now, we’ve gotten to a point where we’ve stopped recording for a little while and we’re happy with what we’ve got at the moment, so, hopefully, we’re going to have something recorded in the next couple of months. I think we’ve just got a few tails and ends of little recording bits to do in March, but apart from that, it’s done. We literally spent the whole of October and November in the studios in London, pretty much recording and writing.

Faye: Do you write your own music? Or do you have co-writers?
Sam: We do everything, really. Jack, Sonny and I will do some writing sometimes and we get put in a lot of co-writing sessions. Mainly though, we work with producers who work with bands similar to us – for instance, our first single was co-written and produced with a guy who did McFly’s Motion in the Ocean album, so he was a producer, but he was there with a lot of ideas as well, taking it from a raw base into a sculpted song.

Faye: On your last tour in October, there was a bit of drama with one of your support bands, Ten Second Epic, who got kicked off, what happened there?
Sam: I think it was nothing more and nothing less than a misunderstanding. Honestly, they’re the nicest guys in the world and I think it was above and beyond each of the bands, and I think it was more of a managerial position problem. Honestly, they’re the nice guys and they’re a great band too, like seriously, really talented guys and were a great support band on the times they supported.

Faye: What do you think about their claims, saying they disagree with your ethics as a band?
Sam: I think, when you’re in the industry, sometimes it works out and it doesn’t. We obviously don’t have anything against the band, and we and our management have a say in who we want to support us, so we invited them over from Canada and, obviously, agents are involved as well, but I really don’t know, I think it’s just more of a professional misunderstanding. But, honestly, they’re great guys and we still listen to them as well.

Faye: How did you feel about bands like You Me At Six slating you on Twitter over the incident? Do you think you’ve kind of kicked yourself in the foot?
Sam: I think it’s just it is what it is, I think it would be unprofessional if anyone got wound up about it and everyone’s entitled to their own opinions, that’s just the way it is, and You Me At Six and Kids In Glass Houses came out to our Cardiff show and they’re still bands I listen to everyday, they’re great bands. We definitely don’t have anything against any of them.

Faye: What’s next after this? Do you have any other tours planned?
Sam: We haven’t at the moment, to be honest, I don’t even know what we’re doing at the end of next week, really. Obviously, there’s a lot of wheels in motion with this single that’s coming out and album release later on in the year. Basically, the next few months is all about promotion for us, so you’ll probably and hopefully interview us again, closer to the release of those.

Faye: Are you doing a music video for the single?
Sam: I think we’ve got something planned, yeah, but I don’t know the details of it yet, but hopefully that’ll be coming out soon.

Faye: Change The Record, who should we be listening to?
Sam: I don’t know, really. I generally have a very broad mix, I’ve been listening to a lot of Taking Back Sunday recently, but then again, I generally listen to everything. I listened to Finch the other day, a love of mine when I was about 16, plodding around school, but then, Katy Perry, her album’s great, and Jessie J, she’s probably my new favourite artist of this year, she’s great. The Saturdays, obviously. Just kind of everything, really.

Faye: Would you prefer to tour with proper bands like Taking Back Sunday and Finch?
Sam: Don’t get me wrong, I grew up listening to those bands from the age of 13 onwards, in the same way some people find it different to us touring with The Saturdays, I think it’d probably be the same. Like if we toured with bands like You Me At Six or Taking Back Sunday, you might find some people wondering what we’re doing with them, because we’re not too rocky, but we’ve always been a poppy, fun-loving kind of band.

Faye: Is there anything else you want to say before we finish?
Sam: Go get our single on the 3rd of April, Love To Life, so keep an eye out for that, hopefully, you’ll hear it on the radio and different places soon, and, obviously, we’re still there for our fans and stuff, and thanks for interviewing us again.

- Faye Turnbull.

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